Down Payment Assistance for Tampa Bay First Time Homebuyers

You could be eligible for this Down Payment Assistance!

The $15,000 Florida Hardest Hit Fund Down Payment Assistance (HHF-DPA) is now offered to people planning to buy homes for the first time in any of the three Tampa Bay counties: Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties. This is administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corp.

Update as of November 29, 2020: This program is no longer available. According to the Florida Housing Finance Corp., all programs under Florida Hardest Hit Fund have CLOSED.


Previously, this program was offered only to homebuyers in Hillsborough. Now, buyers in Pasco and Pinellas can also avail.
Are you eligible for this $15,000 down payment assistance?

You could be! Here are the basic requirements:

1. You must be a first-time home buyer.

The great thing is you’re considered as a first-time home buyer even if you have owned a home in the past as long as three years have passed since you last owned a home.

Your tax return will confirm your non-home-ownership.
Your lender will also check that your name does not appear on any real property deed.
The counting of 3 years starts from the closing date and works backwards.

The exception to this 3-year requirement is if:

you’re buying in a FDTA (Federally Designated Targeted Area)
or if you qualify under the Veteran’s Exception.

2. Your household income should not be higher than these maximum limits:
If you buy in a non-FDTA (usually most areas) in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties:

Household of 1 to 2 persons  —  $59,200
Household of  3 or more persons  —  $68,080

If you buy in an FDTA:
Household of 1 to 2 persons  —  $71,040
Household of 3 or more persons  —  $82,880

All household members over the age of 18 are counted as members of the household.

3. You must buy a home priced not higher than these maximum limits:

Most Areas of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas

FDTAs in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas

4. You must complete a First Time Homebuyer Education class before buying.

Your spouse and all other persons named on Deed on property are required to complete this First Time Homebuyer Education class. You will each be given a Certificate of Completion, which is one of the required application documents.

Here’s a List of HUD-Approved HomeBuyer Counseling Agencies in Tampa Bay.

5. You must qualify for a Florida Housing’s first mortgage loan from an approved lender in the county where you’ll buy a home.

. Your loan should be a 30-year-term fixed-rate loan.
. Only government loans are allowed (FHA, Fannie Mae, USDA-RD, and VA)

6.  You must have at least a FICO score of 680.

7. You’re buying a home as your primary residence, not for investment.
You must occupy the property within 60 days of closing

8. If you’re married, you and your spouse must present your tax returns for the past 3 years even if your spouse is not a co-borrower.

9. You should have no bankruptcies discharged within the past 4 years and no foreclosures within the past 7 years.

10. Your debt to income ratio should not exceed 45%.
This includes your new mortgage payments and all other recurring monthly debt payments.

11. You  have no outstanding liens or judgments.

Is this $15,000 down payment assistance (DPA) free?

Yes, it is fully forgivable and free, provided you do not default and you live in the property for at least 5 years.

Initially, this $15,000 DPA will be granted to you as a 0%-interest 5-year-term second-mortgage loan. This loan will be forgiven at the rate of 20% per year over five years, as long as you do not default. It will be fully forgiven after 5 years of living in the property.

Can you apply for this assistance as a stand-alone aid?

No. This program is only available when used in conjunction with Florida Housing’s first mortgage loan.

What types of homes are allowed?

  • Attached single-family home
  • Detached single-family home
  • Duplex
  • Condo unit (Must be pre-approved)
  • One four-unit property (you must occupy one unit as your primary residence)
  • Planned unit development
  • Manufactured home is allowed, but the Loan to Value (LTV) ratio should not exceed 90%.

Mobile homes are not allowed under this program

Are there other rules that you need to know?

  • If Fannie Mae loan is used, cosigners are not allowed. Cosigners cannot be named on the Warranty Deed.
  • If FHA loan is used, cosigners are permitted and co-borrowers can be named on Mortgage but cannot be named on Warranty Deed.
  • Cash back at closing is not permitted. Excess funds will be used to pay down the first mortgage.
  • If you have bank deposits OUTSIDE of payroll, you need to provide detailed explanations.
  • You will need to contribute $1000 or a little bit more towards the purchase price.
  • You’re not allowed to use more than one Florida down payment assistance programs.

How do you start your application?

  1. Prepare your income, tax, and asset documents.
  2. Contact one of the accredited lenders in the county where you’re planning to buy a home. 
    To connect to an accredited lender, contact any one of our agents who deal with this Down Payment Assistance program:
    Irene Sandiego
    [email protected]
    Miguel Beltran
    [email protected]
    Yulia Stock-Ponomareva
    [email protected]
    Alex Ciumasu
    [email protected]
  3. Prepare additional documents required by your preferred lender.
  4. Contact one of the HUD-approved homeownership education providers in the county where you’re buying a home, so you can complete the required homeownership course.

Can we help you find homes eligible for down payment assistance?

YES! Just please tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll send you listings that you can review.

Please give us your contact details here, and your search criteria (price range, location, style or type of house, must have criteria), and we will be happy to search eligible homes for you.



. EHousingPlus. Florida Housing Finance – Government Loan Programs (w/HHF or FL Assist)
Retrieved from

. EHousingPlus. Florida Housing HHF – 2015 SF Program – Government Loans – Sample Forms. Retrieved from

. First Time Homebuyer Wizard. Florida Housing Finance Corp. Retrieved from

. Florida Housing Finance Corp. What is the Florida Housing First Time Homebuyer Program? Retrieved from

. Florida Housing Finance Corp. (2016). Florida Hardest-Hit Fund DownPayment Assistance Program Guide. Retrieved from

. Homeownership: First Time Homebuyer Program. Florida Housing Finance Corp. Retrieved from if you jave any issues with the pdf file just try to convert it using sodapdf

. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies. Retrieved from

. Workforce Resource LLC. 2016. Florida HHF DPA Second Mortgage Program. Retrieved from