One of the main attractions when moving or buying a home as a first-time buyer in California is the sheer size of the state. The economy in Cali is larger than many small countries with abundant employers filling the local job market with career opportunities in many different sectors. As a result, California sees many transplants from the Midwest, the East Coast, and the Pacific Northwest looking for a fresh start or better options than were available in their home state.

Getting Help As A First Time Home Buyer In CA

The great weather is ideal for anyone who enjoy hot or warm weather pretty much all year round and access to many beaches to people watch, top up the tan or play some water sports. For people who love the sun, hate cold weather or want to keep away from rainy weather like up in Seattle, California has a lot going for it. Any for anyone who loves to shop. Beverly Hills is just a drive away…

California is one of the most expensive states to live in with home prices higher than the median in the country. There are many affluent neighborhoods, which if you can afford to live in one of them is usually better than living in a less salubrious one which often will have a higher crime rate. Fortunately, with California, the state is so huge that there is a tremendous amount of choice of where you wish to live and buy property while still having good access to employers, local schools, and other amenities.

CA First Time Buyers: Current Programs & Loan Pre Approval

There are a lot of useful mortgage programs designed to help buyers afford their purchase, here’s the most popular programs available in California.

Loan Program Name
Loan Program Requirements
Downpayment Requirements
Program Limiations
Loan Program Benefits
USDAProperty must be located in an eligible area. Check property eligibility.100% financing and 0% down paymentIncome restrictions do apply. These are determined by county.100% financing and 0% down payment
HomeReady Program - Purchase or Limited cash-out rate and term refinance.1.) Home Ownership education is required and certificate must be retained in the mortgage file.
2.) Occupancy is 1-4 units Principal Residence.
1.) Standard debt to income is 45%, in certain cases up to 50%.
2.) Occupant may not have an ownership interest in any other property at the time of closing.
1.) Non -Occupant borrowers are permitted at max 95% LTV,income can be considered as part of qualifying income. No property limitation on ownership of other property for the non-occupant borrower.
2.) Loan to Value up to 97%.
1.) NO First Time home-buyer requirement.
2.) Adjustable rate and Fixed rate options available.
3.) No Income Limits in low-income census tracts.
4.) 100% AMI (area medium income) census tracts or designated disaster areas
5.) 80% of AMI in other tracts. Use this link to see your eligible AMI. -
100% GIFT FOR DOWN PAYMENTCan be Conventional or FHA LoanGift can come from a family member, church, employer, etc..
FHA - The most common loan for a first time home buyer. FHA Requires a minumum 3.5% down payment1.) Minimum FICO score of 620. 2.) 640 plus credit score is ideal. If you are below 640 then additional terms must be met and are considered on a case by case basis.3.5% down payment required
Check single family, condo, and 2-4 unit property loan limits1.) Flexible underwriting guidelines
2.) The whole down payment can be from a gift
3.) The seller can pay your closing costs up to 6%
4.) Non Occupant Co signers are allowed


Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval

While you start looking at programs here’s some helpful resources for first time buyers: