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If you are a very low, low or moderate household interested in owning a home, we may be able to help you. Buying a home is a major investment, involving a great deal of time, money, and quite possibly, confusion. Keystone can work with you to help make the process easier and affordable.

In order to buy a home, two things need to happen:

  • You will need to qualify for a first mortgage loan.
  • You will need money for a down payment and closing costs associated with getting a mortgage loan.

Saving money for a down payment and closing costs is an obstacle for many homebuyers, but even more difficult if you are a low or moderate income household. Fortunately, there are programs designed to help, so you can own a home!

Funding Programs

Keystone works primarily with a state of Florida program, the SHIP program, which stands for State Housing Initiatives Partnership. Every time there is a real estate transaction in the state of Florida, a tax is collected by the state. The money from the tax is then distributed to local governments to help low and moderate income homebuyers. Like any government program, there are of course, rules and regulations including qualifying income limits. We may also also work with other government sponsored programs that provide assistance for down payments and /or closing costs.

Keystone's Role

Keystone is a partner with the three local governments receiving SHIP or other assistance funds in Polk County. We work with the City of Winter Haven, the City of Lakeland, and Polk County governments.  Our role is to provide the actual hands on assistance to homebuyers. Keystone will work directly with you and we will:

  • Educate you about the home buying process.
  • Work with you and your mortgage lender to arrange for the assistance.
  • Provide the necessary paperwork and documentation to the local governments so they will assist you!

Your First Step

We recommend that before you begin the process of actually searching for and contracting to buy a home, you take the steps below.

  1. Attend our Homebuyer Education Class.

  2. Contact a mortgage lender to be pre-qualified for first mortgage financing.

If you attend a Homebuyer Education class first, you will be better prepared for the process.  After taking the class, you can then talk to Keystone or another mortgage lender to make sure you are qualified to buy.  You will also know what sales price range to look for and have a better idea of what your monthly mortgage payment will be and how much it will cost you to obtain a mortgage.  ALSO, you will be able to tell real estate agents and sellers that you are pre-qualified, increasing your chances of having your contract accepted when you find the home that is right for you!

What If I Have Already Found a Home and a Lender?

If you are just now finding out about Keystone, and have already started the process of buying your new home, that's okay. Talk to your lender and make sure they have information about our Gap Lender Program and will reserve down payment /closing cost assistance funds for you (if available), and register for a Homebuyer Education Class as soon as possible.

What Are the Basic Requirements?

To see if your household may qualify for down payment and closing cost assistance, click here Program Income Limits.

To see if your household may qualify for a first mortgage loan, click here Qualifying for a Mortgage Loan.

All applicants are expected to attend a Homebuyer Education Class.  For more information click Homebuyer Education Program.

 

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