Ventura County First Time Home Buyer Programs

If you are a first time home buyer in Ventura County, this page should contain pertinent information that you are looking for. Programs can come and go, or change from time to time, but we will do our best to keep this page as up-to-date as possible. If you have any questions about mortgage programs offered to first time home buyers in Ventura County, feel free to reach out to us at anytime. We have a full-time real estate agent who loves helping first time home buyers in Ventura County.  We can be reached by filling out one of the forms on this page, by emailing us at Info@DreamHomePS.com, or by calling us 805-250-8335.

In today’s post, we wanted to take a look at several loan programs available for first time home buyers. Although lending standards have loosened somewhat in the past few years, it can still be difficult for your average Ventura County resident to find affordable financing. Below we will describe some of the loan programs out there and give a few details on each one. Since all programs are subject to change and modification, make sure to check with your preferred lender on the specifics of any program you might be interested in. If you are not yet working with a lender, please feel free to contact us and we can refer you to some of the lenders that we prefer to do business with.

view of the ocean from a house we would pay cash for in ventura

FHA Loan

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Part of what the FHA does is insure mortgages so that lenders can offer potential borrowers more options than they normally would. FHA loans are set up so that the lender is protected from a loss in cases where the borrower defaults on the loan. FHA loans are probably one of the most popular loans for first time home buyers. Below are some of the specifics of an FHA loan.

Credit Score: With an FHA loan, it is possible to receive financing even if your credit score is less than ideal. In some cases, you can receive financing with a credit score as low as 500. In general, a lower credit score will mean higher down payment requirements and higher interest rates than those with a higher credit score. It is also possible to receive a loan if you have “nontraditional credit history or insufficient credit,” but you will need to talk to a lender to see if you qualify.

Down payments: Depending on your credit score, you can receive a loan with a down payment as low as 3.5%. The down payment can either be from your own cash or savings, a gift from a family member, or any government down payment assistance program.

Closing Costs: The FHA allows entities other than the buyer to pay closing costs, such as developers, lenders or the seller of the home. Borrowers should understand that if a lender is paying closing costs, it usually comes with a higher interest rate on the loan.

Private Mortgage Insurance: One of the downsides of a FHA loan is that you will have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This usually comes in two forms, the upfront premium and the annual premium. The upfront premium is paid when you get the loan and is 1.75% of the loan amount. The annual premium is paid monthly and depends on the loan amount, the loan-to-value (LTV), and the length of the loan.

USDA Rural Development Loan

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development offers the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program. This program is designed to provide low and moderate income households the opportunity to buy their primary residence. The loan is only applicable to eligible rural areas. Although most of the larger cities in Ventura County are not within the eligible areas, you will see that cities such as Ojai, Santa Paula, and Fillmore are eligible. If you are looking to buy in one of these areas, you should definitely look into applying for this loan. The USDA also has a disclaimer stating that the eligibility map on their website is not the final determination of whether a potential borrower lives in an eligible area, so it may not hurt to contact them even if you do not think that you are in a rural area.

As of the writing of this post, some of the specifics of this program include:

  • Minimum credit score with most lenders is 630
  • No down payment required
  • Lower interest rates than conventional loans in some cases
  • No PMI, although there is a different fee that is less than PMI would be.

Fannie Mae Standard 97% LTV

Fannie Mae offers different loans that provide up to 97% LTV. The main purpose of the standard 97% LTV is to finance creditworthy borrowers who just don’t have the resources for a larger down payment. Specifics of this loan include:

  • At least one borrower must be a first time home buyer
  • No income limits
  • Mortgage insurance required
  • All loans are fixed rate
  • Home must be a 1 unit property and be your primary residence
  • Cannot be used on manufactured homes

VA Loan

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a VA purchase loan that service members and veterans can use to purchase a home. We have previously written about several loan programs that the VA offers, but below are some features of the VA purchase loan. Make sure to refer to the VA Home Loans page for the most up-to-date information.

  • Available to both active duty and veterans
  • 100% financing can be provided
  • Interest rates are lower than conventional mortgages in most cases
  • No PMI is required
  • There is no minimum credit score requirement

CalHFA Loans

The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) assists low and moderate-income homebuyers with the purchase of a new home. CalHFA offers low interest rates to homebuyers who meet the income and sales price limits for Ventura County, or any other county in California.  Below are the different programs offered by CalHFA.

