State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program

 

A multifaceted program funded through the State of Florida designed to increase affordable housing construction and homeownership; the SHIP Program has been increasingly successful since 1993. The SHIP Program offers three programs that include a Multi-Family Development Program, a Homeowner Rehabilitation Program and a Down Payment Assistance Program.

 

The Multi-Family Development Program provides loans to Developers that wish to build affordable multifamily housing communities.

 

The Homeowner Rehabilitation Program matches funds with the County's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to provide assistance to qualified applicants to correct substandard housing conditions such as; building code violations, energy conservation and correcting health and/or safety violations.

 

The Down Payment Assistance Program assists qualified applicants with zero interest loans to assist in meeting their down payment and closing cost requirements. The loans available for home purchases are as follows:

  • Existing (resale) up to $15,000.00

  • Existing (resale) with home improvements, up to $15,000.00 for down payment assistance and up to $10,000.00 for qualified home improvements

  • New Construction up to $25,000.00

  • Funds for these programs are limited and all loans are made on a FUNDS AVAILABLE BASIS ONLY

     

    Understanding the Process

     

    Understanding the Down Payment Assistance Qualifying Process

     

    A. What is the SHIP Program?
    The SHIP Program is a loan that provides down payment assistance for families/individuals that meet the eligibility guidelines. The four main eligibility requirements are as follows:

    • Applicants must meet gross adjusted income for family size without going over

    • Ability to qualify with a financial institution

    • Must participate in a First Time Home Buyers Education Class

    • Must not have owned a home anywhere within the three previous year

    Eligibility is based upon household size and anticipated adjusted gross annual income for such size for any member of the household over 18 years of age that is working and/or any other member of the household receiving other forms of income such as Social Security benefits, pensions, retirement, etc.

     

    B. How much money is available?
    Eligible individuals and families can receive up to fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) to put towards their down payment and closing costs for the purchase of an existing home and up to twenty-five thousand  dollars ($25,000.00) to put towards down payment and closing costs for the purchase of a new construction home or an existing home with construction upgrades. More details will follow.  

    C. What are the loan terms?
    The SHIP Loan is taken out as a Second Mortgage loan, but you do not make payments on it. The loan is paid back when one of the following occur: 

    • The home purchased is no longer your primary residence

    • The home is sold

    • The first mortgage is paid in full

    • If the buyer is deceased and wills the home to someone else

    • If the buyer chooses to refinance and take cash out. 

    At this time, the loan must be paid back in one lump sum.

    D. What are the recommended steps to apply for down payment assistance?
    The following guideline is recommended for best results in applying for down payment assistance:

    • Obtain Pre-Approval from reputable mortgage lender or bank

    • Schedule/Attend First Time Homebuyers Education Class

    • Make appointment to apply for SHIP funds

    • Contact Realtor or Builder (wait to sign contracts)

    One of the reasons obtaining a pre-approval from a financial institution first is that it is the first requirement in scheduling an appointment to apply for the funding. If our office does not have a pre-approval letter from the applicant's financial institution, an appointment will not be scheduled.

     

    The First time Homebuyers Education Class needs to be scheduled as soon as the applicant(s) are pre-approved with a lender. If there is more than one adult (e.g. husband & wife, boyfriend & girlfriend), both parties must take the class. The classes are conducted by Consumer Credit Counseling Services and are held once monthly. If the applicant(s) does not get registered in a class as soon as possible, it may hold up closing on the home.

     

    Applying for SHIP funds is listed third because the first two steps must be taken care of prior to the appointment. Appointments are continuously booked solid. Keep in mind when calling to schedule an appointment that the applicant may not get in for two to three weeks. This is also why it is important to follow these recommended steps. If for some reason the applicants cannot make the appointment, please call to cancel and/or re-schedule, keeping in mind that cancellations will delay processing.

