Mortgage in California

California is home to some of the most important economic hubs in the United States. The state would rank fifth in the world in terms of GDP if it were a sovereign nation. This single state alone represents 14.6% of the entire US economy. Given the economic outlook, many people want to move to the Golden State for its abundance of prosperous careers. Our California mortgage calculator will help you determine what you can afford in a notoriously expensive state.

The California Dream is something that many people have for a good reason. If you're looking to move, here's what you need to know about mortgages in the Golden State.

California Mortgage Calculator: You Have Plenty of Options

California is one of the rare states that has more than three mortgage options. Let's break them down.

  • California conventional mortgage: Most borrowers will receive a traditional loan in California. However, conventional mortgages are tricky depending on where you want to be due to the high housing costs. The maximum conforming loan (which has less stringent requirements) is approximately $800,000. If you're looking to move to the Bay Area, for example, that won't go very far. If you can find a conforming loan, you can get a mortgage with as little as 5% down, a 620 credit score, and a debt-to-income ratio of under 43%. However, if you need to get a jumbo loan, expect to need multiple months of mortgage payments in reserve plus 20% down and a much higher credit score.
  • California FHA mortgage: While you can receive FHA loans in California, the property price must be below $822,735, meaning that some of the hottest markets in the Bay Area and Los Angeles are ineligible. However, FHA loans are perfect for many of the smaller suburbs and cities around these areas. You can get an FHA loan for as little as 3.5% down (580+ credit score) or 10% down (500+ credit score).
  • California VA mortgage: VA loans are fantastic for California buyers in large part because they do not require a down payment. However, you must have a stellar credit score to get a jumbo VA mortgage with 0% down. If your score is around 640, for example, you might need 10% down. VA loans do not require any private mortgage insurance.
  • CalHFA mortgage: Unique to California is the CalHFA mortgage, a conventional, FHA, or VA loan backed by the California Housing Finance Agency . It gives you the option to add down payment and closing cost assistance into your mortgage. There are some income limitations to apply.

Once you familiarize yourself with the different types of mortgages available, you can start plugging in some numbers into our California mortgage calculator.

First-Time Homebuyers in California

First-time homebuyers will have two assistance programs available to them (in addition to the CalHFA mortgage above).

MyHome Assistance Program

This program provides a junior loan of up to 3.5% of the purchase or appraised price, to a maximum of $10,000.

Eligibility Criteria: You must occupy the residence as your primary home. You must meet some income limits. Finally, you must complete a homebuyer education counseling class.

Cal-EEM + GRANT Loan Program

California encourages energy efficiency whenever possible. This loan combines an energy-efficient mortgage (EEM) with a grant that allows for energy efficient improvements above the FHA maximum. The grant is for up to 4% of the mortgage amount.

Eligibility Criteria: Borrowers must be citizens, nationals of the US, or a permanent resident. They must complete a homebuyer education course, and the owner must intend to live in the home as a primary residence. Additionally, the property price cannot exceed CalHFA levels.

California Mortgage Calculator: See How You Can Afford the California Dream

Are you dreaming of California? Plug some numbers into our California mortgage calculator and see how much you'll pay for a home in the Golden State!

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