How to Keep Costs Down When You're Buying Your First Home
These tips are important all over the country, but we're going to focus specifically on Florida where we know what's going on more specifically. Becoming a homeowner in Florida can seem like an insurmountable financial challenge, but there are a few important tips and tricks that you'll want to know about to lower that barrier and help you break down those all-important class barriers to make your way into the middle class.
Check Your Income Bracket
There are a variety of different mortgage and homebuyer assistance programs all over the country, including in Florida. Most of these require beneficiaries to be first time homebuyers, and to be in the low to middle income brackets. These brackets aren't static across the country or the state, but are determined individually by each county depending on the local cost of living.
See if You qualify for an FHA Loan
If you're in the low income bracket you will likely qualify for an FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan. Since they're guaranteed by the government, they require a much smaller downpayment (3%) than what homebuyers are typically expected to be able to put down on a home (20%). With a downpayment that's only 1/5 the size, a lot more people can afford to take the leap and buy house without having to save up for years while continuing to pay rent.
Research Good Neighbor Programs
A variety of block grants and local government programs are designed to help revitalize low-income areas. One way they do this is to offer down payment assistance to people in "good neighbor" professions like law enforcement, emergency response, or teaching. If you're in one of these professions you can get help from one of these programs, which can help defray the cost of your downpayment, your closing costs, and even your principal mortgage payment.
Keep in Mind...
These programs exist for first time home buyers in Florida, not for real estate investors or people who are looking to buy a second home. Because of this most of these grants assume and require that people live in their new home for at least 5 years, and that they complete an education HUD certified homebuyer course to help them successfully navigate all the financial pitfall associated with homeownership.