Borrower Requirements

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 will need to meet credit, CalHFA income limits and loan requirements of the CalHFA-approved lender and the mortgage insurer.
  • You will need to occupy the property as your primary residence.
  • CalHFA borrowers must complete homebuyer education counseling and obtain a certificate of completion through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization.
  • CalHFA's down payment program MyHome requires 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.


Homebuyer Education Requirement

CalHFA firmly believes that homebuyer education and counseling is critical to the success and happiness of a homeowner, and requires homebuyer education and counseling for first-time homebuyers using a CalHFA program.

Who has to take this Homebuyer Education and Counseling course?

Only one occupying first-time borrower on each loan transaction.

How do I take this education and counseling course?

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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 home in the last three years, and who has not lived in a home owned by a spouse in the past three years. If any of these circumstances happened more than 3 years ago or you have never owned a home, you can apply for the benefits of CalHFA's first-time homebuyer programs. Exceptions may apply, so please talk to one of CalHFA's Preferred Loan Officers for more information.

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Are You a First-Generation Homebuyer?

Only applicable with our California Dream For All Shared Appreciation Loan Program

To qualify for the Shared Appreciation Loan, at least one borrower must meet the definition of a first-generation homebuyer:

  • A first-generation homebuyer is defined as a homebuyer who has not been on title, held an ownership interest or have been named on a mortgage to a home (on permanent foundation and owned land) in the United States in the last 7 years, AND;
  • To the best of the homebuyer’s knowledge whose parents (biological or adoptive) do not have any present ownership interest in a home in the United States or if deceased whose parents did not have any ownership interest at the time of death in a home in the United States, OR;
  • An individual who has at any time been placed in foster care or institutional care (type of out of home residential care for large groups of children by non-related caregivers).

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