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Home Buyer FAQs


1. Does the program currently have funds available? If so, how long do you believe those funds will last? How often is your program funded?
Programs are funded annually by the State and Federal governments, the amount of which varies from year to year. The city currently has funds available through the Federal Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME) and the Florida State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program for down payment and closing cost assistance available to households not exceeding to 80% of the area median income (AMI) limit. Beginning October 1, 2014 funding may be available for those household up to 120% AMI. Funding is limited. Please call Linda Byars (727) 892-5572 for further information.

2. Does the program dictate how much assistance is to be used toward the down payment vs the closing costs or escrows? 
The second mortgage assistance loan provided an amount equal to 10 percent of the sales price for down payment and a maximum of $5,000 for closing costs including, prepaid items and escrows.

3. FHA requires a minimum cash investment of 3.5% to 5% for the down payment from the borrower, all of which can be a gift. If the city provides assistance to the buyer, can the assistance amount be applied towards the minimum cash required thereby allowing in some cases zero cash out of the buyer's pocket? 
No, the borrower must contribute a minimum of 1% of their own funds into the transaction. The 1% may include e borrower's pre-paid items such as appraisal fee, credit report fee, home inspection cost and other items.

4. Does the city require specific debt-to-income ratios?
The city's experience has proven that the 43% back-end-ratio is a fair and reasonable guideline and the front-end ratio, which represents the total amount of the buyer's mortgage payment of principal, interest, mortgage insurance premium and escrows for taxes and insurance should not exceed 33% of the buyer's gross monthly income. These ratios have been established by policy based on FHA guidelines.

5. If I am married and my husband is out of the country do I have to include his income?
Temporarily absent family members are considered family members. For example, the city will consider a family member who is working in another state on assignment or who is on active military duty to be temporarily absent.

6.  If I am married and my husband is in jail how will this affect my application for down payment assistance?
Incarcerated individuals are not counted as household members if they are scheduled to be incarcerated during all of the next 12 months.

7. If a friend is staying with me on a temporary basis do I have to include his or her income as part of my household?
A temporary visitor is not considered a household member.

8.  Can down payment assistance be used to payoff delinquent credit?
No, only for the purpose of down payment and closing costs.

9.  Do I have to include my under age child who is working in my household income?
Earnings in excess of $480.00 for each full-time student 18 years old or older is excluded unless the full-time student is a head of household and spouse.

10. Can the down payment assistance program be used in conjunction with ARM loans?
No, Adjustable Rate Mortgage loans are excluded; only a 15, 30 or 40 year fixed rate first mortgage loan product is permitted.

11. Are the home buyer classes posted on the site?
Yes, Classes are listed on the city's website and provided by:
Tampa Bay Community Development Corporation (727) 442-7075
Neighborhood Home Solutions (727) 821-6897
Community Services Foundation (727) 461-0618
Consumer Credit Counseling Services (800) 251-2227

12.  If there are two applicants, do they both have to take the class?
Yes, both borrower and co-borrower are required to attend the classes unless one cannot be present because of a disability.

13. What collection do customers have to pay?
Not all collections have to be paid. ALL judgments must be paid.

14. Other than a stove, does WIN require any other appliances in the home to qualify for DPA?
The home must be ready for occupancy with essential appliances including appropriate appliances: Stove or cook surface and refrigerator. Dishwashers, washers, dryers, microwaves, garbage disposals, etc. are not considered essential appliances and are not required.

15. WIN doesn't have a credit score requirement does it?
The city's relies on the lender for first mortgage loan approval
and prefer a credit score no less than 580, which is an FHA guideline.

16. Would a 2 unit property qualify for the W.I.N. program?
Cooperative units, condominiums and single family only, Duplex, triplex, quadruplex or multi-family units are not eligible.

17. Do closing costs include escrows for taxes and insurance too?
Yes. Closing costs and prepaid items will appear on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement at closing.

18. How do you calculate income? Is it different than mortgage lenders?
Income is calculated from all household members over the age of 18. We look at all household member's income not just the borrowers.

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City of St. Petersburg
P.O. Box 2842
St. Petersburg, FL 33731

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