The best down payment assistance program in California

If you’re a first-time homebuyer in California and you’re looking for down payment assistance, then you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best first-time homebuyer down payment assistance program available this year. We’ll also explore a controversial opinion on how you can still get down payment assistance even if you don’t qualify for this particular program.

Dream For All Shared Appreciation Loan Program

It is provided by the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). This program offers a loan to first-time homebuyers, giving them up to 20% of the purchase price with a cap of $150,000 to buy a home in California. When you sell the home, you’ll need to pay back the assistance loan and share 20% of the equity you gained with the state of California. This is why it’s called the shared appreciation loan program.


Who is eligible for this program.

All applicants must be first-time homebuyers, and at least one of the applicants must be a first-generation buyer, meaning they are the first in their family to own a home. The household income of all applicants combined cannot exceed $155,000 per year. Additionally, you must qualify for a CalHFA conventional loan to pair with the down payment loan.

If you find that you don’t meet the requirements for this assistance program, don’t worry. There are other assistance programs available in Southern California that may have less stringent requirements. You can book some time with me to discuss your options and I can walk you through the alternatives: book a call.

Eligible properties

Now, let’s talk about the properties that are eligible for the Dream For All Shared Appreciation Loan Program. The property must be your primary residence, meaning it cannot be an investment property. It can be a single-family home, condo, or townhome. However, duplexes, triplexes, and properties with four units or more do not qualify.

How to apply

If you meet all the requirements and you’re ready to apply for the program, here’s what you need to do. The first step is to get pre-approved for a conventional loan with an approved lender. The lender will then help you register for the assistance program when the portal opens on April 3, 2024. Additionally, you’ll need to take a one-hour homebuyer education course through CalHFA. Winners for the program will be selected on a lottery basis.

But what if you don’t win the lottery?

Here’s where the controversial opinion comes in. The premise of this program is simple: you receive money to buy a home that you otherwise wouldn’t have, and when you sell the home, the state of California shares in the profit. Essentially, the state becomes your investment partner in real estate.

If you don’t meet the requirements or don’t win the lottery, consider taking this model to someone in your sphere, such as a family member or a like-minded individual who is willing to invest with you in real estate. They can lend you a certain amount of money to get started on your first home, even if it’s not the full 20% down payment. Remember, first-time homebuyers can purchase a home with as little as 3% down payment. When you sell the home, you can simply return their initial investment plus an agreed upon percentage of the profit.

I understand that this idea may be met with resistance, as many of us feel uncomfortable asking for help. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not asking for help, but offering an investment opportunity in a safe asset like real estate. If the state of California sees real estate as a good investment, why wouldn’t someone in your sphere? It’s worth considering and discussing with potential investors.

Bottom Line

The Dream For All Shared Appreciation Loan Program is a great option for first-time homebuyers in California who need down payment assistance. It provides up to 20% of the purchase price, with a cap of $150,000, to help you buy a home. However, it’s important to understand the requirements and the equity sharing aspect of the program. If you don’t meet the requirements or don’t win the lottery, there are other assistance programs available that may have less stringent requirements. And if all else fails, consider approaching someone in your sphere who may be willing to invest with you in real estate.

Remember, homeownership is within reach, and there are options available to help you achieve your dream.


I hosted a webinar with a deep dive on this program. Register HERE and I’ll send you a guide to this program plus the webinar recording

Book time with me: here

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(all data current as of 5/23/2024)

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