Home Buying in Tampa>Question Details

Lindsey Berk…, Home Buyer in Tampa, FL

Are there grants out there for first time home buyers? What are the income requirements?

Asked by Lindsey Berkshire, Tampa, FL Wed Aug 27, 2008

I am a first time home buyer starting my search and I heard there are grants given to first time home buyers but I heard my salary has to be quite low to receive the money. Does anyone have any information on this? Also is there a limit on how expensive the house can be that you use the grant on?

I am looking in the ybor area - I want to stay close to south tampa/downtown but I don't want to pay over $250K and I want a house with at least 2 bathrooms and relatively low property tax... that is why i am thinking a historical area would be good like ybor. Any help is greatly appreciated! I don't have a realtor at this time either ..

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Two options come to mind.

1.) Florida S.H.I.P. (State Housing Investment Partnership) provides grants to municipalities and counties to provide down payment and closing costs assistance for home buyers. Each jurisdiction writes its own rules. City of Tampa info can be found here:


HUD American Dream Grants also provide down payment assistance. You can learn more here:

2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 27, 2008
Hi Lindsey,

When comparing properties, be sure you do not assume that what the current owner is paying for property tax will be the amount you will pay. If the current owner has owned the property for many years and has filed for homestead exemption, the property taxes may be considerably less than you will ultimately pay. You can get an estimate of what "your" property tax will be at http://www.HillsTax.org .

I have a client who received $50k in free money that she will never have to repay to buy a townhouse for $180k. She had 2 dependents and was in lower income bracket based on her family size.

If you buy a home before October 1st, you can still buy a house with no money down via the Ameridream program and an FHA mortgage. Also when you file your tax return you can also get a $7,500 interest free tax credit loan from the IRS. You have to pay back the $7,500 but with no interest and at only $500 per year for 15 years.

It may not be worth waiting for a downpayment assistance grant--especially if you are not in the "highest" need category.

You may want to reconsider your area and go with a fixer upper (or short sale or bank owned) smaller property in the Plant High School district. There will always be a demand for homes within those boundaries.

I'd be happy to help you in your search. I'm currently accepting qualified buyer clients, please call or email if you'd like my assistance.

All my best,

Alma Rose Kee, P.A.
Real Estate Consultant
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.
Web Reference: http://www.soldontampa.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 30, 2008
There are options for you, and a considerable amount of assistance--your best bet is to talk to at least three lenders and ask them about first time homebuyer programs that they have. They really are the authorities in this matter. And don't assume that what one lender tells you is the same thing another lender will tell you. Some work better with first time homebuyers than others. Happy Hunting!
Web Reference: http://www.MykeTriebold.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 27, 2008
In addition to the grants already mentioned, there also are loan programs for first time home buyers. Based upon my research, you are more likely to get a First Time Home buyer loan that will work for you than you are a grant... Although there is grant money, and it is attainable for those who qualify (income, number of dependents, etc...) some of the grant programs have very limited funds and the money is completely distributed as soon as it comes available to those already on a waiting list. It's a first come/first served system, but if you can get the money, it's a great program. Keep in mind, though, even with a grant, you'll still need a mortgage loan from another lender.

Bruce Bernstein
Pretty Dog Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 27, 2008
Hi Lindsey---

I work in the Tampa area and have an idea of what is available. The best option is going away at the end of September, but we could probably still get you in a house if we move quickly. Ybor City is a great area as is Seminole Heights----close to Downtown and South Tampa, great area with some wonderful, charming older homes. Also the Port Tampa area may have some things for you as well. Please feel free to call me at (813) 810-4663 or e-mail me at KWDawn1@aol.com amd I can get you more details. Thanks for your time!

Dawn Dougherty
Keller Williams SouthShore
(813) 810-4663
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 29, 2008
Dear Lindsey:

I have a house in the Port Tampa area that may meet your needs. It is a 4/3 with a two car garage. My Icon is a picture of the house. The house is in ready to move in condition with all the little extras that make a house a home. Asking price is $285,000.

If you are handy we have a 2/1 with one car carport in Bayshore Beautiful area. Asking price is $265,000.

We could work a deal on either house that may suit your needs. Please e-mail me so we could arrange a showing.


A. J. Sanchez
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 27, 2008
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