     

    Many people make the mistake of signing a Real Estate Contract before applying for SHIP funds when in all practicality it should be the very last step. Signing a Real Estate Contract or Construction Contract prior to your SHIP appointment will not get an earlier appointment.

     

    Not securing SHIP funds first may also cause the applicant(s) to lose the contract on the home because they could not get processed in time and the seller/builder will not give an extension.

     

    E. Expected time frame for processing an application:
    From the date of the initial SHIP appointment, processing can take from four to six weeks or more because of the verification process. There may also be other factors involved as well that may require more time for processing. This is yet another reason not to sign contracts before the appointment.

     

    During the appointment, Third-Party Verification Forms must be signed by the client(s) and sent out for verification. Determining eligibility is dependent on receiving these forms in a timely manner.

     

    Once all Third-Party Verification Forms are received, the Income Certification [Form] can be completed. These verification forms are what must be used to determine eligibility. Once the SHIP Loan Processor has completed the ICF, the Executive Director must give final approval.

     

    Once the Executive Director has given final approval, the SHIP Loan Processor will contact the applicant(s) to come in and sign off on the Income Certification Form to receive the Letter of Approval. If the applicant(s) do not meet the eligibility requirements, an ineligible letter will be mailed.

     

    F. Types of down payment assistance available:
    There are three types of down payment assistance available as mentioned above. This outline explains the documentation needed from your lender in order to process a Request for Payment. They are as follows:

     

    Existing. You may receive up to fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) towards down payment and closing costs for the purchase of an existing home.

     

    The following documents are required from the lender seven to ten business days prior to a 

     

    Request for Payment to be processed for closing:

    Final mortgage approval letter from Financial institution stating:

    • The legal name of the first mortgage holder (lender)

    • The mortgage amount

    • The monthly payments (including PITI)

    • The closing agent and address 

    • Signed Real Estate Contract

    • Uniform Underwriting Transmittal Summary or MCAW including amount of  subordinate Financing (SHIP Funds) requested

    • First two pages of the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report

    • Copy of the Certificate from First Time Buyers Class

    • Proof of Title Commitment

    Existing with Construction Upgrades
    You may receive up to fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000.00) towards down payment and closing costs for the purchase of an existing home and up to an additional ten thousand  dollars ($10,000.00) for necessary construction improvements.

     

    The following documents are required from the lender seven to ten business days prior to a Request for Payment to be processed for closing:

     

    Final mortgage approval letter from Financial institution stating:

    • The legal name of the first mortgage holder (lender)

    • The mortgage amount

    • The monthly payments (including PITI)

    • The closing agent and address  

    • Signed Real Estate Contract 

    • Uniform Underwriting Transmittal Summary or MCAW (including amount of Subordinate Financing (SHIP Funds) requested)

    • First two pages of the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report

    • Copy of the Certificate from First Time Buyers Class

    • Proof of Title Commitment

    • Home Inspection Report by a licensed home inspector

    • Signed agreements/contracts (by both parties) for all construction/improvements

    • Copies of contractor's license(s)

    • Schematic drawings for room additions

    The contractors have six months from the date of closing to complete the work. Once the work is complete, the contractors must notify the SHIP Loan Processor with the Final inspection Number from the County Building Department for confirmation. Once the final inspection is confirmed, the SHIP Loan Processor will issue a Release of Funds Statement to the title company for them to process payment. The applicant(s) must only use the contractor(s) they submitted to SHIP. If they do not, they will be responsible for payment.

     

    The following upgrades that could meet the requirements for Construction Funds as defined by Florida Statue 420.9075 are as follows:

    • Increasing actual living space

    • New Roof (must be at end of life expectancy)

    • Bringing entire house up to current building codes including electrical, plumbing, or any structural deficiencies

    • Septic systems, water heaters, central H/A

    • Full window replacement for weatherization purposes

    Regular household appliances are not included and anything cosmetic, such as replacing carpeting, floor or painting, does not fall within the Florida Statues.

