Request Down Payment Assistance

Neighborhoods with rows of houses

Loan funds are available to help homebuyers cover part of their down payment and closing costs when purchasing a home. The Down Payment Assistance Program is funded through the federal HOME Investment Partnership (HOME Program) and the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program.

The city of Clearwater, through its approved non-profit housing agencies, provides down payment and closing costs assistance to income eligible households who meet program criteria. Assistance is provided in the form of a loan, 50% of which will be amortized over 20 years, payment on the other 50% will be deferred and forgiven at loan maturity, so long as no event of default exists. If the borrower defaults on any of the terms of the mortgage, the deferred amount will become due and payable. If the home is sold prior to the maturity date, the entire outstanding balance will be due to the City.

Payments will begin on the 50% amortized balance after a five-year deferral period. The property to be purchased must be the borrower’s principal residence and must be located within the city limits of Clearwater. The maximum loan amount is $45,000. The maximum sales price is $278,000 for both newly constructed and existing homes. 

Online

Step 1.Check your income eligibility

  • Borrowers/Participants must meet program income eligibility guidelines. When determining household income, all household members are counted, regardless of who is determined eligible/qualified for the first mortgage loan. All household income of people  18 years and older, who will reside in the property, must be included.
  • The borrower is not required to be a first-time home buyer to qualify for assistance, but they cannot own another property at the time of closing. 
  • Borrowers/Participants must provide documentation of their household income and assets along with other program requirements.
  • Homebuyers must contribute at least 1% of the sales/purchase price toward the closing from their own funds.
  • Homebuyer must not have received assistance from the city of Clearwater in the past unless the assistance has been paid in full, a satisfaction of mortgage executed and recorded in public records or unless there is some form of hardship (divorce, permanent layoff, physical or mental disability, fire, flood or natural disaster or the death of a family member).
  • Homebuyer and residents must be a U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens. 

CDBG Income Limits

Effective June 15, 2022

Household Size 0 to 30% AMI (Extremely Low) 30+ to 50% AMI (Low) 50+ to 80% AMI (Moderate) Above 80% AMI (Non-Low/Moderate)
1 person $17,300 $28,750 $46,000 N/A
2 persons $19,750 $32,850 $52,600 N/A
3 persons $22,200 $39,950 $59,150 N/A
4 persons $24,650 $41,050 $65,700 N/A
5 persons $26,650 $44,350 $71,000 N/A
6 persons $28,600 $47,650 $76,250 N/A
7 persons $30,600 $50,950 $81,500 N/A
8 persons $32,550 $54,200 $86,750 N/A
Gross (Unadjusted) Median Household Income - $82,100

HOME Income Limits

Effective June 15, 2022

Household Size 0 to 30% AMI (Extremely Low) 30+ to 50% AMI (Very Low) 50+ to 80% AMI (Low-LIHTC) Above 80% AMI (Low)
1 person $17,300 $28,750 $34,500 $46,000
2 persons $19,750 $32,850 $39,420 $52,600
3 persons $22,200 $39,950 $44,340 $59,150
4 persons $24,650 $41,050 $49,260 $65,700
5 persons $26,650 $44,350 $53,220 $71,000
6 persons $28,600 $47,650 $57,180 $76,250
7 persons $30,600 $50,950 $61,140 $81,500
8 persons $32,550 $54,200 $65,040 $86,750
Gross (Unadjusted) Median Household Income - $82,100

SHIP Income Limits

Effective April 18, 2022

Household Size 0 to 30% AMI (Extremely Low) 30+ to 50% AMI (Very Low) 50+ to 80% AMI (Low) Above 80% AMI (Moderate)
1 person $17,300 $28,750 $46,000 $69,000
2 persons $19,750 $32,850 $52,600 $78840
3 persons $22,200 $39,950 $59,150 $88680
4 persons $24,650 $41,050 $65,700 $98520
5 persons $26,650 $44,350 $71,000 $106440
6 persons $28,600 $47,650 $76,250 $114360
7 persons $30,600 $50,950 $81,500 $122280
8 persons $32,550 $54,200 $86,750 $130080
Gross (Unadjusted) Median Household Income - $82,100

Step 2.Check the property's eligibility

  • New or existing single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums are eligible. Two-four family, rental properties, mobile homes, manufactured and trailers and co-ops are not eligible.
  • If the property is built prior to 1978 and has peeling or chipping paint, the city will order a lead paint inspection. If lead paint is found, lead abatement will be required before closing. If they refuse to do lead abatement, the property will be ineligible for assistance.
  • The property may be owner-occupied, vacant or occupied by the applicant; tenant-occupied properties are not eligible.
  • The sales price must not exceed 90% of the median area purchase price established by the U.S. Treasury Department (Maximum sales price is $349,525.80).
  • The property must be located within city of Clearwater incorporated limits. You can use the Pinellas County Property Appraiser tool to see if the home you’d like to buy is within city of Clearwater limits. The tax code of CW, CWD or CWDO will appear if your property is eligible.

