Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Programs Help Residents to Be Homebuyers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Programs Help Residents to Be Homebuyers

Article excerpt

Byline: Martha Cox

When Family Foundations teaches potential homebuyers about the important aspects of homeownership, many people decide they aren't ready to take that "leap." It may seem odd to say, but we are very proud of this fact because our goal is for families to achieve successful homeownership, where families have built the necessary financial strength to buy a home they desire, can afford and can sustain.

One of the fantastic things about Jacksonville is that there are many programs to help people become homeowners, specifically down payment assistance programs. In general, these programs provide a no-cost, no-interest mortgage that is reduced as the buyers remain in the home. So, as long as they stay in the home for the necessary period of time, generally five to 10 years, they never have to pay back the funds. These programs can make homeownership possible for families and individuals who may not believe that they can make their dream of homeownership a reality.

The city of Jacksonville has expanded its Head Start to Homeownership Program, which offers up to $15,000 in assistance for households with incomes up to 120 percent of area median income, which is up to $53,280 for a single person and $75,960 for a family of four. The term is 10 years, at which time the mortgage is fully satisfied. Additionally, the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority has excellent options for prospective homeowners, including 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages; up to $7,500 in down payment and closing cost assistance; and a federal tax credit of up to $2,000 per year.

One of the most-popular programs is the federally funded Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Down Payment Assistance Program, which offers $15,000 for potential homeowners who earn $88,620 or less, irrespective of family size. These funds come as a second or third mortgage that is forgiven 20 percent per year, with full forgiveness after five years.

Some employers also offer down payment assistance so that employees can purchase housing close to where they work. …

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