Florida First time home buyer

Florida offers firsttime home buyers a number of programs

A first time home buyer in Florida is anyone who hasn’t owned a property in the past three years. So if you owned a property 5 years ago, you would now be considered a first time home buyer.

Buying a home is a big deal, and can be overwhelming to navigate through all the steps.

We are going to provide a home buying overview in this article to help you get through the process easily.

First step is to know what type of first time buyer loans are available.

Types of First Time Buyer Home Loans in Florida

Coole Home has three loan options for first time home buyers.

VA Loan

A VA Loan is perfect for buyers because it doesn’t require a down payment and is easy to qualify for.

To qualify – you must have a military background. You are either a veteran or an active duty service member.

The amount you qualify for is going to be based on how much you earn each month versus how much debt you have – this is called a debt to income ratio.

With a VA loan, you can purchase a house, condo, manufactured home, modular homes, townhomes, etc..

Related: VA Loan Requirements

FHA Loan

An FHA loan is a very popular loan because of the low down payment requirement and doesn’t require a perfect credit score to qualify.

The down payment on this loan program is 3.5% and anyone who is a first time home buyer can apply.

This program is very lenient in regards to credit blemishes, and all property types can be purchased with this program including condos and manfactured homes.

Related: FHA Loan Requirements

Conventional 97

A Conventional 97 has a minimum down payment of 3%, and is a better option than the FHA loan if you can qualify.

Conventional has a minimum credit score of 620, and is not as easy to qualify for as the FHA loan.

Sellers and realtors prefer conventional loans over goverment loans because they have less property restrictions.

Related: Conventional Loan Requirements

Credit Score Requirements for a First Time Buyer

Credit scores help lenders determine the likelihood that you’ll pay the mortgage payment on time. It’s a very important factor when trying to qualify.

The minimum credit score required is 620

Some lenders may go lower but they are hard to find.

The credit score is just as important as the credit history. Lenders will review the credit report for late payments, charge offs, collections, credit cards that are maxed out, bankruptcies, etc.

All these things are reviewed and a determination is made on wether or not you are considered to be a high risk.

Should you get Pre-Approved or Pre-Qualified?

If you are a buyer ready to move forward with purchasing a home, than you’ll want to get pre-approved. A pre-qualification is an estimation of what you can qualify for and a pre-approval is more thorough.


A mortgage pre-approval is a document from a lender that tells you exactly how much of a loan you can get. It’s based on a review of your financial information, such as income, bank statements, and your credit report.


A prequalification is an estimate of the amount of home loan you can qualify for. It’s based on an estimated evaluation of your income and other information rather than actual information. Usually doesn’t require a credit pull.

When making offers on a home, sellers will want to see a pre-approval letter rather than a pre-qualification.

Is a condo better or House for a first time buyer in Florida?

Some buyers prefer purchasing a condo because it is a smaller living space and easier to take care of .

A condo requires no yardwork or exterior maintenance. Condo complexes also have amenities like a pool, jacuzzi, fitness center, theatre, etc.

A house with a pool can get expensive, and will require a lot of maintenance. If you are single, a condo is usually the better option.

You can read more about the advantages of a condo here.

Here are a few advantages for a first time home buyer:

  • Condos are easier to rent out then a house. Let’s say you have to relocate or upgrade into a larger home, condos are easier to rent. Which means you’ll be able to generate monthly income from monthly rental payments more quickly.
  • Condos offer the same benefits as apartments. Tenants can have access to amenities like a pool, jacuzzi, parks for children, theatres, fitness centers and so on.
  • There is less maintenance to deal with. With a condo, you don’t have to worry about the maintenance on a pool if for some reason it stopped working, or angry neighbors because you didn’t mow the lawn, or worry about exterior paint and fences.
  • Condo are more affordable for tenants than a house. Rent on condos is usually less than a house, making it faster and easier to rent the unit out.

How much money do you need to buy a house in Florida?

There are 3 major expenses when buying a home. The first is the down payment, second is closing costs and third is the earnest money deposit.

Down Payment – Depending on the loan you qualify for, you may have a zero down payment or a down payment as little as 3%, or if you choose you can make a down payment of 20%. There are several options available.

The down payment ultimately depends on the type of loan you qualify for and if you are an investor or looking to purchase a home as a primary residence.

Here is more info to read up on:

Closing Costs – When purchasing a home, the closing costs are typically anywhere from 2.5% to 3% of the purchase price. If the purchase price is $150,000 or lower, it can be as high as 5%-6%.

Closing costs include escrow and title fees, underwriting fees, processing, appraisal, survey, pest inspections, recording, etc.

In addition, you’ll have to pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes at closing as well.

Learn More about closing costs for first time buyers:

Earnest Money – An earnest money deposit is a “good faith deposit”, that has to be made after a purchase offer is accepted.

It demonstrates that you are serious about purchasing the sellers home.

The deposit is made to the escrow/title company, and they hold onto it until your financing is completed, or if a transaction gets canceled, they will either return to you as the buyer, or it can possibly go to the seller if you fail to meet your obligations.

At closing the earnest money funds will be used towards either your down payment or the closing costs.

Learn More about earnest money deposit:

Are you ready to apply? Start the process by completing the form below.

  • Are you looking to buy or refinance a home?
  • What is your price range?
  • Do you currently own a home?
  • What type of property are you buying?
  • When are you planning to make your home purchase?
  • Have you (or your spouse) ever served in the US military?
  • Have you declared bankruptcy in the past 7 years?
  • Is this your first time purchasing a home?
  • What is your current credit score?
  • What is your email address?
  • What is your name?
  • What is your phone number?

Want to know what the mortgage payment includes on a condo? We did a mortgage breakdown on a condo.

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