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    Hometown Heroes Program for Leon County

    By August 15, 2022August 29th, 2022One Comment

    Down Payment Assistance Program in Leon County, Tallahassee, Florida

    Are you renting and want to buy, but are having trouble coming up with the cash you think you will need?  It may be more affordable (even with rising rates) than you expect! I have details on the Hometown Heros Program below, but first stories.

    AJ’s Story

    Let me tell you some stories about folks I have helped and what it cost them to buy a home. (Some details changed to protect privacy.)
    AJ has a master’s degree from FSU and was going to buy a home with her boyfriend in Ocala. Unfortunately, Frank , the boyfriend, ended up being a schmuck. She didn’t think she wanted to stay in Tallahassee forever, but she also hated the idea of giving money away monthly to a random corporation who owned her building. She contacted me in the fall and realized that she needed to work on her debt-to-income ratio. It took her about six months, and she was able to lower her DTI below 50%. We looked at about a dozen homes total and made three offers in those three weeks.  On the third offer, we found a seller willing to pay SOME of her closing costs.  With the down payment assistance program covering the rest, she paid $500 out of her pocket to own her home. The inspection was rolled into the closing costs by a willing local inspector.
    She walked into her home for $500! And her monthly payment is half what her rent was, so she is still paying debt off easily.

    Tallahassee’s Veteran’s Story

    Next, let me tell you about a veteran and his wonderful family with three children. They moved here for a job and wanted to use his VA benefits. They were told by a couple of Realtors that it was going to be hard to use their VA loan in Tallahassee. VA requirements can turn some sellers away from our veterans. I was up for the challenge! We made an offer in a neighborhood they wanted and knew well. The offer asked for the seller to cover the buyer’s closing costs.  The veteran offered $2,500 for a deposit. The seller countered on price, and we had a deal.  It was a challenge getting to the closing table. There were a lot of required repairs, and the house did not appraise at the higher price. In the end, the family bought at the original offer price (lower) and the seller still paid closing costs. They walked away from the closing table with a $2,000 check (refund from their initial deposit).
    They bought their farm for $500 out of pocket, in a seller’s market, with a VA loan. By the way, your Realtor’s experience matters.

    Hometown Heroes Down Payment Assistance

    Today, I want to tell you about a program that will help you do the same as my friends above.  This program started in Florida on June 1.  Florida has designated $100 million in down payment and closing costs assistance for the three million ‘front-line’ workers.
    There are over 50 occupations that qualify. The buyer has to be employed full-time as an educator, law enforcement, childcare, or healthcare professional. This program is ALSO available for veterans and their surviving spouses.
    This program provides Down Payment Assistance (DPA) and Closing Costs Assistance!


    In order to qualify the buyer must be a first-time home buyer. That means:
    • Buyer has not owned AND occupied a home in the previous three years.
    • Buyer will occupy the home within 60 days.
    If you own the mobile home you live in, but lease or rent the land, you will qualify as a first-time home buyer.
    You must be able to permanently reside in the United States.
    Veterans are exempted from the first-time home buyer requirements.


    When buying a home, the home buyer will have to consider four amounts of money:
    1. Offer on the price of the house, and
    2. Deposit with the closing agent, and
    3. Closing costs, and
    4. How much to put down on the loan.
    Some loans do not require down payments – like VA and USDA loans.  Both of these types of loans will qualify for the Hometown Heroes program. The program is also available for FHA and conventional financing. The first two costs can be negotiated and the second two can be covered by this program. This means that buyers can get into their own home for less than finding a new rental.
    This is a loan. It must be repaid if:
    • Borrower sells the home, or
    • refinances in the future, or
    • transfers the deed, or
    • vacates the property.


    Must have a minimum credit of 640. HOWEVER, some lenders may require a higher score.
    Down payment assistance will cover up to 5% of the price with a maximum of $25,000. This is a 30-year, interest-free loan. I have seen it called a grant, but it must be repaid.
    The income limit for the Hometown Heroes program in Leon County is $121,800.
    The loan limit for FHA and USDA loans is $420,680.  That is well above the median price for Leon and the surrounding counties. Remember – most homes in the outlying counties of Jefferson, and Gadsden will qualify for USDA financing.
    The loan limits for VA and conventional financing is $647,200.
    The buyer must complete HUD-approved courses. These courses can be completed online at your convenience.
    NOT ALL LENDERS participate or are qualified to work with these programs. Contact me for references.


    If you are tired of being a renter, I want to help you.
    You can trust me to act based on the Golden Rule. I will treat you, buyer, or seller, as I would want to be treated. This means being proactive in communication, so you are never wondering what is going on. It also means that I will answer my phone or call you back as soon as I have a moment. And it means honest answers, even if the answer is unwelcome news.
    I love my job, and I love helping people. I’ve created a website to start sharing what I know about Tallahassee and real estate. Check out the links in the comments below. I look forward to helping you too. Call me.
    Abbe Flynn
    Broker Associate
    Ketcham Realty Group

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