The State of Florida created a program allowing first-time homebuyers in Lakeland and every where else around this state to use their maximum allowable tax credit of up to $8000 toward a downpayment of their new home when buying Lakeland real estate. This program was effective July 1st; however the Florida Association of Realtors ® reports it may take until August 1st for this program to really kick off, due to funding mechanism.
Basically, it is a program of bridge loans, called the Florida Homebuyer Opportunity Program (FLHOP). It is used to help first-time homebuyers to receive their funds early for downpayment. Although most first-time homebuyers qualify for a tax credit, they once had to wait until they submitted the info to the IRS through their tax return to receive a check that could take up to 8 weeks. Now a first-time homebuyer can borrow up to $8000 from the State of Florida and then pay it back after receiving the tax credit within 18 months without interest and penalties. The caveat here, there are additional loan documents that would address potential problems that may create confusion for the first-time homebuyer.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has its own program similar that applies only to FHA loans and buyers still must have a minimum downpayment of 3.5% when going through private lenders. When a borrower uses up to $8000 tax credit through state or local government program, they may use it to make up the 3.5% downpayment.
Florida local housing administrators will oversee the downpayment funds locally and while this program is similar to the SHIP program (State Housing Initiatives Partnership) the difference is SHIP uses area median income (AMI), which are generally lower than the federal tax limit.
Whether you the first-time homebuyer need immediate assistance to receive this bridge-loan or can wait until you receive your tax credit check, there is still time left to look for your Lakeland real estate and take advantage to receive up to $8000. I’m sure you could use it, I know I could if I would qualify for a first-time homebuyer.
Please be advised for additional questions about the $8000 tax credit consult your tax professional.