5 First Time Home Buyer Programs in California

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in California – Overview

While it may appear daunting, buying and owning your first house is a realistic aim.

It’s even more accessible thanks to a mortgage program designed exclusively for first-time homebuyers. Both the federal government and the state of California have many programs available.

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in California – Programs Available

People often assume that if you want to buy a home in one of the more affluent states like California, you would need to save tens of thousands of dollars.

Many of you also believe that having a good credit history is essential. However, this is not always the case. The programs listed below are some of the best suited to assist you in purchasing your dream house.

1. Cal HFA Program

This program is a first mortgage loan with private insurance on the conventional market. These loans provide a fixed-rate mortgage for 30 years.

The program uses Fannie Mae’s HomeReady underwriting rules, which allow for smaller down payments and closing expenses.

Interest rates will vary according to the awardee’s financial situation, lender costs, and other considerations.

Interest rates might also fluctuate daily. To get an exact rate quotation for this program, we recommend speaking with a CalHFA-approved loan officer.

CalHFA does not make loans to individuals. To qualify clients and make all mortgage loans, CalHFA works with and through approved lenders.

Depending on the lender and the program, you may be charged varying costs.

For more information, you can visit calhfa.ca.gov.

2. CalPlus FHA Program

CalPLUS FHA is an FHA-insured first mortgage with a slightly higher 30-year fixed interest rate than our standard FHA program. Also, when paired with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP) for closing expenses.

The CalPlus FHA Program, like the loan mentioned above, has a maximum 30-year duration.

CalPlus HFA also provides borrowers access to conventional and government-insured lending programs. To assist first-time buyers in obtaining fixed-rate loans, it also offers help rolling in a down payment and closing costs.

Furthermore, applicants with income less than or equal to the HomeReady 80 percent AMI LI income restriction must have a minimum credit score of 660.

For more information, you can visit calhfa.ca.gov.

3. National Homebuyers Funds

The National Homebuyers Fund is a public benefit corporation that operates on a non-profit basis. It offers up to 5% off a home’s buying price to first-time and repeat home buyers.

First-time buyers with a conventional FHA, VA, or USDA loan can participate in the program, which forgives debt five years after closing.

Homebuyers can benefit from the National Homebuyers Fund, and they must work through an approved lender to access these funds—call (916) 444-2615 for a list of collaborating lenders.

Or you can visit nhfloan.org for information.

4. Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program

USDA home loans offer no down payment options and are designed to help low- to moderate-income individuals purchase homes in rural and suburban areas.

The US Department of Agro backs USDA loans, much as the Department of Veterans Affairs backs VA loans for qualifying persons such as veterans and their families.

USDA loan guarantees allow lenders to offer competitive interest rates to eligible borrowers. If you qualify, you may purchase a home with no money down, but you’ll still have to pay closing expenses.

The USDA provides three types of mortgages:

  • USDA Direct Loans are offered to low- and very low-income applicants to buy, build, rehabilitate, improve, or relocate a dwelling in an eligible rural area, with interest rates based on the borrower’s ability to pay.
  • USDA Loan Guarantees: Participating institutions issue these loans, which feature low interest rates and require no down payment.
  • USDA House Improvement Loans: These loans are granted to qualifying homeowners for buying a new home, repairs, or renovations.

For more information, visit rd.usda.gov.


Many grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance are available to first-time home buyers, making purchasing a house easier.

First-time buyers can receive aid with down payments, closing expenses, tax credits, and education. If you fulfill specific income requirements, you may be eligible for local, state, or federal government support.

Other programs are available for charities, NGOs, and employers. These programs differ by area and have information available online.

See Also

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Florida

First-Time Home Buyer Programs in Ohio

Housing Grants in California

Home Improvement Grants in Minnesota

Current Version
April 5, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.
October 18, 2023
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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