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Eligibility Questions?


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Not a first-time homebuyer?
You may still apply for our first mortgage loans if your property is located in a Targeted Area.

Borrower Eligibility

Are You a First-Time Homebuyer?

To know for sure, you should understand that a first-time homebuyer is defined as someone who has not owned and occupied their own home in the last three years. That means if you've never owned a home, you're a first-time homebuyer. It also means that if you owned your home three or more years ago, but sold it, you are right back to being a first-time homebuyer again, and you can take advantage of all of the benefits of CalHFA's first-time homebuyer programs.

There are two exceptions to the first-time homebuyer rule that may waive the requirement of being a first-time homebuyer (for CalHFA first mortgage loans only):


Borrower Requirements

Each loan program that CalHFA offers to first-time homebuyers can have different criteria for income limits, minimum credit scores, citizenship etc. To learn about specific requirements and benefits for each program, review the program descriptions on the Loan Programs tab.

Visit our Mortgage & Eligibility Calculators section to assist you in estimating your monthly payments, how much you can afford, and which CalHFA programs you may be eligible for.

In general these are borrower eligibility requirements for all CalHFA programs:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other qualified alien.
  • You will need to meet credit, income limits and loan requirements of the CalHFA-approved lender and the mortgage insurer.
  • You will need to live in the home you are purchasing for the entire term of the loan, or until the home is sold or refinanced.
  • CalHFA borrowers must complete homebuyer education counseling and obtain a certificate of completion through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization.
  • You must be a first-time homebuyer, which is defined as someone who has not owned and occupied a home in the past 3 years.
    • Exceptions to this rule are if you are purchasing a home in a targeted area or if you are a veteran. These exceptions can allow non-first-time homebuyers to apply for a CalHFA loan.

Be sure to check the borrower eligibility section of each individual loan program for program-specific requirements such as income limits and FICO scores.


Homebuyer Education Requirement

CalHFA firmly believes that homebuyer education is critical to the success and happiness of a homeowner, and requires homebuyer education for all its first-time homebuyer programs. CalHFA will accept hard or online copies of homebuyer education counseling certificates.

The type of course and who needs to take it vary depending on the loan product(s). Please refer to the information below.

When using a CalHFA first mortgage

When using a CHDAP loan with a
Non-CalHFA first mortgage

Who has to take this Homebuyer Education course?

  • Only one occupying borrower on each loan transaction.

How do I take this education course?

Who has to take this Homebuyer Education course?

  • All occupying borrowers on each loan transaction.

How do I take this education course?

  • You can use a HUD-approved Housing Counselor or

  • You can use your private mortgage insurer's Fannie Mae-approved homebuyer education. Check your private mortgage insurer's website for availability.

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