No Place Like Home: The City of Hollywood & Broward County Help With Home Ownership

September 1, 2022

The City of Hollywood extended an existing agreement with Broward County for the administration of the Home Buyer Purchase Assistance Program. Funding assists eligible first-time homebuyers with a deferred-payment, Conditional Grant up to $50,000.00 to be applied toward the cost of purchasing existing or newly-constructed, eligible affordable housing located in the City. Eligible costs shall include direct purchase assistance, down payment, closing costs, mortgage principal reduction, interest rate buy-down and other such costs which are considered eligible. Funds are available on a first come, first qualified, first served basis.

Broward County's Requirements
Broward County recognizes that many individuals who can afford monthly mortgage payments don't have the required down payment for a home. The Broward County’s Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program, used alongside the First Time Home Buyer Program, helps potential homebuyers overcome this hurdle by offering down payment assistance.

Available Assistance
The Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program provides income-eligible residents of Broward County with down payment assistance funds in the form of a deferred-payment loan. Borrowers receive funds on a first-come, first served basis. This program works in conjunction with Broward County’s First Time Home Buyer Program, a below market, fixed rate mortgage program.

Eligibility Requirements
In order to receive assistance via the Homebuyer Purchase Assistance Program, all applicants must fall within certain eligibility criteria. The program is only available to first-time homebuyers with an annual household income that falls below 80 percent of the area median income. Borrowers are also required to attend and complete a HUD Counseling Seminar prior to submitting an application. In addition to contributing 1 percent of the down payment from their own funds, all borrowers must pay a $750 Transaction Fee to the Housing Finance Authority of Broward County.

Property Guidelines
Any home being purchased must serve as the borrower’s primary residence and must undergo a comprehensive home inspection. Eligible properties include new or existing single-family residences, condominiums, villas and townhomes located in Broward County. Mobile homes and cooperatives are not eligible.

Seller-funded down payment programs were eliminated in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, but States and Local government agencies are still permitted to help borrowers finance their homes with second mortgages and grants. These agencies set different requirements that a borrower needs to meet in order to qualify for the grant programs, such as property location, purchase price and income limits.

Benefits of Owning a Home vs. Renting

Pay yourself, not your landlord – In the current economy, rents have skyrocketed for the same space. Each month you own a home, you build equity in your property. That means you own a little more with every payment you make. You also have the opportunity to see your home increase in value, especially if you take care of it and make improvements. Let’s compare your rent payment with the monthly interest you would pay on your mortgage. When you rent, it’s like 100% of your payment every month goes just to interest and you never own anymore of that property than you did before. When you invest in a home, you invest in yourself.

Mortgages are Cheaper – A monthly mortgage payment for a home is often cheaper than what you would expect to pay in rent for your typical apartment. Think about that. If you can own a 3 or 4 bedroom home for what many people pay to rent a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment, why not buy the house?

Stability for your family – For most people, renting is viewed as a short-term solution. If you can afford to own a home and you’re not planning on moving anytime soon, then it’s really tough to make a case for renting in lieu of home ownership. On the other hand, a family is a long term commitment and to go with that, you need a long term investment, such as a stable place to call home. Numerous studies argue that home ownership has a wide range of benefits on child and family development. When you own a home, you do something good for yourself and your family.

More freedom – If you’re renting a home and you decide to paint the walls or the floors, you’re increasing the value of the home, but you don’t get to enjoy it. You’re adding value for your landlord. You also will probably need their permission before you do anything to the property. Well that’s no fun! When you own the home, you get to make all those life choices yourself, if you do a good job and increase the value of the home, then you get to keep the profits on the property when you sell it.

You deserve it – Most importantly, home ownership can be a wonderfully rewarding experience and you deserve to be part of it. A good home can change a person and even set a family on the right track. When you rent, it’s like trying to make your home in someone else’s house. Take a chance on yourself and invest in a home that will give you a place to belong to.

For more information regarding the program Broward County and Hollywood are offering, visit the Broward Housing Finance and Community Redevelopment Division at: https://www.broward.org/Housing/pages/homebuyer.aspx and The City of Hollywood at: https://www.hollywoodfl.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1147