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Loan Programs for First-time California Home Buyers

Buying your first home can be a challenging, costly experience, especially in California. Fortunately, the CalHFA or California Housing Finance Agency offers several first-time home buyer loan programs for those individuals who are eligible.

CalHFA Advantages and Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for a CalHFA loan, the state of California requires that you qualify as a first-time home buyer.  By definition, a first-time home buyer is someone who has not owned and occupied a home for at least three years.

Advantages:  for low-to-moderate income families, financial assistance for closing costs and a down payment is available.  This applies to some condominiums, homes with in-law quarters or guesthouses, and manufactured homes.

Eligibility requirements:  must be the borrower’s primary California-based residence and cannot exceed 5 acres in overall size; co-ops and leaseholds/land trusts not permitted. Borrower must have at least a 640 FICO score, meet all lender and mortgage insurer income and sales price requirements, and obtain a completion certificate for taking a home buyer education class (additional program-specific requirements may apply).

CalHFA Loan Programs

The following is a list of the four CalHFA first-time home buyer programs that people in California can apply for:

Cal-EEM + Grant Program – whether it’s your first home or you’re a repeat buyer, this program was created to provide financial help to those homeowners with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage who want to make energy-efficient improvements to their home.  This loan can be combined with the My Home Assistance or School Teacher and Employee Assistance Programs and will help with closing costs and your down payment.

CalHFA Zero Interest Program – for families and individuals who are applying for a CalPLUS Conventional or CalPLUS FHA loan, this program will help by providing the borrower with up to 4% of the loan amount as a “0” interest second loan.  However, the payment is deferred until you default, refinance the home, sell the home, or transfer the title to another party – provided you remain in the home.

My Home Assistance Program – this program is best for lower income families and individuals who need financial assistance with closing costs and a down payment.  The amount of this subordinate loan is limited to 3.5% of a home’s appraised value or final sales price, whichever is lower.  This loan can be combined with other grant or down payment assistance programs.

School Teacher and Employee Assistance Program – for teachers and other public-school employees, this is also a deferred-payment program that provides financial help for closing costs and down payments.  You can combine this loan program with Fannie Mae Community Seconds and FHA-approved subordinate loans, but not the My Home Assistance Program.  The loan amount is limited to 4% of the appraisal or sales price, whichever is lower.

For more information about these programs, contact Bridgeport Funding today at (925) 478-8630.

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