CalHFA Conventional Program

The CalHFA Conventional program is a first mortgage loan insured through private mortgage insurance on the conventional market. The interest rate on the CalHFA Conventional is fixed throughout the 30-year term and will vary depending on your financial circumstances, lender fees, and other factors. Specifics of this loan include:

  • You must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • You must complete homebuyer education through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization and obtain a certificate of completion
  • You must meet the income limits

In addition, the house you are buying must meet the following requirements:

  • The sale price of the home cannot exceed the price limit established for Ventura County
  • Be a single family home, one unit residence, or approved condo
  • The maximum first mortgage is $424,100. Loans between $424,100 and $635,150 can be approved with an additional fee.
  • Manufactured homes do not qualify for this program
  • The size of the property cannot exceed five acres

CalPLUS Conventional Program

The CalPLUS Conventional program is a first mortgage with a slightly higher interest rate than the standard CalHFA conventional program. The loan loan is fully amortized for a 30-year term and is combined with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP) for closing costs. The interest rate will vary depending on your financial circumstances, lender fees, and other factors. Specifics of this loan include:

  • You must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • You must complete homebuyer education through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization and obtain a certificate of completion
  • You must meet the income limits

In addition, the house you are buying must meet the following requirements:

  • The sale price of the home cannot exceed the price limit established for Ventura County
  • Be a single family home, one unit residence, or approved condo
  • The size of the property cannot exceed five acres

CalHFA FHA Program

The CalHFA FHA Program is a first mortgage loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The interest rate on the CalHFA FHA is fixed throughout the 30-year term and will vary depending on your financial circumstances, lender fees, and other factors. Specifics of this loan include:

  • You must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • You must complete homebuyer education through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization and obtain a certificate of completion
  • You must meet the income limits

In addition, the house you are buying must meet the following requirements:

  • The sale price of the home cannot exceed the price limit established for Ventura County
  • Be a single family home, one unit residence, or approved condo
  • Manufactured homes must be on a permanent foundation
  • The size of the property cannot exceed five acres

CalPLUS FHA Program

The CalPLUS FHA Program is a first mortgage with a slightly higher interest rate than the standard CalHFA FHA Program. The loan loan is fully amortized for a 30-year term and is combined with the CalHFA Zero Interest Program (ZIP) for closing costs. The interest rate will vary depending on your financial circumstances, lender fees, and other factors. Specifics of this loan include:

  • You must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • You must complete homebuyer education through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization and obtain a certificate of completion
  • You must meet the income limits

In addition, the house you are buying must meet the following requirements:

  • The sale price of the home cannot exceed the price limit established for Ventura County
  • Be a single family home, one unit residence, or approved condo
  • Manufactured homes must be on a permanent foundation
  • The size of the property cannot exceed five acres

Cal-EEM + Grant Program

The Cal-EEM + Grant Program combines an FHA-insured Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) first mortgage loan with an additional Cal-EEM Grant. Under the EEM program, FHA Insures a borrower’s mortgage used to purchase or refinance a primary residence.  The interest rate on the Cal-EEM is fixed throughout the 30-year term and will vary depending on your financial circumstances, lender fees, and other factors. Specifics of this loan include:

  • You must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • You must complete homebuyer education through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization and obtain a certificate of completion
  • You must meet the income limits

In addition, the house you are buying must meet the following requirements:

  • The sale price of the home cannot exceed the price limit established for Ventura County
  • Be a single family home, one unit residence, or approved condo
  • Manufactured homes must be on a permanent foundation
  • The size of the property cannot exceed five acres
  • Must be subject to a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) report
  • Must follow FHA EEM guidelines

CalHFA VA Program

The CalHFA VA Program is a VA-insured loan featuring a CalHFA fixed interest rate first mortgage. The loan loan is fully amortized for a 30-year term and the interest rate will vary depending on your financial circumstances, lender fees, and other factors. Specifics of this loan include:

  • You must occupy the property as your primary residence
  • You must complete homebuyer education through an eligible homebuyer counseling organization and obtain a certificate of completion
  • You must meet the income limits
  • You must present a valid certificate of eligibility per VA guidelines.

In addition, the house you are buying must meet the following requirements:

  • The sale price of the home cannot exceed the price limit established for Ventura County
  • Be a single family home, one unit residence, or approved condo
  • Manufactured homes do not qualify for this program
  • The size of the property cannot exceed five acres

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