Under the First Home Mortgage Program, applicants can receive up to 4 percent of the total first mortgage amount to be put toward paying the down payment and closing cost assistance. This assistance comes in the form of a grant, which has no repayment terms.

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First Home Mortgage Program

Financial Assistance for Homebuyers in California

The Southern California Home Financing Authority (SCHFA) is a joint powers authority between Los Angeles and Orange Counties, established to create first-time homebuyer programs for low- to moderate-income households. One of these programs is the First Home Mortgage Program. In addition to a 30-year, fixed rate mortgage with competitive interest rates, the program provides individuals with down payment and closing costs assistance.

Available Assistance
Under the First Home Mortgage Program, applicants can receive up to 4 percent of the total first mortgage amount to be put toward paying the down payment and closing cost assistance. This assistance comes in the form of a grant, which has no repayment terms. The program is overseen by the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission (CDC) and the Public Finance Division of the County of Orange. It can be used in conjunction with the CDC's Home Ownership Program (HOP) and the Mortgage Credit Certificate Program (MCC), with the most restrictive program guidelines applied. Homebuyers do not receive assistance funds from the SCHFA; they must work directly with a participating lender.

Eligibility Requirements
All applicants must meet certain requirements to be eligible for assistance under the First Home Mortgage Program. They must fall under the program’s income limits (shown below), have a minimum FICO credit score of 640, and a debt-to-income ratio not exceeding 45 percent. It is required that all applicants attend a homebuyer education course, with certificates of completion dated 12 months prior to the closing of escrow.


Under the program, applicants can purchase new or existing homes within the purchase price limits in the following eligible areas. All unincorporated areas and incorporated cities in Los Angeles County (except the City of Los Angeles), and all unincorporated areas and incorporated cities in Orange County.
 
Non-Targeted Areas Existing Homes: $585,713
Non-Targeted Areas New Homes: $585,713

Targeted Areas Existing Homes: $715,872
Targeted Areas New Homes: $715, 872
 
Income Limits
Household income is defined as all income received by household members (18 years or older) who will be living in the home, even if they are not on the mortgage.

Los Angeles County
1 or 2 person household: $108,120
3 or more person household: $126,140

Orange County
1 or 2 person household: $125,160
3 or more person household: $146,020

(Note: These figures were accurate at the time of publication and may no longer be current - visit the program website for updated information.)
 

Down Payment Grants in California

The City of Brentwood offers first-time homebuyers the Down Payment Assistance Program (DAP), which provides funds that go toward the down payment and/or closing costs. Assistance comes in the form of a deferred payment loan program for first-time homebuyers.

The CalHome Program provides applicants up to 17 percent of the total property price for down payment assistance, and 4 percent (up to $10,000) in closing costs assistance. These funds come in the form of a loan with 3 percent simple interest per year, accrued annually.

The California Homebuyer’s Downpayment Assistance Program is a deferred-payment junior loan that grants applicants up to 3% of the purchase price or appraised value of the property, which can be put towards the down payment and/or closing costs. 

The City of Downey has partnered with the local housing non-profit organization Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) to provide down payment assistance in the form of a $60,000 loan, via the Downey First-time Homebuyer’s Program.

​The First Time Homebuyer Loan Program that was established by the City of Emeryville  provides down payment assistance to households at or below moderate income. This initiative gets individuals out of the renter’s trap by helping them to pay the heavy, upfront costs of purchasing a home.

The Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program (ECTP) grants eligible applicants a deferred junior loan ranging between $7,500 and $15,000, which can only be combined with an eligible first mortgage loan from the California Housing Finance Agency.

Under the First Home Mortgage Program, applicants can receive up to 4 percent of the total first mortgage amount to be put toward paying the down payment and closing cost assistance. This assistance comes in the form of a grant, which has no repayment terms.

Califonia’s Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA) created the Platinum Program, which provides low-to-moderate income California homebuyers with down payment and/or closing cost assistance to help them achieve their goals of purchasing a home.

The FTHB Program provides down payment assistance in the form of a loan, the maximum amount of which may not exceed the lesser of the maximum HOME subsidy limit, 20 percent of the purchase price, or the amount needed as determined by underwriting criteria. The maximum loan amount will never exceed the amount of the primary loan.

The MyHome Assistance Program offers applicants a deferred-payment junior loan up to 3% of the purchase price/appraised value of the mortgaged property in order to help make the down payment or pay the closing costs.

CalHome Grant in order to help individuals achieve their dreams of homeownership. This program funds the Riverside Down Payment Assistance Program, which provides first-time homebuyers up to $50,000 to help pay the hefty, upfront costs on their new homes.

Santa Ana’s Downpayment Assistance Loan Program provides eligible applicants up to $40,000 to be put toward the down payment on their new home. These funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, in the form of a zero-interest loan.

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