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Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program

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Exclusive offer for First Time Homebuyers
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Eligible individuals can receive up to $35,000
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The funds can be used towards both the down payment and closing costs
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First Time Homebuyers can take advantage of this opportunity to make their dream of homeownership a reality
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Florida Hometown Heroes

The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program, administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, offers valuable assistance to eligible first-time homebuyers and essential front-line workers, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators, healthcare professionals, childcare employees, and active military or veterans. This initiative aims to enhance affordability and accessibility to homeownership in Florida.

Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program
Product Details

Florida Hometown Heroes allows borrowers to receive up to 5% of the loan amount (capped at $35,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance.

It can be paired with additional assistance programs to maximize amount of received assistance Down payment and closing cost assistance is available in the form of a 0% interest, non-amortizing, 30-year repayable second mortgage.

This second mortgage becomes due and payable in full upon sale of the property, refinancing of the first mortgage, transfer of deed or if the homeowner no longer occupies the property as their primary residence. The Florida Hometown Heroes loan is not forgivable.

How can it be used

The down payment and closing cost assistance can be used to satisfy the following:

  • Borrower’s down payment.
  • Any down payment exceeding the minimum borrower requirement
  • Reasonable and customary closing costs.

NOTE: The down payment and closing cost assistance cannot be used to cover commission for real estate agents, the cost difference between the sales price

Apply now to start saving up to $35,000 towards your dream home ownership.

Our commitment to you as a Mortgage Broker: We ensure that you secure the most competitive rates and tailor your mortgage to your specific needs. With our extensive network of top-tier lenders, we leverage our expertise to negotiate on your behalf, securing the best rate and maximizing your savings.

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Customer Story
Rate Leaf Customer Rating

Nicolas and the whole Rate Leaf Team provided outstanding service

Nicolas and the whole Rate Leaf Team provided outstanding service from beginning to closing day. I had the pleasure of working closely with Nicolas and Jennifer who was always available throughout the process and always went over and beyond. I briefly worked with Gabriel and Christian who also stepped in when needed. I always felt support and everything was explained thoroughly. As a realtor myself having an efficient team is a must!!! Nicolas and Jennifer stayed on top of all emails from all parties of the transaction and was always available via text. I will definitely refer them to my future homebuyers!!
Customer Story
Rate Leaf Customer Rating

Rate Leaf is a great example of family owned local small business

Rate Leaf is a great example of family owned local small business that is catering to their community. They are all knowledgeable, friendly and readily available for your questions and requests. Nicolas, Gabriel, Franz and Jason were very helpful throughout the loan process.  They were literally a phone call, text or email away. They always responded ASAP or the latest within 24 hours. I believe they genuinely had my family's best interests at heart. While I hope this is my forever home, if I buy again in  the future, I will definitely do business with them again.
Customer Story
Rate Leaf Customer Rating

The experience in the process for my loan has been outstanding

The experience in the process for my loan has been outstanding from the beginning to the end, I had given up to buy my house in this country, I was with other lenders who did not make my dream a reality, my realtor recommended Luis Felipe Leal who worked with an admirable dedication, he was always in the process, he received all my calls at any time and he always looked for a solution.  His advice and his attitude made the process and every detail go smoothly, I feel very happy to have found the right hands.  They certainly make dreams come true.  my respects!!  thank you!
Customer Story
Rate Leaf Customer Rating

Nicolas and Gabriel were an Exceptional team to work with

Nicolas and Gabriel were an Exceptional team to work with.  An offer came through on my listing with VERY tight timelines (Clear to close in 19 days on an FHA deal) I called Nicolas and he promised to deliver what he said plus provide Excellent Communication, which in fact he did, even from overseas! Gabriel answered any phone calls I made and answered any questions I had immediately which made this a really enjoyable experience.  They ended up giving us a Clear to Close in 16 days start to finish. These guys are top notch!
7 months ago
Customer Story
Rate Leaf Customer Rating

Rate Leaf to every and anyone looking for a mortgage broker

Nick and the entire team at Rate Leaf are some the most professional and responsive individuals I have ever worked with. They were eager to help and sought the best options for me. Buying a home can be a very stressful process, but this team made me feel at ease and I am confident in saying that they worked on my behalf. I would recommend Rate Leaf to every and anyone looking for a mortgage broker. They’re simply the best.
a year ago
Customer Story
Rate Leaf Customer Rating

Gabriel was our shinning star that guided us through everything!

As first time homebuyers who knew nothing about the market or how things worked, Gabriel was our shinning star that guided us through everything! It took a few months but he never gave up on us, was always a text or phone call away and explained everything even when I asked about it 5x before. He did everything he could to get our family into our first home. We really appreciate him and his entire team, Christian & Nicolas and recommend them to anyone. They came highly recommended to us and we will continue to recommend them to others. Thank you RateLeaf & staff!
10 months ago
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Frequently asked questions

Get Answers to all The questions you have About the Florida HomeTown Heroes Program
Who is eligible for Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program?
Mortgage FAQ

The Hometown Heroes Housing Program makes it possible for eligible frontline community workers in the state of Florida to achieve affordable homeownership. This includes firefighters, educators, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers, child care employees, as well as first-time home buyers.

