Many are confused about who is and what does it take to be considered at First Time Home Buyer.
A First Time Home Buyer is someone who has NOT owned a primary residence in the past three (3) years or falls under the other criteria categories listed below.
A primary residence is the home you reside in as your homestead. Using the term homestead in this manner does not mean you have filed for the Homestead Exemption for reduced property taxes on the residence you live in. It means under The Florida Constitution your property qualifies for homestead protection. To qualify for this homestead protection, you must be a permanent Florida resident and the homestead property must be your primary place of residence. Your home that is the constitutional homestead is also the same property that may qualify to have the Homestead Exemption for reduced property taxes.
Additionally, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established benchmarks to help lenders identify first-time homebuyers for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan programs. According to HUD, a first-time homebuyer is an individual who meets the following criteria:
- An individual who has not held ownership in a principal residence during the three-year period ending on the date of the purchase.
- For couples, if one spouse is/was a homeowner but the other has not owned a home, both spouses are considered first-time homebuyers.
- A single parent who has only owned a home with a former spouse while married is considered a first-time homebuyer.
- An individual who is a displaced homemaker (has worked only in the home for a substantial number of years providing unpaid household services for family members) and has only owned a home with a spouse is considered a first-time homebuyer.
- An individual who has only owned a principal residence not permanently affixed to a permanent foundation in accordance with applicable regulations (such as a mobile home where the wheels are in place)
- An individual who has only owned a property, not in compliance with state, local, or model building codes and which cannot be brought into compliance for less than the cost of constructing a permanent structure.
The importance of knowing if you qualify as a first-time homebuyer is the access you will have to programs offered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Most are designed to help ease the cost or credit requirements of entry into homeownership while helping you to realize the American Dream of Homeownership. These loan programs may include one or more of the following: lower mortgage rates, lower closing costs, and loans for lower credit scores than required for conventional (non-FHA) loans, down-payment assistance programs.
For more information about First-time Homebuyer programs please contact your local REALTOR®. Other resources can be found at www.NAR.Realtor as well as www.hud.gov.
Marilyn Pearson-Adams is the Broker-Owner of Century 21 Alliance Realty, with locations in Spring Hill and Brooksville.