For many potential homebuyers, the down payment and closing costs can consume a significant part of the purchase budget. In many cases, these costs may be significant enough to prevent or substantially delay the purchase. In California, homebuyers can participate in the California GSFA Platinum Program, a grant program designed to provide down payment assistance in combination with certain types of home loans.
What Is the California GSFA Platinum Program?
The California GSFA Platinum Program is sponsored by the Golden State Finance Authority. The program is intended to “increase homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate income individuals and families in California,” according to the Golden State Finance Authority website.
The program exists to help purchasers buy a new home by providing financial assistance with down payments and/or closing costs. The assistance is considered a grant or a gift; it does not have to be paid back. Once the mortgage loan closes, the grant amount is forgiven.
Important Characteristics of the California GSFA Platinum Program
- Homebuyers who qualify under the California GSFA Platinum Program’s guidelines may receive up to five percent of the loan amount to apply to the down payment and/or to the mortgage loan closing costs.
- The entire amount of the grant must be applied to the down payment and/or the closing costs. There can be no cash returned to the borrower from the grant proceeds.
- The assistance provided under the GSFA Platinum Program is not a second mortgage. The grant does not create a lien against the property.
- The program is particularly helpful to first-time homebuyers, but it is not limited to first purchases. Borrowers who have owned homes before may also qualify.
- The program applies to both new homes (new construction) and to existing residential structures. One to four-unit properties may also qualify, depending on the type of first mortgage.
- Homes purchased using this assistance program must be the buyer’s primary residence. Second homes, vacation homes, rental properties, or other types of non-primary residential properties do not qualify.
- There are no restrictions on how long the borrower must live in a home that qualifies for a GSFA Platinum grant.
Types of Qualifying Loans Under the California GSFA Platinum Program
Under the California GSFA Platinum Program, grant assistance can be provided to homebuyers who have obtained one of four types of mortgage loans. All loans must be 30-year fixed term loans with full amortization.
- FHA Loans: Loans authorized and guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA).
- VA Loans: Loans authorized and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- USDA-RHS Loans: Rural housing loans associated with the Rural Housing Service (RHS) of the United States Department of Agriculture.
- Freddie Mac Loans: Secondary market mortgage loans by the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC). In the case of the California GSFA Platinum Program, only Freddie Mac HFA Advantage Conventional loans qualify. Freddie Mac HFA Advantage Refinance Program loans are also eligible.
Each of these loan types has particular qualifications and limitations. Contact your loan officer at Übermortage to find out which type of loan you may qualify for and how to take advantage of the loan in combination with the California GSFA Platinum Program.
Grant Amount Limits
Grant amounts under the California GSFA Platinum Program are limited by the type of mortgage loan taken out by the borrower.
- FHA/VA Loans: Grant amounts can be up to five percent of the first mortgage loan amount.
- USDA-RHS Loans: Grant amounts can be up to three percent of the first mortgage loan amount.
- Freddie Mac HFA Advantage Loans: Grant amounts can be up to five percent of the first loan amount.
The California GSFA Platinum Program establishes certain standards for borrower qualifications. For example, the home purchase must be for a primary residence. The borrower’s qualifying income must not exceed program income limits. The program also requires a minimum credit score and a minimum income-to-debt ratio.
Borrower qualifications may vary, so contact your representative at Übermortage for the most up to date information.
How to Begin
Contact Übermortage, your GSFA Platinum Participating Lender, to apply for the California GSFA Platinum Program. We can provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision on available loans. We will supply you with complete details on the GSFA Platinum Program, including all program guidelines, current interest rates, and applicable APRs and fees. And, of course, our expert loan officers and financial professionals will give you all the help you need with your application and qualification process.
Übermortage provides expert assistance with your homebuying needs. We can help you qualify for the best terms possible on loans for first-time homeowners or the purchase of a new residence. Let us guide you through the California GSFA Platinum Program so that you can get the most benefit possible from this homebuyer assistance program.