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Today’s Rates for First Time Homebuyers in Florida

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mortgage rates are at 3.94% for the 30 year fixed loan program and at 3.05% for the 15 year fixed. As for variable rates, the 5/1 ARM rate currently stands at 3.23%. Check out FHA and VA rates as well if you are doing low or no down payments.

Florida First Time Home Buyer Checklist

  1. Compare your loan program options. If you're moving to an eligible area, you may qualify for a no down payment loan through USDA. Veterans may be eligible for VA loans, which do not require cash down. The content in the paragraphs below should give you an idea of where you may fall. 
  2. Get familiar with your FICO score. Your credit should fall somewhere above 600, but some lenders accept scores in the high 500s. If your credit score needs a boost, work on improving it before you try to take out a mortgage. Once annually, you're able to request a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus.
  3. Shop interest rates from a few lenders in your part of Florida. Choose one who not only provides a great offer and customer service, but carries a high rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  4. Get pre-approved or pre-qualified. Once you've agreed to work with a lender, provide income documentation with your last two pay stubs and tax returns from the past two years. 
  5. Figure your budget. You could be pre-approved for a loan amount that is bigger than you had anticipated, but do not base affordability on the sum provided. Remember - pre-approvals are not guaranteed, and only you know what you can truly afford. 
  6. Start home shopping. Be sure to avoid making large purchases, taking out installment loans, or doing anything else that could weaken your financial standing. Lenders will check your accounts again before closing your loan.  

Low Down Payment Loans Through FHA

If you’re a first time home buyer without a lot to put down, a Florida FHA loan may accommodate you. FHA loans are backed by the government and designed to help home buyers with limited upfront funds receive financing.

  • Down payment: 3.5%
  • Minimum acceptable credit score: 580 (varies)
  • Mortgage insurance: Upfront (1.75% loan amount) and monthly
  • Property guidelines apply and are verified via home inspection

You can find additional information about FHA loans on the Florida page of the FHA website.

No Down Payment Loans Through USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture backs home loans for zero down to Florida home buyers looking to move to or live in rural areas. Find out if your buying city is eligible by searching the USDA's property map. Note that popular areas like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee, and Orlando are not eligible. 

  • Down payment: None required; financing up to 102% available depending on home appraisal
  • Minimum acceptable credit score: 620
  • Mortgage insurance: Upfront (2% loan amount) and monthly
  • Income maximums apply 

Florida Grant and Assistance Programs

The Florida Housing Finance Corportation offers a first time home buyer program that provides low interest rate mortgage to low-to-moderate income borrowers with credit scores as low as 640. Down payment and closing cost assistance is also available.

Eligible home buyers may also qualify for the Florida Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC), a federal tax credit that reduces the amount of federal taz withheld from each pay check. This is possible because participants can claim 50% of the annual interest paid on their mortgage, freeing up to $2,000 in yearly funds for a monthly mortgage payment. The tax credit program is available to first time home buyers throughout Florida, so popular cities like Orlando and Tallahassee are eligible. Income and property price restrictions apply. 

Local Cities

user suit Lenders in: Florida.

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