CalHFA Down Payment Assistance Programs

When it comes to purchasing their first home, the two things that hold most potential homebuyers back are the down payment and their credit score. We have a few blog posts on credit building, so this post will focus on down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers.



What is CalHFA?


For more than 40 years, the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) has supported the needs of renters and homebuyers by providing financing and programs so more low to moderate-income Californians have a place to call home. Established in 1975, CalHFA was chartered as the state's affordable housing lender. The Agency's Multifamily Division finances affordable rental housing through partnerships with jurisdictions, developers and more, while its Single-Family Division provides first mortgage loans and down payment assistance to first-time homebuyers. CalHFA is a completely self-supporting state agency, and its bonds are repaid by revenues generated through mortgage loans, not taxpayer dollars.


CalHFA Down Payment Assistance Programs


CalHFA offers a number of more traditional loan programs such as Conventional, FHA, USDA, VA, and an ADU Grant Program. However, the loan programs we have found most beneficial for first-time homebuyers are their down payment assistance programs.


The money you put "down" or the down payment on your home loan can be one of the largest hurdles for many first-time homebuyers. That's why CalHFA offers several options for down payment and closing cost assistance. This type of assistance is often called a second or subordinate loan. CalHFA's subordinate loans are "silent seconds", meaning payments on this loan are deferred so you do not have to make a payment on this assistance until your home is sold, refinanced, or paid in full. This helps to keep your monthly mortgage payment affordable.

  • CalHFA MyHome (Conventional) MyHome offers a deferred-payment junior loan of an amount up to the lesser of 3% of the purchase price or appraised value to assist with down payment and/or closing costs.

  • CalHFA MyHome (FHA) MyHome offers a deferred-payment junior loan of an amount up to the lesser of 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value to assist with down payment and/or closing costs.

  • CalPLUS Conventional ZIP The CalPLUS Conventional program is a conventional first mortgage with a slightly higher 30 year fixed interest rate than our standard conventional program and is combined with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP) for closing costs.


Eligibility Requirements


The full list of eligibility requirements can be found here, but we have listed the highlights below.

  • Must be a first-time homebuyer (not owned in the past 3 years).

  • Owner-occupied residence

  • Meet CalHFA income limits

  • Minimum credit score of 640-680, depending on the program

  • Single-family homes, some manufactured homes, and certain condominiums are permitted


How to Apply


If you are interested in finding out if you are eligible for one of these programs, we recommend setting up an Intro Call with our team. Once we review your scenario, we can give you the next steps in building your homebuying game plan with CalHFA down payment assistance and issue you a preapproval.

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