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What is a FTHB program?  A first-time homebuyer program can consist of grants, financing and other services provided to individuals purchasing a home for the first time.


Grant money may take on the form of a second mortgage, direct payment or a forgivable loan to the first-time homebuyer.  The education portion consists primarily of homebuyer education counseling, which is often offered by non-profits, or by the city in which the grant monies. are being used.  First-time homebuyer programs can also include services such as grant monies for the repair of the home or reduced costs for repairs or upgrades made to primary homes.


A short sale is when a seller is “upside down” on their mortgage, or the seller owes more on the mortgage than the property is worth.  In this case, an offer to purchase the property at a discount is presented to the bank or lender that owns the mortgage, in which the bank or lender reserves the right to “accept” or “decline”.


1. Short sale properties are great for buyers who want to purchase a home that is in fairly good condition, as opposed to a foreclosed or distressed properties.  More often than not, the seller is still living in the home and maintaining the property, even though it may be the bare minimum in maintenance.

2. Short sale properties (for the most part) have a history.  The seller is still accessible to the buyer to answer questions about the property’s history, the neighborhood, etc.

3. If your financing is in order, then you are a good candidate for a short sale.  Lenders like cash offers, especially for short sale, foreclosure and distress properties, but if you can not buy cash then you should have a mortgage approval from a bank or lending institution prior to shopping for a home.


1. Financing - The first thing you should understand about purchasing a foreclosed/REO property is, that the bank wants to sell the property quickly.  For this reason cash buyers and investors often end up acquiring the majority of these properties.  In order to compete, it is important that your finances are in order to make a strong offer to purchase and close on the transaction.

2. Property Condition – Isn’t this where the kitchen is supposed to be?  More often than not, foreclosed/REO properties not include items (or even an entire kitchen) or have hidden defects.  REO properties are offer in its “AS-IS” condition and allow the buyer to inspect the property condition.  Buyers can make an offer contingent upon the condition of the property before they proceed with the sale.  When purchasing a foreclosure/REO it is important to hire a professional to perform a property inspection.

3. Budget Carefully – You should anticipate the need for a repair or renovation budget when considering purchasing a foreclosed/REO property, as many of his homes are distressed, damaged, not upgraded or some combination of thereof.  Your budget should be realistic and take into consideration your monthly mortgage payment (if you are financing the purchase with a mortgage).

4. Use Professionals – Expertise is an important characteristic when buying property.  You want to use professional inspectors, attorneys, closing agents and Realtors because expertise makes the difference between a job well done and a job overrun.

See the house for yourself – You can search all listed properties and neighborhoods in South Florida on our website “Search MLS”.

5. Put your best “Offer” forward – REO sellers want the highest and best offer and you should be prepared to put your best “offer” forward.  It maybe a feeding frenzy right now for distressed properties, but don’t be rattled when making your offer, just make sure you present your highest and best offer.

Homeownership: FAQ
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