California First-Time Home Buyer Programs of 2019

The home buying process can be daunting, not to mention expensive. That’s why the California Housing Finance Agency, or CalHFA, offers several loan programs to help qualified first-time home buyers get a mortgage. CalHFA is a California program.

You may also benefit from a national loan program that features low credit score or down payment requirements. Explore all the options for buying your first home in the Golden State. Finding your way through these assistance programs can also be challenging. I would be happy to help you get a better understanding of what’s available. If this interests you, please call, text or email me. Billy

National First-time Home Buyer Programs

Offered by most lenders, these national loan programs are always worth consideration, especially if you need flexible credit requirements or low down payment options.

Conventional mortgage

Best for: Low down payments Limited mortgage insurance premiums

A conventional mortgage is a home loan that isn’t guaranteed or insured by the federal government. Conventional mortgages that conform to the requirements set forth by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow down payments as low as 3% for first-time buyers or lower-income home buyers. Unlike FHA loans … 

VA loans

National program

Best for: Military; Low down payment

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs helps service members, veterans and surviving spouses buy homes. VA loans are especially generous, providing competitive interest rates, often requiring no down payment or mortgage insurance. Although there is no official minimum credit score, most …

FHA loans

National program

Best for: Low credit score; Low down payment

This is the go-to program for many first-time home buyers with lower credit scores. The Federal Housing Administration allows down payments as low as 3.5% for those with credit scores of 580 or higher. The FHA will insure loans for borrowers with scores as low as 500 but requires a 10% down payment…

California First-time Home Buyer Programs


MyHome Assistance Program for assistance with down payment and closing costs.

CalHFA Zero Interest Program for closing cost help on CalPLUS Conventional and CalPLUS FHA loans.

School Teacher and Employee Assistance Program for educators, administrators and school and district staff.

CalEEM + Grant Program for an FHA-insured energy efficient mortgage.

For full details on any of the CalHFA programs listed above, visit the CalHFA website.

CalHFA doesn’t review applications or lend money; mortgage decisions are made by its network of preferred loan officers and approved lenders. These lenders may have their own rules about income limits, credit scores and eligible properties. If you’ve found a first-time home buyer loan program that seems like a good fit, reach out directly to a lender for more information.

Each of the above mentioned programs has eligibility requirements. We can talk through this process, if that would be helpful. Billy

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