Looking to buy a home?

Of course, before you leap into all of the benefits of homeownership, you should get prepared first. To help you get ready and get the most out of CalHFA’s loan programs and assistance, follow these easy steps.

CalHFA understands that buying a home is a huge responsibility; it is also a huge opportunity. Owning your home means you can paint the walls with your favorite color, plant flowers and vegetables if you choose and plant the seed for an investment in your future.


CalHFA-Main Steps to Homeownership


Step 1: Begin the search for a home 

This is the time to employ a real estate agent. A real estate agent will assist in finding a home within your budget and help you make an offer on the home. They’ll also know about open houses and help you through much of the paperwork involved in the home purchase.

Once you’ve found a home that fits most of your needs and is in your price range, make an offer through your real estate agent. If your offer is accepted, congratulations! If not, don’t lose heart, and don’t feel pressured into making an offer that’s outside your budget; there are other homes just waiting for the right new owner.


Step 2: If you are a first-time homebuyer, attend a homebuyer education course 

If you are a first-time homebuyer, and have been pre-qualified, you must attend a homebuyer education course. This education will help you understand the importance and responsibilities of homeownership. In order to obtain a CalHFA home loan, your loan officer must produce your certificate of completion from one of the following entities:


Step 3: Meet with a CalHFA Preferred Loan Officer to get pre-qualified for a loan amount

After determining if you are eligible for a CalHFA home loan, the next step is to speak to a knowledgeable loan officer and get pre-qualified to determine how much of a loan you can afford. You may also use a prequalification calculator to give you an idea of where you stand financially before contacting one of our Preferred Loan Officers. Lenders will figure how much you can borrow based on a formula. This formula considers your gross income, current debts, new mortgage payment (including taxes and insurance), and credit. CalHFA teams up with a number of preferred loan officers who know all about our programs, financing, documentation, eligibility and other details. Click on the “Find a Loan Officer” tab above to contact a Loan Officer in your area.


Step 4: Determine your wants and needs 

Make a list of the things you'll need to have in your home, and a list of things you’ll want in your home. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need and get an idea of how much space you want. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?

Once you've made a list of your must-haves, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, availability of public transportation, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as the rate of home appreciation in the area. Choosing where you are going to live should be done with care.

Step 5: Figure out about CalHFA's financing options and eligibilty requirements

Most people borrow the large amount of money they need to buy a home. This type of borrowing is called a first mortgage loan. There are also mortgage loans that can help out with down payment or closing costs, called junior loans.

CalHFA has first and junior loan options for low to moderate income families, including low to zero interest rate down payment assistance loans. Although many of our programs are for first-time homebuyers, you do not need to be a first-time homebuyer to use CalHFA's FHA and Conventional first mortgage loans. CalHFA does not accept loan applications directly. A CalHFA approved Lender will qualify you for a home loan, so you will need to apply with one of our Preferred Loan Officers or approved Lenders (See Step 2). You can find the details about CalHFA mortgage loans by clicking the “Loan Programs” tab above.

You’ll also want to look at our income limits, sales price limits, and other eligibility criteria. You can find out more by clicking on the “Borrower & Property Eligibility” tabs above. Another option is to use our Eligibility Calculator to see what programs are right for you.

 Don’t forget to check with your local housing authorities and agencies for additional down payment assistance that you can use with CalHFA’s first mortgage and down payment assistance loans to lower your overall monthly mortgage payment.


Steps to Buying a Homes—CA Housing Finance Agency is available in the following areas/cities

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