     

    New Construction
    You may receive up to twenty-five thousand  dollars ($25,000.00) towards down payment and closing costs for the purchase of a newly built home. The definition of a new construction home is when any new home's Certificate of Occupancy is less than six months of age.

     

    The following documents are required from the lender seven to ten business days prior to a Request for Payment to be processed for closing:

     

    Final mortgage approval letter from financial institution stating:

    • The legal name of the first mortgage holder (lender)

    • The mortgage amount

    • The monthly payments (including PITI)

    • The closing agent and address

    • Signed Construction Contract

    • Uniform Underwriting Transmittal Summary or MCAW (including amount of Subordinate Financing (SHIP Funds) requested

    • First two pages of the Uniform Residential Appraisal Report

    • Copy of the Certificate from First Time Buyers Class

    • Proof of Title Commitment

    • Certificate of Occupancy

    G. Miscellaneous
    **Up to signifies how much assistance is needed to close on the home from the Underwriters. **Funds are limited and all loans are made on a Funds Available Basis only.
    **Interest Rates must be below ten percent for buyers

     

    H. At/After the Closing
    Once the applicant(s) have closed on their home, the following documents are needed from the title company:

    1. Recorded Second Mortgage Document

    2. Recorded Promissory Note

    3. Copy of first mortgage document

    4. Copy of closing Settlement Statement

    5. Copy of Certificate of Occupancy (New Construction)

    I. Eligible Properties:

    The maximum allowable purchase prices for homes are as follows:

     

    EXISTING HOMES ........................................ $ 189,682

     

    NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES .................... $ 189,682

     

    J. Letter of Approval
    The Letter of Approval is valid for a total of ninety days after which the SHIP application will become null and void. If the applicant(s) do not close on a home within the ninety days, a thirty- day extension can be given if the applicant(s) contact the SHIP Loan Processor prior to expiration.

     

    If a closing does not take place after the thirty-day extension, the applicant(s) will need to re-certify. All income and asset information will then have to be re-verified to obtain a new Letter of Approval. If there have been any significant increases since the initial verification process and it puts the applicant(s) above the income limits, they will then receive an ineligible letter. The Maximum Qualifying Income Limits are as followed:

    •    1 PERSON..................................$30.450

    •    2 PEOPLE...................................$34,800

    •    3 PEOPLE...................................$39,150

    •    4 PEOPLE...................................$43,500

    •    5 PEOPLE...................................$47,000

    •    6 PEOPLE...................................$50,450

    •    7 PEOPLE...................................$53,950

    •    8 PEOPLE...................................$57,400

    The total household income cannot exceed these amounts for family size. The State does not allow any flexibility for these guidelines. Attached is the list of documents needed from the applicant(s) for the SHIP appointment.  

     


     

    SHIP WORKSHEET (State Housing Initiatives Partnership)

     

    Prior to scheduling an appointment with our office, you must have a PRE-APPROVAL letter from a financial institution.

     

    To take advantage of County Down Payment Assistance Program, you must submit the following documents at your scheduled appointment time:

    • Four most recent pay stubs, or letter from employer showing current year-to-date earnings for each member of the household over 18 years of age

    • Most recent tax return [1040] from each member of the household over 18 years of age (dependent verification only)

    • Proof of Social Security or SSI annual benefit statement(s)

    • If self-employed or an independent contractor; past two years tax returns [1040's] and YTD Profit and Loss Statement from a licensed public accountant

    • Most recent bank statements showing all accounts; checking, savings, CD's, money markets, 4OIK's, stocks, bonds, IRA'S, retirement, pensions, etc.

    • Copy of divorce decree(s) 

    • Original Child Support/Alimony statements

    • Property Appraiser's assessed value if you own land

    • Driver's License(s)/Florida ID and Social Security Cards (all H/H members) or birth certificates for children

    • Homebuyers Class Certificate, or show scheduled date

    • Employer's address(s), phone numbers and/or fax numbers