Check the Address

Step 3.Complete a homebuyer education workshop

You must complete at least eight hours of pre-purchase homebuyer education workshop with a housing counseling agency approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at least two weeks prior to closing.

Workshops are usually eight hours long, held over one or more sessions during a single weekend. Costs vary depending on the counseling agency. At the end of the workshop, you will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate is good for one year. 

Below is a list of HUD-approved agencies that are currently contracted through the city of Clearwater:  

  • Suncoast Housing Connections (FKA - Tampa Bay Community Development Corp.)
    Down Payment Assistance and Homeowner Education Classes
    2139 NE Coachman Road
    Clearwater, Florida 33758
    (727) 442-7075
    (727) 442-4575

Step 4.Pre-qualify with a city-registered mortgage lender

Once you have completed the homebuyer education workshop, you may then contact a city-registered mortgage lender to secure a loan commitment for a first-time mortgage with a fixed rate. 

If you already have a lender and they are not registered with the city of Clearwater, they will need to follow the process to become registered. 

Step 5.The city will inspect the property

An inspection is required to verify that the housing meets applicable safety and code requirements. The city will consult with a third-party contractor to conduct required property inspections. The inspection must be completed using HUD’s Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) form. The inspection must be completed no more than 90 days before the commitment of HOME funds. There is no charge to the client for this inspection. If any of the minimum housing code standards are not met, these must be completed, corrected and re-inspected prior to closing.

The city code inspection does not replace a need for a home inspection. Please continue to hire a inspector to conduct a detailed home inspection of the property.

Step 6.Contact your lender to start the Down Payment Assistance Application

Once you have an executed contract for sale of purchase, your mortgage lender can start the "Down Payment Assistance Application".

Step 7.Login to Neighborly

The sub-recipient portal is hosted by Neighborly. Neighborly is accessibly via any internet-enable device, however works best on the Google Chrome browser.

Go to Neighborly

Step 8.Create an account

When you access Neighborly for the first time, you'll need to create your account by clicking on the "Register" link. Choose a username, password and email to receive notifications at. 

For security purposes, you will need to validate your email. Neighborly will send you an email notification, follow the instructions in the email and validate your address. If you do not receive the email within two minutes, check your spam, bulk mail or junk mail folder. If the email appears there, you can right-click on the email to mark it as "Not Junk" or "Not Spam" to ensure you receive all other Neighborly emails.

Next Steps

  • Once your application is submitted, staff will review your paperwork. Applications will be reviewed and processed on a first-come; first qualified basis. Initial reviews are typically completed in three to four days.
  • Please keep us informed as you schedule your closing date and keep in mind the Down Payment Assistance approval process may take up to 30 days.
  • Assistance will be provided in the form of a check to be presented at closing. Checks are made payable to both the borrower and the title company.

The Down Payment Assistance Program is funded through the federal HOME Investment Partnership (HOME Program) and the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program. In accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Act, or Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended in 1988. The City of Clearwater will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familiar status, age or national origin.

To complete the file in accordance with the local and the state’s guidelines, the borrower and lender will be asked for the following information and types of supporting documents:

1.) Verification of Household Size for all household members 18 or over
  • Driver’s License or government issued photo identification
  • Social Security card or receipt from the Social Security Administration showing the borrower has applied for a duplicate card.
2.) Dependents/Other Household Members (Under the age of 18)
  • Birth certificates on which the parent/applicant’s name is listed
  • Letter(s) of adoption or court-ordered letter(s) of guardianship (if applicable).
  • Joint custody of children (if applicable). In these cases, provide evidence that child’s permanent address is with the applicant (i.e. divorce decree, marital settlement agreement, custody agreement) and school records, which provide the applicant’s name and address as the primary residence of the dependent.
3.) Separated Applicant(s)

When the applicant is married and the spouse does not intend to reside in the home, documentation of permanent alternate residence must be provided.

4.) Application Information

All adult household members who are 18 and over must complete the Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Assistance Application and sign an Authorization to Release Information Form.

5.) Copy of lender’s 1003 (handwritten or typed copy acceptable)
6.) Good Faith Estimate (to show loan type, rate, monthly payment).

NOTE: The lender can initially provide a copy of their closing cost worksheet, but prior to final approval, the City or its designee must receive a copy of the final Good Faith Estimate.

7.) Tri-merged credit report - all pages - dated within 120 days.

8.) Tax Return/1040 for the most recent year - all pages and schedules - signed by the borrower(s). If the borrower does not have a copy, a printout from the IRS is acceptable. (To obtain this form or printout, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040).

