Buying a home is an exciting and important milestone. But it can be a confusing and overwhelming process, especially if it’s your first time. As a first-time home buyer in California, it’s important to know what type of assistance you may qualify for, so you can make the most of your home-buying experience.
CalHFA First-Time Homebuyer Loan Programs
The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) is a state-funded agency that helps low- and moderate-income Californians buy and refinance their homes. CalHFA offers loan programs specifically designed for first-time homebuyers, as well as programs that can help you save on your down payment and closing costs.
To qualify as a first-time homebuyer, you must meet certain criteria. Generally, you must not have owned a home in the last three years, and you must have good credit and a steady income. You must also meet certain income limits and have a minimum down payment of 3.5 percent for conventional loans and 5 percent for FHA loans. CalHFA also offers special financing for veterans, as well as down payment assistance programs for eligible buyers.
CalHFA and CalPLUS Conventional Loans
CalHFA also offers conventional loan programs through its CalHFA Conventional Loan Program and CalPLUS Conventional Loan Program. The CalHFA Conventional Loan Program requires a minimum credit score of 620 and allows you to finance up to 97 percent of the purchase price of the home. The CalPLUS Conventional Loan Program offers more flexible credit requirements and allows you to finance up to 105 percent of the purchase price of the home.
Both programs offer competitive rates, but the CalPLUS Conventional Loan Program offers an additional 0.375 percent interest rate reduction for buyers who complete an approved homebuyer education course. They also both offer down payment assistance in the form of a second mortgage, which can be used to cover up to 3 percent of the purchase price.
CalHFA VA Loans
The CalHFA VA Loan Program is designed for veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their surviving spouses. The program requires a minimum credit score of 620 and allows you to finance up to 100 percent of the purchase price of the home. The program also offers competitive rates and down payment assistance in the form of a second mortgage.
CalHFA Down Payment Assistance Programs
CalHFA offers several down payment assistance programs to help eligible buyers purchase their first home. The CalHFA MyHome Assistance Program provides up to 3 percent of the purchase price in down payment assistance, which can be used to cover closing costs. The CalHFA Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program provides up to 3.5 percent of the purchase price in down payment assistance to teachers and other school staff who are eligible for the program.
The CalHFA Homebuyer Education and Counseling Program provides homebuyer education and counseling services to eligible buyers. The program helps educate buyers about the home-buying process and prepares them for the responsibilities of homeownership. Buyers who complete an approved homebuyer education course may qualify for an additional 0.375 percent interest rate reduction on their CalHFA loan.
Get Your First Home in California with Brighton Escrow
Brighton Escrow is the premier escrow service in California. We specialize in providing a secure and efficient escrow experience for all types of real estate transactions. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help make your home-buying experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.