Are You Leaving Money On The Table

Are You Leaving Money On The Table

Buying a home may seem like a huge task, especially when faced with a few too many of life’s inevitable realities. One of these realities happens to be coming up with the down payment for a home. 

Many homebuyers are not aware of the hundreds of millions of dollars that are available across the U.S. to help them get over this obstacle.

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This information applies to a wide range of people, so please feel free to share with friends or family that may be considering buying a home now or in the future.

The California Housing Finance Agency(CALHFA) & California Homebuyer’s Downpayment Assistance Program(CHDAP) provide help in many areas including (but not limited to)

➫Down payment

➫Closing costs


➫Tax credits

➫Affordable 1st mortgages (CALHFA)

➫Employers programs(ei.Vets, active military, Nurses, Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, etc.)

…and more

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There are about 4,000 programs available across the U.S., 420 of them are available in California alone, 364 of these are funded and/or administered by a city or local non-profit foundation. There are over 240 unique housing finance agencies and program administrators. Sixty nine percent of this money is available today. Of the programs in California, 311 of them help with down payment and/or closing costs. Forty of them are mortgage credit certificate or tax credit program. And about 63 of them are employer-sponsored program. 

The average amount of assistance in California is $51,000. And a quarter of this homebuyers program DO NOT have a first time homebuyer requirement. 

As we all know, it is very expensive to rent in California, making it difficult for low income to moderate income family to save for down payment and closing costs. 

CALHFA recognize this and has established ways to help homebuyers without borrowing money from other sources or taking money out of their savings, 401K, etc. 

CALHFA is a state agency and is not a lender. They do not work with borrowers directly but they have a list of approved lenders here:

Please note that these programs requires:

➫Families with low to moderate income to have a minimum credit score of 640. 

➫A homebuyer education.

➫They have a specific property eligibility and sales price limit that can be found by zip or county. 

➫It has to be a single family or condominium in the entire state of California. 

➫Owner occupied only. 

➫And they do require a 1 year home warranty.

I’m including some notable information about a few of these programs below.  

            CalHFA down payment programs

CalPLUS Program

Available to first time and non first-time homebuyers. The Conventional comes up to 97% LTV or 96.5% LTV for FHA.

It includes a down payment assistance called ZIP(Zero Interest Program) which is zero interest and zero payments. Its a “silent second” which doesn't have to be paid back until the home is sold or at the end of 30 years, whichever comes first.

If you're doing Conventional, the ZIP is 3% of the loan amount. And if you're doing FHA, its 3.5%.

However, if you are a first-time homebuyer, you get $6,500 on top of the 3% that you can use to pay for the closing cost or an addition to the downpayment.

CalPLUS can also be layered with other programs like Cal-EEM and/or Grant Program. FHA will add 5% of the loan amount to do an energy efficient upgrades. And an additional 4% on top of that, in a form of a grant. If you live in the home for 3 years, you don't have to pay that money back.

Extra Credit Teachers Program

This program is designed for teachers and staff that are in high priority schools. This program can go in any lien position and can be layered with CalPLUS, ZIP and the $6500 credit. The cool thing about this program is that if you stay in a high priority school for 3 years, the interest is forgiven.


If you're not a teacher and you don't work in a school, this would be an alternative. It’s a similar program for people who work outside the education system. CHDAP has been around since the year 2000. This downpayment assistance program is 3% of the sales price or appraised value. It does have simple interest but it is also deferred until you sell or refinance the home (or when the 30 years is up). It can go in any lien position and can be layered with a non-CalHFA first mortgage like VA or USDA loan.

MCC(Mortgage Credit Certificate)

When you're a homebuyer you get to write off your mortgage insurance. This is not a loan but a dollar per dollar tax certificate deduction that the borrowers can get when filing taxes. CalHFA has a 20% tax credit rate for the entire state of California and can be combined with all the CalHFA program. It can be used for the first 10 years of a buyer’s first mortgage. 

Below is a sample chart for a typical:  

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The down payment resource directory is a tool that was built in partnership with the California Association of Realtors to help homebuyers overcome the struggle of coming up with the initial money necessary to secure a home. Visit the CalHFA website before you purchase a home to see what type of programs are available for the area you're looking in. Or ask your favorite agent about your next step.

Cecil Austria Headshot
Phone: 760-305-2273
Dated: October 3rd 2015
Views: 650
About Cecil: Cecil Austria and Solutions Real Estate are Carlsbad-based realty, serving greater San Diego Cou...

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