Not at all! Some of the best are offered by the State of California through CalHFA. This source has excellent first-time homebuyer programs, with very realistic loan and income limits for high cost counties.
CalHFA also started a wonderful program for teachers in California's high priority schools, called Extra Credit Teacher Program. If you teach in a school that is currently in the lower ranges of API scores, there are some very tasty incentives.
The ECTP provides a deferred-payment junior loan, for down payment assistance – from $7,500 to $15,000, depending on the location of the property, or 3% of the purchase price, whichever is greater. This junior loan is only available when combined with a CalHFA first mortgage loan. If the first mortgage loan is CalHFA’s 30-Year Fixed Mortgage, the interest rate on the first mortgage will be at a special reduced rate. Interest on the junior loan is deferred and may be reduced to zero if the borrower meets continued eligibility requirements.
These programs have interest rates and costs set by CalHFA, so whether you wander from bank to bank or work with a knowledgeable broker, the cost limits and interest rates are the same. Individuals can not apply directly to CalHFA, though it has a very good website with tons of information: www.calhfa.ca.gov
If you are wondering about your eligibility for these loans and would appreciate some help in explaining and advising about first-time homebuyer programs in California, please give me a call (408/483-2730) or shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org