Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First-Time Buyer's Guide Updated

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

First-Time Buyer's Guide Updated

Article excerpt

The Florida Housing Finance Corp. in Tallahassee has produced the latest version of its guide to its "first time homebuyer program."

Not only is the information provided useful, but the package is a model of clarity in the way it outlines how the program works and what would-be borrowers need to do.

The program itself, which is funded by revenue bonds sold by the corporation, is designed to help people with low to moderate incomes buy a home by helping them with lower interest rate loans and purchase assistance.

The last bond issue, in November, raised $91 million, and some is still available for would-be home owners, said Robyn Dixon, a spokeswoman.

"The money goes fast," said Dixon.

The next bond issue will be in March, which means now is the time for borrowers to get educated about the program, and get the paperwork started with a lender who participates in the program.

The guide covers who is eligible for the program: For example, the borrower cannot have owned a home in the past three years.

The program also offers loans to people willing to buy homes in what the Housing Finance Corp. calls "targeted areas," which are neighborhoods fraying at the edges which the government wants to improve. The three-year rule about prior home ownership does not apply in target area loans.

The guide offers a list of lenders, complete with a contact name and that person's telephone number.

There are 10 lenders in Duval County participating, nine in Clay, four in Baker, seven in Nassau, eight in St. Johns County.

The lenders will prequalify borrowers; tell them what the current interest rate is; figure out if a borrower qualifies for the program; and tell them if the home being bought is in a targeted neighborhood and give them a list of builders who also participate in the program.

Eligible homes for the program include single-family homes and townhouses. …

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