CalHFA FHA Program

The CalHFA FHA offers financing up to 96.5% of the purchase price or appraised value whichever is less. To make owning your first home more affordable, down payment and closing cost assistance may be combined with the CalHFA FHA program.


Am I eligible to apply for this program?
Review the guidelines below for both “Borrower” and “Property” Requirements to determine if you may be eligible to apply for the CalHFA FHA program.

Borrower Requirements

General borrower requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other qualified alien.
  • You will need to meet credit, income and loan requirements of the lender, insurer, master servicer & CalHFA.
  • You will need to live in the home you are purchasing for the entire term of the loan, or until the home is sold or refinanced.
  • You must be a first-time homebuyer, which is defined as someone who has not owned and occupied a home in the past three years.
  • Exceptions to this rule are if you are purchasing a home in a targeted area or if you are a veteran.
  • CalHFA borrowers must complete homebuyer education counseling and obtain a certificate of completion through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization. CalHFA will accept a homebuyer’s education counseling certificate of completion issued through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac identified counseling administration agencies, mortgage insurance companies, or HUD-approved homebuyer counselors. CalHFA accepts education completion via online, face-to-face, or phone.

CalHFA FHA program-specific borrower requirements:

  • Your income must be less than the allowable CalHFA FHA income limits in the county in which you are purchasing a home
  • The CalHFA FHA program requires a minimum 620 FICO score.
  • There is a maximum of four co-borrowers allowed.
  • All borrowers must be first-time homebuyers.
  • All borrowers must live in the home as their primary residence.
  • Co-signers are allowed, but can not occupy the home.


Property Requirements

General property requirements:

  • The sales price of the home must be less than the allowable sales price limits in the county in which you are purchasing a home.
  • The home must be newly constructed or existing (previously owned).
  • There is a five acre maximum on the size of the property.
  • The home must be a single family residence (detached).
  • The home can be a detached unit within a planned unit development (PUD).
  • The home can be a condominium or attached unit in a PUD. (Check with lender for eligible condominiums.)

CalHFA FHA Program-specific property requirements:

  • The loan amount is limited to $417,000 per FHA Guidelines – this means that the sales price of your home can be $450,000 but you will need to contribute the amount above $417,000 which in this example would be $33,000.
  • Manufactured housing is not allowed.
  • Leaseholds/Land Trusts and Co-ops are not allowed.
  • Properties sold at auction by the builder, developer or construction lender are not allowed.


Can I use down payment assistance with this program?
Yes, you can use CalHFA or non-CalHFA down payment assistance programs with this CalHFA FHA program.
Allowable CalHFA down payment assistance programs:

  • California Homebuyer’s Downpayment Assistance Program (CHDAP) – The CHDAP can be used for closing cost or down payment assistance. A minimum contribution of 1% of the sales price or $1,000 is required from the borrowers’ own funds.  The contribution can be applied towards down payment and/or closing costs.
  • School Facility Fee Down Payment Assistance Program (SFF) – The SFF is a conditional grant program that provides down payment and/or closing cost assistance to buyers of newly constructed homes throughout California. The amount is determined and calculated by the fee that the builder paid when building the home.

Allowable non-CalHFA down payment assistance programs:

  • Affordable Housing Partnership Program (AHPP) – Eligible locality programs can be used for closing cost or down payment assistance as per individual requirements. Select programs from AHPP partners which are designated on the AHPP list as “CalHFA MBS Eligible”. (See the AHPP program description for details on adding additional programs)
  • To be eligible for the reduced interest rate, locality program(s) must provide down payment and/or closing cost assistance. Program(s) must also be CalHFA MBS eligible on the CalHFA-approved AHPP list

Please note that when using down payment assistance programs, you may be required to meet a different set of borrower & property requirements that are specific to the down payment program. If the requirements of the first loan and the subordinate loan are conflicting, the more restrictive requirements would be used in determining eligibility. Visit the down payment assistance program’s guide for its specific requirements.


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 Home Loan Guidance Counselor to receive an accurate rate quote for this program.

CalHFA does not lend money directly to consumers. CalHFA works through and uses approved private lenders to qualify consumers and to make all mortgage loans. CalHFA purchases closed loans that meet CalHFA’s requirements. The fees consumers pay could be different depending on the lender and the program.


Because CalHFA firmly believes that homebuyer education is critical to your success and happiness as a homeowner, homebuyer education is required on all first-time homebuyer programs that CalHFA offers. We will accept homebuyer education counseling certificates online, in-person, or by phone from the following providers:


How do I apply for this loan program?

Since CalHFA is not a direct lender.  Please ask IHL Home Loan Guidance Counselor in regarding how to apply.

What documents should I have ready when contacting a Counselor?
When initially contacting a counselor, you may want to have this list of documents and information available to help answer questions that they will ask you:

  • Pay stubs
  • Bank statements
  • Employment history
  • Previous tax returns