Down Payment Assistance Programs for Healthcare Workers

Down Payment Assistance Programs For Healthcare Workers

Buying a home while also being a healthcare worker can be difficult, especially for those who want to buy a home in California. The added stress of managing your finances to fund your down payment can make a home loan seem incredibly daunting. Luckily there are some excellent Down Payment Assistance programs in California (comprised of forgivable loans as well as grant programs). In California, there are three popular Down Payment Assistance programs.

  • CalHFA
  • Chenoa
  • GFSA Platinum

CalHFA Program

The CalHFA Equity Builder Loan is a 2nd loan that gifts first-time homebuyers in California, up to 10% of their home’s value ($30k – $50k+). These funds can be used for the down payment, closing costs, or both so buyers can close with as little as $0 out of pocket.

The 2nd loan has no payments, no interest, and has 20% of the balance forgiven each year until it’s completely forgiven after 5 years.

Program Benefits
  • 10% of the purchase price ($50k+) is gifted from the state of California!
  • $0 payments, 0% rate, and fully forgiven after 5 years
  •  Make your first home affordable
  • Can be combined with Conventional and FHA loans for maximum flexibility
Program Criteria

The CalHFA loan program offers a great solution for homebuyers in California. CalHFA is available for FHA or Conventional loan types and is limited to first-time homebuyers in California. However, the way a first-time homebuyer is defined gives a little bit of flexibility. According to guidelines, a first-time homebuyer is defined as not having had ownership/title to any home in the past 3 years.

Homebuyers also should be aware of additional requirements. The minimum credit score for this program is 640. The maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is 45-50%, depending on credit score. These are detailed specifics that homebuyers early in the process may not know, however, by speaking with a mortgage lender, they can look at your specific situation and go into depth about your specific financials.

Those looking to use the CalHFA program are also required to complete homebuyer education counseling through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization.

Lastly for the CalHFA Forgivable Equity Builder Loan, it’s important to note that there are income limits for this program, meaning your annual income must be less than 80% of the area median income (AMI). You can look up the median income in your area using this tool from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Chenoa Program

The Chenoa Fund is a national down payment assistance program that is funded by the CBC Mortgage Agency (CBCMA), which is a federally chartered government agency.

Chenoa works by offering buyers a 2nd loan to cover their down payment and closing costs.

The 2nd loan has two options: a 10-year repayable loan at a fixed interest rate 2% above the first loan, or a 30-year forgivable loan with no interest.

Chenoa offers up to 5% of the home purchase price to help provide down payment/ closing cost assistance for an FHA loan

Program Criteria

The Chenoa Fund down payment assistance program is available for FHA loans and has less rigid guidelines compared to CalHFA. There are no first-time home buyer requirements, meaning if you currently own a home, or have owned a home in recent years, you are still eligible for this program.

The minimum credit score for this program is 640, similar to CalHFA, and the maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is 50%. The Chenoa down payment assistance program also does not have any income limits, so those who may have higher than average incomes, are still eligible.

GSFA Platinum Program

The GSFA Platinum program offers up to 5.5% of the loan amount to cover the down payment and closing costs in the form of a 15-year 2nd loan at a fixed-rate of 2% above the first mortgage loan

An added benefit to this down payment loan program is that there are options for forgivable gifts with “select” professions

Program Criteria

The GSFA Platinum Program is available for FHA and Conventional loans. There are no first-time home buyer requirements, and the minimum credit score for this program is 640. The maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is 50%, and similarly to the CalHFA program, there are moderate income requirements.

Additional Down Payment Assistance Programs:

Local governments may also have additional Down Payment Assistance Programs available for specific cities and counties. Always check with your local lender to see if there are additional, unique programs that you could be eligible for.

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