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California Dream Act

Understanding the California Dream Program: A Comprehensive Guide for Buyers

If you’re considering buying a home in California, the California Dream Program could be the key to making your dream a reality. This program offers significant financial assistance to eligible homebuyers, making homeownership more accessible and affordable. In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the California Dream Program, from eligibility requirements to benefits and application tips.

What is the California Dream Program?

The California Dream Program, also known as the California Dream for All Shared Appreciation Loan, is an initiative designed to help first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing cost assistance. The program provides a loan that covers up to 20% of the home’s purchase price, making it easier for buyers to secure a mortgage and reduce their monthly payments.

Key Benefits of the California Dream Program

  1. Substantial Down Payment Assistance: The program offers loans covering up to 20% of the purchase price, significantly reducing the amount of money needed upfront.
  2. Lower Monthly Payments: By reducing the loan principal with a substantial down payment, monthly mortgage payments become more affordable.
  3. No Interest on Assistance Loan: The assistance loan does not accrue interest, and repayment is deferred until the home is sold, refinanced, or the mortgage is paid off.
  4. Increased Buying Power: With additional funds available for a down payment, buyers can potentially afford a more expensive home.
  5. Support for First-Time Homebuyers: Tailored specifically for first-time buyers, the program aims to make homeownership more accessible for those entering the market for the first time.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the California Dream Program, buyers must meet certain criteria:

  • First-Time Homebuyer Status: Applicants must not have owned a home in the last three years.
  • Income Limits: Household income must fall within the program’s limits, which vary by county and household size.
  • Primary Residence: The home purchased must be used as the buyer’s primary residence.
  • Creditworthiness: Buyers must meet specific credit score requirements and demonstrate financial stability.
  • Homebuyer Education: Completion of a homebuyer education course is often required to ensure buyers are prepared for homeownership.

How to Apply for the California Dream Program

  1. Research and Prepare: Gather necessary documents, including proof of income, credit reports, and personal identification. Familiarize yourself with the program’s requirements and benefits.
  2. Find a Participating Lender: Not all lenders offer the California Dream Program. Contact the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) or visit their website to find an approved lender.
  3. Complete Homebuyer Education: Enroll in and complete a homebuyer education course if required. This step is crucial for understanding the responsibilities and challenges of homeownership.
  4. Submit Your Application: Work with your chosen lender to complete and submit your application. Provide all necessary documentation and follow up promptly with any additional information requested.
  5. Loan Approval and Home Purchase: Upon approval, your lender will work with you to finalize the loan and complete the home purchase process. Ensure you understand the terms of the assistance loan and your repayment obligations.

Tips for a Successful Application

  • Maintain Good Credit: A strong credit score enhances your chances of approval and may lead to better mortgage terms.
  • Save for Additional Costs: While the program helps with down payments, be prepared for other costs such as inspections, appraisals, and moving expenses.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly check the CalHFA website or contact their representatives for updates on program changes or new opportunities.
  • Work with Professionals: Collaborate with a real estate agent and a lender experienced with the California Dream Program to navigate the process smoothly.


The California Dream Program is a powerful resource for first-time homebuyers looking to enter the California housing market. By providing substantial down payment assistance and favorable loan terms, the program makes homeownership more attainable. If you meet the eligibility requirements and are ready to embark on the journey of buying a home, the California Dream Program could be your ticket to turning your homeownership dreams into reality.

For more detailed information and to begin your application process, visit the CalHFA website. Happy home hunting!

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