Homebuyers (en Español)
CalHFA understands that buying a home is a huge responsibility; it is also a huge opportunity. Owning your home means you can paint the walls with your favorite color, plant flowers and vegetables if you choose and plant the seed for an investment in your future.
Of course, before you leap into all of the benefits of homeownership, you should get prepared first. To help you get ready and get the most out of CalHFA’s loan programs and assistance, follow these easy steps.
Learn about CalHFA’s financing options and eligibility requirements.
Most people will need to borrow money to purchase a home. This type of home loan is called a mortgage. CalHFA has many mortgage options for low to moderate income families, like loans that include down payment assistance. You can find the details about CalHFA mortgages by clicking the “Loan Programs” tab above.
You’ll also want to look at our income limits and other eligibility criteria. You can find out more by clicking on the “Borrower & Property Eligibility” tabs above. Another option is to use our “Eligibility Calculator” to see what programs are right for you.
Talk to a CalHFA loan officer to get pre-qualified for a loan amount.
After determining if you are eligible for a CalHFA home loan, the next step is to speak to a loan officer and get pre-qualified. This will determine how much money you can borrow to buy your home. CalHFA teams up with a number of approved loan officers who know all about our programs, financing, documentation, eligibility and other details. Click on the “Find a Loan Officer” tab above to contact a Loan Officer in your area.
Attend a homebuyer education course.
Once you have worked with a loan officer and have been pre-qualified, you will need to attend a homebuyer education course. In order to obtain a CalHFA home loan program, you must produce a certificate of completion from one of the following entities:
- ONLINE: You can take eHome's eight-hour Homebuyer Education course online
- IN-PERSON: face-to-face Homebuyer Education through any HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency
(fee: varies by agency)
Figure out your needs and wants.
Make a list of the things you'll need to have in the house. Ask yourself how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'll need and get an idea of how much space you want. How big do you want the kitchen to be? Do you need lots of closets and cabinet space? Do you need a big yard for your kids and/or pets to play in?
Once you've made a list of your must-have's, don't forget to think about the kind of neighborhood you want, types of schools in the area, availability of public transportation, the length of your commute to and from work, and the convenience of local shopping. Take into account your safety concerns as well as how good the rate of home appreciation is in the area.
Start looking for a home.
This is the time to employ a real estate agent. A real estate agent will assist in finding a home within your budget and help in making an offer on the home. They’ll also know about open houses and help you through much of the paperwork involved in the home purchase.
Once you’ve found a home that fits most of your needs and is in your price range, make an offer through your real estate agent. If your offer is accepted, congratulations! If not, don’t lose heart, and don’t feel pressured into making an offer that’s outside your budget; there are other homes just waiting for the right new owner.
- Do I qualify for CalHFA programs?
To determine your eligibility, you can review the information provided under the Borrower Eligibility tab above.
- What is the FICO Score requirement?
FICO score requirements will vary for each program. It's best to review the individual Program Descriptions to determine the minimum FICO score requirements for each program. You can find the details for FICO scores in the borrower requirements section of each Program Description.
- What programs are available?
CalHFA offers a variety of first mortgage and down payment assistance programs. You can find details on all of these programs under the Loan Programs tab.
- What is the interest rate?
Interest rates will vary depending on your financial circumstances, lender fees, and other factors. Interest rates can also change daily. We recommend that you check with a loan officer to receive an accurate rate quote.
- What are the income limits?
Income limits vary according to program and the county in which the property is being purchased. It's best to review the individual Program Descriptions to determine the income limit in your area. You can find the details for income limits in the borrower requirements section of each Program Description.
For more FAQs visit our knowledgebase.