First-Time Homebuyer Programs in California

There are local programs for first-time homebuyers in every city in California.

This article takes a look at the requirements and provides links to the homebuyer program page for every metropolitan city in California.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage and Check Rates

CalHFA defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a home in the last three years.

First-Time Homebuyer Programs in California

Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum 620 credit score, income limits, and loan requirements of CalHFA-approved lenders
  • Must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • Must complete homebuyer education counseling and obtain a certificate of completion
  • CalHFA’s MyHome down payment program requires you to be a first-time homebuyer.

National First-Time Homebuyer Loans

  • FHA Loans – FHA home loans are very popular with first-time homebuyers cause they require a 580 credit score with just a 3.5% down payment. Debt-to-income ratios up to 50% are allowed making them perfect for low-income borrowers.
  • Conventional Loans – Conventional loans require a 620 credit score and a 5% to 20% down payment. If you put 20% or more down, mortgage insurance will not be required.
  • USDA Loans – USDA mortgage loans are for low-to-median income borrowers buying a home located in a USDA-eligible rural area. They provide 100% financing with a 620 or higher credit score. Mortgage insurance is required but the rate is the lowest of any type of mortgage program available.
  • VA Loans – Veterans of the U.S. military may be eligible for a VA home loan. No down payment or mortgage insurance is required and veterans with a 580 to 620 credit score are eligible.
  • HomeReady and Home Possible Loans – Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae created the HomeReady and Home Possible loan programs for low-income first-time homebuyers whose income does not exceed 100% of the area median income requiring just a 3% down payment and a 620 credit score.

Get Pre-Approved for a Home Loan Today

Helpful Resources

Statewide and Regional Programs


You may also like...