Often the biggest barrier to being a first-time home-buyer is the down payment. 

FHA requires 3.5% down. Conventional often requires 5% down. 

For California homes, that could mean tens of thousands of dollars. 

What if you don’t have the 3.5% down but want to participate in home ownership?

For those first-time buyers, CalHFA is a down payment assistance program enabling home-buyers to buy a home maybe before they’ve been able to save for the down payment. 

How does it work: 

CalHFA FHA Mortgage 

The CalFHA FHA  first mortgage program offers 30-year fixed FHA first mortgage to California home buyers.

You MUST be a first-time home buyer purchasing a primary residence to use MyHome Assistance. 

CalPLUS FHA Mortgage with ZIP 

The CalPlus FHA loan program is a fully amortized thirty 30-year fixed interest rate FHA first mortgage. This loan is combined with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP) for closing cost and/or prepaid items only. 

You MUST be a first-time home buyer to use MyHome Assistance 

CalHFA Conventional Mortgage 

The CalHFA Conventional first mortgage program uses Fannie Mae’s HomeReady expanded underwriting guidelines to offer a lower down payment and closing costs for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit scores. 

You MUST be a first-time home buyer to use MyHome Assistance. 

CalPLUS Conventional Mortgage with ZIP 

The CalPlus Conventional  mortgage offers a slightly higher interest than the standard CalHFA Conventional program and is combined with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP) down payment and closing cost assistance program. 

You MUST be a first-time home buyer to use MyHome Assistance 

Program Eligibility 

Review the guidelines below for both Borrower and Property Requirements to determine if you may be eligible to apply for these programs. 

Borrower Requirements 

  • Occupy the property as a primary residence; non-occupant co-borrowers are not allowed. 
  • CalHFA borrowers must complete homebuyer education counseling and obtain a certificate of completion through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization. 
  • Meet CalHFA for this program. For example, Contra Costa has $220,000 income limit. 

Property Requirements 

  • Be a single-family, one-unit residence, including approved condominium/PUDs 
  • Guest houses, granny units and in-law quarters may be eligible 
  • Manufactured housing is permitted 
  • Condominiums must meet the guidelines of the first mortgage 

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. 

MyHome Assistance Program 
CalHFA Government Loans (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. 

CalHFA Conventional Loans: 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. 

What is a First Time Home Buyer? 

CalHFA uses the definition of a first-time home buyer as any buyer that has not had an ownership interest in a primary residence in the past three (3) years. 

Want to learn more? Contact us at hello@selfi.com and we’ll get you matched with a mortgage coach. 

“SELFi is proud to participate in down payment assistance program to help more Californias realize the dream of homeownership

- Joseph Flannery, CEO of SELFi.com

7 Steps to SELFi

Don’t let lack of down payment funds prevent you from becoming a homeowner. 

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