Santa Clara Co. Realtors Foundation $10,000 First Time Home Buyer Grant – Down Payment Assistance Program

If you’re a first-time homebuyer in Santa Clara County, you may be eligible for the county’s down payment assistance program. This program offers $10,000 to help with the down payment and closing costs on a new home for first-time home buyers. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how the program works and who is eligible for the grant.

What is the Down Payment Assistance Program?

The Down Payment Assistance Program is a grant offered by the Santa Clara County Realtors Foundation designed to help first-time homebuyers with their initial down payment for a Single Family Residence, Townhouse, or Condominium within Santa Clara County.

The program offers up to $10,000 in assistance, which can be used towards the down payment, closing costs, or both. There are no minimum credit score requirements. You can use any of the various mortgage loan options available to first-time buyers:

  • FHA Loan
  • VA Loan
  • USDA Loan
  • Conventional Mortgage

The grant is available to anyone who meets the following criteria:

  • Must be a first-time homebuyer or a buyer who has not owned a home in the past three years.
  • Must be under contract on the purchase of a home
  • Must be income eligible. The maximum income for a household of four is determined by the number of people living in the household and ranges between $117,950 for a 1 person household, and up to $222,400 for a family of 8.
  • Must be purchasing the home as your primary residence- meaning you can’t use the grant to purchase an investment property or 2nd home.

What Makes this Down Payment Assistance program different from other First Time Home Buyer Grants

There are many down payment assistance programs available to help buyers achieve their dream of homeownership. However, most of these programs require repayment, often with interest. This first-time home buyer grant is different from similar programs.

This down payment assistance program provides a grant that does not need to be repaid. There are no payments or liens attached unlike other first-time buyer programs like the CALHFA down payment assistance program which attach a second mortgage to your home in the amount of the down payment assistance that gets repaid when you sell or refinance the home.

Combining First Time Home Buyer Grants with other Down Payment Assistance programs

Combining the grant with other loan programs (like a VA loan) designed to provide financial help to eligible buyers may be a great way to get your foot in the door toward a home purchase for the first time by reducing a majority if not all of the upfront costs.

Here’s an example of what this could look like:

Purchase Price: $800,000

Down payment: $40,000 (5% of the home’s purchase price)

First Time Home Buyer Grant: -$10,000

CalHFA MyHome Assistance Program: -$24,000

Down payment from the buyer: $6,000 + closing costs
(there are also closing cost assistance options available)

There are many other local resources available depending on your situation. Some of other programs available to assist with buying your first home:

  • Equity Share grant by Housing Trust Silicon Valley
  • Good Neighbor Next Door Program
  • National Homebuyers Fund
  • CalHFA 10% Equity Builder Forgivable Loan
  • CalHFA ZIP closing cost assistance (used with CalHFA’s first mortgage program)
  • Many Cities & Counties offer various state or local government programs
  • Mortgage Credit Certificates (dollar-for-dollar savings on your income tax in the form of tax credits)

Many of these housing grants have different program requirements:

  • A majority of these programs have income limits
  • Some will allow moderate income
  • Different minimum credit score requirements
  • Some down payment assistance programs limit the purchase price of the home you can buy
  • Expanded income for larger low-income families
  • Some only work with certain mortgage loans
  • Home buyers need to complete a first time home buyer education course (usually online)
  • Other factors play a role such as debt-to-income ratios & whether you can have the seller provide closing cost assistance in the form of a seller credit. Some mortgage lenders also may be able to help cover closing costs in the form of a lender credit.

Which first time home is right for you?

Depending on various factors such as your income, credit score, the amount of funds you have saved for the down payment and closing costs as well as other details may affect the different types of first time programs available to you. It’s important to have a discussion with your loan officer regarding which program is right for you.

The monthly payments are usually affected depending on the program since typically each program will offer different interest rates depending on how much of your upfront costs you need assistance with.

Low down payment Options- Government Programs (backed by the federal government)

Often times combining a first-time home buyer grant with a low down payment home loan such as FHA loans (federal housing administration loans are backed by the housing and urban development department) may eliminate the need for deferred payment loans (a lot of programs are this).

Service members that serve/served in the U.S. military also have additional mortgage options such as VA loans (guaranteed by Veterans Affairs, and open to all home buyers) which feature a lower interest rate and options for 0 down payments.

Finally, the USDA loan (guaranteed by the US Department of Agriculture) also offers options for 0 down payments (no need to be a first-time home buyer)

Mortgage Lenders & First Time Home Buyer Programs

Its important to keep in mind that not all mortgage lenders offer downpayment assistance or closing cost assistance programs.

If you are in need of a lender that specializes in first-time home buyer programs to have your down payment and or closing costs covered, you can always book an appointment directly on our calendar to find out what down payment assistance options you qualify for.

You can also submit a request below and we’ll reach out within 24 hours:

    How Do I Apply?

    If you meet the above criteria, you can apply for the Down Payment Assistance Program by completing an online application here.


    The Santa Clara County Down Payment Assistance Program is a great way for first-time homebuyers to get help with their down payment and closing costs. If you’re thinking about buying a home in Santa Clara County, be sure to check out this program!

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