Oakland Real Estate

by :

The Bay Area market is one of the highest priced markets in the country, so naturally it's more difficult for first time buyers to afford to buy here. Luckily, there are several programs that are being offered by various lenders that allow the borrower get a much better interest rate than they normally would.

Two of these programs are ACORN and Cal HFA. Acorn is a non-profit organization that works with chosen lenders to provide below market interest rates to borrowers. Currently the Acorn program offers an interest rate on a 30 year fixed loan that is approximately 1/2 of a point lower than the current market rate. This means less interest charged to you, which in turn means that you have more purchasing power than you would otherwise have. There are certain guidelines for the program, such as income and purchase price limits, and borrowers must attend a free first time home buyer seminar to qualify. However, the guidelines are fairly lax and I always tell my first time buyer clients that if you can qualify for the Acorn program you take advantage of it. No other lender program can match the rate that Acorn can offer.

Cal HFA also offers below market interest rates, and they even offer 3% loans for closing costs or down payment assistance that are "silent" which means that they do not have to be repaid until the home is sold or refinanced.

So if you are a first time buyer, make sure you ask your Realtor about whether or not you qualify for Acorn or Cal HFA, as they can save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest, and possibly allow you to spend more than you thought you could for your next home.