CalHFA does not accept applications directly. A CalHFA approved Lender will qualify you for a home loan, so you will need to apply with one of our Preferred Loan Officers or approved Lenders. Each loan program that CalHFA offers to 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.
- CalHFA's down payment programs ECTP and MCC require you to be a first-time homebuyer. See the definition of a first-time homebuyer.
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 first-time homebuyers using a CalHFA program. CalHFA will accept hard or online copies of homebuyer education counseling certificates.
Who has to take this Homebuyer Education course?
Only one occupying first-time borrower on each loan transaction.
How do I take this education course?
- ONLINE: You can take eHome's eight-hour Homebuyer Education course online
- IN-PERSON: face-to-face Homebuyer Education through NeighborWorks America or any HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency
(fee: varies by agency)
Are You a First-Time Homebuyer?
CalHFA's down payment programs ECTP and MCC require you to be 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.