First time homebuyer programs in California

The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) was established in 1975 to help low and moderate income Californians get safe and affordable housing. With those goals in mind, CalHFA offers two things: low interest rate mortgage programs and down payment assistance programs.

At the very highest level, there are only two components we need to keep straight.

Down payment assistance programs (DAPs)

It is a help offset or completely cover the upfront costs associated with getting a loan.

Mortgage loan programs

the types of financing available to consumers per CalHFA-defined guidelines.

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 eligibility requirements

CalHFA does not accept 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. Each loan program that CalHFA offers to homebuyers can have different criteria for income limits, minimum credit scores, citizenship etc.

In general these are borrower eligibility requirements for all CalHFA programs:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other qualified alien.
  • You will need to meet credit, income limits and loan requirements of the CalHFA-approved lender and the mortgage insurer.
  • You will need to live in the home you are purchasing for the entire term of the loan, or until the home is sold or refinanced.
  • CalHFA borrowers must complete homebuyer education counseling and obtain a certificate of completion through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization.
  • CalHFA's down payment programs MyHome and School Teacher and Employee Assistance Program and the MCC require you to be a first-time homebuyer.

First Time Home Buyer in California is available in the following areas/cities

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