9.) Home Buyer Education Certificate (from a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-certified Agency).
10.) Sales Contract (all pages and addendums)

Must be signed by buyer and seller

11.) Verify Occupancy Status of Property

Borrower will need to verify if the property is vacant, seller occupied, tenant occupied or if the Borrower currently resides in the property. If the property is currently vacant, verify if the last occupant was the seller or a tenant.

12.) Existing Properties

A Uniform Physical Condition Standard Inspection (UPCS) report, from a City approved inspector, will be performed to show that property “passes” and all deficiencies are repaired. This inspection is ordered by and paid for by the City. 

12.2 Income Information

Required for all adults residing in the property who are 18 years of age or older, regardless of whether or not they are a part of the mortgage. 

Employed Borrowers or Co-Borrowers

The following documents will be required:

  • Written Verification of Employment (VOE) - dated within 120 days
  • The most current paystub - so an initial income determination can be made
  • If one borrower is unemployed, they must execute a Declaration of No Income.

 

Adult Dependents (18 years or older)

The following documentation will be required:

IF EMPLOYED:

  • Most current paystub - so an initial income determination can be made
  • Written Verification of Employment (VOE) - dated within 120 days
  • If the dependent adult is a full-time student, provide a copy of the school transcript or a letter from the school showing they are full time. (In this case, only count the first $480 of their earnings for Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and state guidelines)

IF UNEMPLOYED

  • Declaration of No Income to be signed and witnessed

IF A FULL-TIME STUDENT

  • Student statement of school enrollment
  • Proof of full-time status (i.e. copy of transcript or letter from school)
Self-Employed Borrowers

The following documentation will be required:

  • Individual and/or Corporate (if applicable) Tax Returns for the most recent two years. Please include all pages and schedules. The city or its designee can also accept IRS printout showing tax return information.
  • Year-to-date Financial/Profit & Loss Statement (for the most recent quarterly period). A statement prepared by a bookkeeper or accountant is preferred. If the borrower does not use an accountant, then the borrower must prepare the income statement and must also write a letter certifying that the Profit & Loss Statement was self-prepared and no accounting/bookkeeping services were used by their business.
  • Notarized statement from borrower on the net amount they anticipate earning in the next 12 months. (This amount should be consistent with the earnings reported on the last two years’ tax returns. If the anticipated income is substantially higher or lower, a written explanation letter must be given for the difference). 
Borrowers receiving Disability, Social Security of Pension Income

The following documentation will be required:

  • a Social Security or pension awards letter (from the most current year). If the letter is more than a year old, a current letter is required.
Borrowers receiving Child Support or Alimony Income

The following documentation will be required:

  • Child support agreement or divorce decree – including Marital Settlement Agreement (all pages)
  • Evidence of receipt/non-receipt of income (i.e. court printout dated within 120 days) 

If the child support is court-ordered, but the applicant does not receive it regularly, it must still be included in household income, unless the applicant can show that they have begun proceedings with the state against the spouse who is not paying). If the borrower has dependents but is not receiving any support, they must execute a child support affidavit.

12.3) Asset Information

In order to verify assets, all borrowers must provide: 

  • Written Verification of Deposit (VOD) - dated within 120 days
  • Most current bank statement on all accounts (including savings, checking, IRA, pension, 401K, stocks, etc.). PLEASE PROVIDE COPIES OF ALL PAGES OF THE STATEMENT. If the borrower has an account and City or its designee is unable to obtain a Verification of Deposit (VOD), six months of account statements will be required.
  • Asset Addendum Form 
  • If the borrower is receiving gift funds, a gift letter must be provided, along with evidence of receipt of the gift (i.e. copy of the gift check, deposit slip, etc). The gift cannot come from the seller or realtors.
12.4) Non-Occupant Co-Borrowers Information

Non-occupant co-borrowers must provide the following information:

  • Copy of lender’s 1003 (handwritten or typed copy is acceptable)
  • Credit report - all pages (In-File or Standard Factual is acceptable)
  • Applicable income information (as noted above)
  • Co-Signer affidavit to be signed (City or its designee to send appropriate form). This form certifies that the Co-Signer will not reside in the household and they will not contribute any income to the household. 

NOTE: Per State Guidelines, Co-Signers cannot take Title to the property or be listed on the Warranty Deed.

12.5) Closing Documentation

The following information will be required prior to closing:

  • Title Company Information
  • Name
  • Contact Information (Name, Phone, Fax Number)
  • Estimated Closing Date
  • Title Information Sheet
  • Copy of Lender’s Approval/Commitment Letter
  • Pages 1-6 of Appraisal (photos not necessary)
  • Flood Certification Form
  • if any deficiencies were noted on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspection Report, a final inspection must be obtained showing that all repairs are complete.
  • If a newly-constructed property, final Certificate of Occupancy
  • Copy of homeowners and flood insurance (with appropriate mortgagee clause)
  • Copy of title insurance commitment (with appropriate mortgage clause)