My First Home Program


The City is excited to announce a $3.0 million expansion of its down payment assistance program, now called My First Home, to further assist first-time homebuyers achieve the dream of homeownership within Santa Ana.

The My First Home Program will offer down payment assistance loans to first-time home buyers to aid in the purchase of a home within the City of Santa Ana. Funds will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis. A first-time home buyer may be eligible to borrow up to $120,000 with 0% interest rate.


Workshops Now Available!

Our next workshop is on  April 4, 2024 at the Roosevelt Walker Community Center. Please see our workshops page to register.

Application and Approval Process

  1. Prospective homebuyer completes a required HUD approved 8-hour homebuyer class. Course information below.
  2. Homebuyer chooses a local lender and receives pre-qualification for a First Mortgage
  3. Homebuyer signs a Purchase Contract and opens escrow.
  4. Homebuyer and/or Lender provides a complete My First Home Program Applicant Packet to the City of Santa Ana Housing Division for review and approval with all required documents and forms. All applications must contain the documents indicated in the attached Document Checklist which includes the following:
    • Purchase Contract
    • 1003 Application
    • Loan Approval letter with terms
    • DU Summary
    • Copy of the Credit report
    • Estimated Closing Statement
    • Copy of Appraisal and Home Inspection to be provided when available
    • Realtor and Title & Escrow company contact information.
  5. In addition to the City loan approval, the property must pass an inspection by City Staff for lead- based paint hazards and building/health and safety code deficiencies.
  6. If a homebuyer is eligible and their home passes inspection, the City of Santa Ana reserves funds and notifies the Homebuyer and Realtor.
  7. Realtor notifies the City of Santa Ana of scheduled closing date ten (10) business days prior to close of escrow date.


Total process can take 30-45 days. We are not currently providing pre-approval services.

My First Home FAQ

No, homebuyers are not permitted to place the home under a trust while participating in the “My First Home” Down Payment Assistance Program.

We average out earned income by previous pay periods and project the average for the remaining pay periods of the year.

Yes. Processing time for your application will increase to account for coordination between all parties involved.

We follow HUD guidelines for our low income category and the state’s Housing and Community Development guidelines for our moderate income category.

At the opening of escrow

No, multi-family properties, including duplexes, triplexes, and properties with additional habitable units are not allowed. We only allow owner occupied residences.

Individuals who will be on the title and deed of the property.

If the property being purchased was a rental property, a Seller’s Statement is required to declare that no individual was evicted before the sale.



The expected turn-around time is 30-45 days.

No, there is no course requirement for realtors or lenders.

No, we will work with any lenders who meet our requirements, outlined in the program application.

Payment is due as a lump-sum at the end of 45 years or when the property is transferred to another party. We do not accept monthly payments.

If the property is refinanced and the equity is cashed-out, we require payment of the loan in full at that time.


  • Borrower(s) must be a first time home buyer (a person with no ownership interest in, or who has not held ‘title’ to a principal residence during the three-year period preceding the purchase of the property).
  • Complete a minimum of eight (8) hours of in-person home ownership training offered by a counseling center approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Must have at least three percent (3%) of the purchase price for a down payment from seasoned funds (at least 90 days seasoned). Three most-recent bank statements are required to verify seasoned funds. Seasoned funds cannot be from gift funds. Gift funds may contribute towards the purchase; gift funds may not exceed 3% of purchase price.
  • Must be pre-qualified for a 1st Mortgage and have a positive credit history and obtain a fixed-rate first mortgage. Co-signers and variable rate loans are not allowed.
  • The Housing Division has a local preference for veterans and applicants who live or work in the City of Santa Ana.
  • Total Annual Income of the household, meaning all persons residing in the home as their principal place of residence, cannot exceed the income limits established below:
Household Size Low Income Moderate Income
1 person $88,400 $108,350
2 persons $101,000 $123,850
3 persons $113,650 $139,300
4 persons $126,250 $154,800
5 persons $136,350 $167,200
6 persons $146,450 $179,550
7 persons $156,550 $191,950
8 persons $166,650 $204,350


Interest Rates, Repayment, and Incentives

  • 0% Interest rate
  • Owner-Occupied for life of loan
  • Repayment of the City loan principle balance will be required at the end of the 45-year term of affordability.
  • Santa Ana Student Incentive:  Santa Ana Student Incentive: Prospective homebuyers who have completed a four-year college or a State Certified Professional Trade School education and resided in Santa Ana during their high school years can qualify for loan forgiveness of up to $40,000 over a period of twenty years, with $10,000 forgiven every five years.
  • U.S. Military Veteran or on Active Duty Incentive:  U.S. Military Veteran or on Active Duty personnel is eligible for a loan forgiveness up $40,000 over a period of twenty years, with $10,000 forgiven every five years
  • The City has a local preference for veterans and applicants who live or work in the City of Santa Ana.


8 Hour HUD Approved Homebuyer Education

NeighborWorks Orange County offers an 8 hour HUD approved homebuyer education course. This virtual HUD approved homebuyer course is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The course is tailored for first time homebuyers who will be purchasing within one year, are currently in escrow, or are interested in understanding the homebuying process. This HUD approved course has a fee. Key information on budgeting, credit, lending, real estate processes, title, insurance, and down payment assistance are covered. A HUD Homebuyer Certificate is provided upon completion.

Orange County Community Housing Corporation (OCCHC) offers a virtual, HUD approved, 8 hour homebuyer course. The class is divided into two 4 hour sessions. The class is intended for anyone interested in preparing for the home-buying process. This HUD approved course is free. Topics include: down payment, down payment programs, private mortgage insurance, the home buying process, and working with a loan officer, realtor, and insurance agent. A certificate is provided upon completion.

Affordable Clearing House provides an 8 hour certified workshop. The presentation includes a review of credit, budgeting, loans, and community resources. This HUD approved course has a fee. A certificate is provided upon completion. If you are interested in exploring additional organizations offering HUD approved homebuyer education courses, follow this link.


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