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What is the Florida SHIP Program?

written by: Robin L.•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 12/31/2009

The Florida SHIP program is a state program designed to help new home buyers. Find out how this program could benefit you.

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    Many states have programs to help residents of the state purchase a new home. In Florida this is the S.H.I.P., or State Housing Initiative Partnership, Program. The program was established by the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act of 1992 which provided for a dedicated revenue source with which local governments could help make housing more affordable.

    Who is Eligible?

    There are several criteria that must be met for one to be eligible for the Florida SHIP program. Applicants may not have owned a home in the previous three years, they must not be purchasing property that will be occupied by a tenant other than themselves, use the home that is to be purchased as a primary resident, and meet the income eligibility requirements based on family size. The program is designed to help those family with incomes ranging from very low to moderate.

    As with all things associated with buying a new home there are some general guidelines as well. Ones credit history must be adequate for mortgage purposes, the mortgage must not exceed the appraisal price of the home, and the home must be in good condition.

    How Does it Work?

    County governments are given money each year as long as they have a local housing assistance plan. They also usually have to ensure that mortgage payments don’t exceed thirty percent of the median income of the area. The money can be used for a variety of uses including new construction, down payments, closing costs, and mortgage buy-downs. The local governments are required to use the funds for certain demographics based on what the money will be used for and where.

    Another important factor to consider is that the Florida SHIP program is essentially a loan. This loan must be repaid if the property is not held for at least twenty years.

    Where Do I Sign Up?

    Signing up for the Florida SHIP program is relatively simple. The process begins in the county office for housing assistance. This can be located through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. Most Florida banks, mortgage companies, and real estate agents are also familiar with the program and can assist home buyers in finding and filling out the appropriate applications.