Qualifying Options
Mortgage FAQ


  • HFA Preferred Heroes (Fannie Mae) – Offers eligible borrowers a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. This mortgage also offers borrowers a reduced Private Mortgage Insurance premium for borrowers below 80% AMI. Standard PMI applies to borrowers above 80% AMI.
  • HFA Advantage Heroes (Freddie Mac) – Offers eligible borrowers a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. This mortgage also offers borrowers a reduced Private Mortgage Insurance premium for borrowers below 80% AMI. Standard PMI applies to borrowers above 80% AMI.


  • AMI does not impact MI rate.
Mortgage FAQ
  • Borrowers must not exceed the maximum income limit requirements for the county in which property is being purchased
  • Hometown Heroes Loan Limit and Income Limit Lookup
  • All borrowers must be considered a first-time homebuyer
  • VVOE indicating full time employment of 35 hours or more a week required Borrower Attestation Form indicating eligible occupation is required
  • First-time homebuyer counseling is required to be complete by all borrowers utilizing income from an approved occupation
  • Veterans and active-duty military members are exempt from all first-time homebuyer requirements unless participating in HFA Preferred Heroes program.
Loan Parameters
Mortgage FAQ

What types of loans are available for the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing program?

  • The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing program offers various loan types, including conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans, all suitable for Florida residents.

What properties are eligible for the program?

  • The program is applicable for primary purchases only.        
  • Eligible properties include 1-unit single-family residences, PUDs (Planned Unit Developments), and 2-4 unit properties.        
  • Borrowers must occupy at least one unit as their primary residence, and the property must be at least 5 years old.

Are condos eligible for the program?

  • Condos can be eligible for the program, provided they meet the requirements set by the agency.
  • However, single unit approvals are not available for FHA loans.

Can manufactured homes be included in the program?

  • Unfortunately, manufactured homes are not eligible for VA or Freddie Mac loans.
  • The minimum FICO score required for manufactured homes is 660.

Are mixed-use properties allowed?

  • Mixed-use properties are acceptable, as long as no more than 15% of the property is used for business purposes.
  • Additionally, the property must comply with agency requirements.

What are the minimum credit score and maximum debt-to-income ratio (DTI) for the program?

  • The minimum FICO score required is 640, except for manufactured homes which require a minimum score of 660.
  • The maximum DTI allowed is 50% with Approve/Eligible findings, or 45% for manufactured homes.

Can borrowers own other properties?

  • Generally, borrowers are not allowed to own any other properties, except for veterans or active military members.

Are there any loan limits?

  • The program adheres to conforming loan limits.        
  • High-balance loans cannot be waived.        
  • The underwriting (UW) fee cannot be waived.        
  • Non-occupying co-borrowers or co-signers are not permitted.        
  • Escrow waivers are not allowed.        
  • Co-ops, single-wide manufactured homes, and land trusts are not eligible.        
  • Temporary rate buydowns are not accepted.        
  • Standalone or piggyback HELOCs are not permitted.

If you have any further questions regarding your eligibility based on your individual circumstances, we encourage you to get in touch with us. Our dedicated team of Loan Officers is here to assist you and provide personalized guidance. Please don't hesitate to reach out, and we'll be more than happy to walk you through any qualifying questions you may have.

How to prevent issues that could delay my pre-approved loan from being finalized?
Mortgage FAQ

Do not apply for a new credit card, auto loan, or other types of credit.
Do not co-sign a loan with someone.
Try to avoid changing jobs, become self-employed, or quit your job.
Do not skip payments on existing credit accounts, utility bills, or loans.
Delay charging up your existing credit on big-ticket items, like furnishings for your upcoming new house.

If you think any of these don’ts are musts, talk to your loan officer before you take action. They can help you figure out what to do so that your mortgage loan is the least negatively affected.

*Avoiding these actions before and during the financing process and this can prevent any unnecessary confusion.

What is a Income and Debt ratio (DTI)?
Mortgage FAQ

Income ratio: Your total monthly housing expense divided by your pre-tax monthly income.
Debt ratio: Your total monthly housing expense plus any recurring debts, i.e., car payments, monthly minimum credit card payments, and other loan payments, divided by your monthly income.

Standard loan underwriting guidelines suggest a max 28 percent income ratio and 36 percent debt ratio, which may vary based on personal finances, loan program, and down payment.While not taking on any debt and paying for everything with cash seems like a logical choice if you feel you can’t afford your lifestyle, no credit also means bad credit in the eyes of a lender.

There’s bound to be a time when you can’t buy something with cash, like buying a house (in most cases). So, we recommend opening different types of credits such as car note or multiple credit cards and making an occasional purchase now and again on them.

To manage your debta keep credit card balances to less than 30 percent of your credit limit. Also, don’t close long-term credit lines, even if they’re not being used. Your longest-standing credit card account might be a huge contributor to your credit score health — and the mortgage rate you qualify for.