The CalHERO™ Mortgage is a California real estate reward savings program for Police, Firefighters, Veterans, Nurses, and Teachers when they buy, sell, or refinance a home. CalHERO is often referred to as a mortgage program for heroes, community hero home loan, or a first responder home loan.
The goal of a CalHERO Home Loan is to give back to those who sacrifice their time to educate, serve, protect and care for the communities and residents of California.
CalHERO also offers the CalHERO Advantage down payment assistance program. The CalHERO Advantage program provides a grant that can be applied towards the down payment for those who are in need and eligible.
To maximize savings, borrowers who are eligible for a CalHERO™ loan program should work with participating CalHERO™ Real Estate Agents when buying or selling a home. CalHERO™ Real Estate Agents have committed to giving buyers and sellers a rebate at closing to help pay related closing costs.
CalHERO™ is a EXCLUSIVE trademarked mortgage program that cannot be marketed or offered by any other lender.
CalHERO™ Mortgage Program Eligibility
The CalHERO™ Home Loan is for homeowners or homebuyers who have served or been employed in one of the career fields below. (Current employment is NOT required)
CalHERO™ Police – For Peace Officers, Sheriff, Tribal Rangers, Border Patrol Agents, Correctional Officers, and others serving in a Law Enforcement capacity in California. This includes the administrative staff that supports our officers.
CalHERO™ Firefighter – Firefighters, CalFIRE, Paramedic, and EMT’s in California. This includes those employed by a Native American Tribal Government, and the administrative staff that supports our firefighters.
CalHERO™ Veteran/Military – Any Veteran, retired or active duty military, or serving in the reserves. CalHERO applies to VA loans as well even if you no longer have VA mortgage entitlement benefits.
CalHERO™ Teacher/Educator – Current, former, or retired members of the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), employee of a California accredited Private, Charter School, California public school district, or California State University, Junior College or Private College. This includes school admin and staff.
Benefits of a CalHERO™ Mortgage
Simply stated, CalHERO saves you money through:
- Discounted interest rate
- Larger lender credit to pay closing costs
- $0 lender fees (no admin or underwriting fee)
- No application fee
- No rate lock fee
- Flexible underwriting
- May be combined with an approved 2nd lien down payment assistance program
CalHERO™ Mortgage Guidelines
- Purchase or refinance
- NOT limited to first time buyers
- Conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA Loan Programs
- No income limit*
- Credit scores as low as 580 – 620 depending on program
- Down payment options as low as $0 – 3.5% (money can be gifted)
- 15 or 30 year fixed loan terms available
* Income limits and additional guidelines may apply if combining with a down payment assistance, HOMEReady or HomePossible program.
Maximum Loan Amount
Maximum CalHERO loan amounts can be seen here California Conforming, FHA, and VA loan limits.
- 1-4 Single family residence (SFR)
- Detached PUD / Condo’s
- Manufactured (built after 1976)
- Primary Residence & 2nd Homes
Ineligible Property Types
- Log homes or condotels
- Investment properties
CalHERO Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does CalHERO provide down payment assistance? Yes and no. The CalHERO Advantage Grant feature will provide a 2% down payment assistance forgivable grant that can be applied towards the minimum down payment requirement. CalHERO Advantage grant borrowers do not have to be first time homebuyers to be eligible. Contact me for more details.
Q: Is CalHERO the same as the energy efficient financing HERO™ program that Renovate America™ offers? No, not related to Renovate America™ or their HERO™ program in any way. CalHERO DOES NOT provide financing for energy efficient home upgrades such as solar panels, windows, attic fans, central Air conditioners, roofs, artificial grass, water heaters, or furnaces, etc..
But you may be eligible to finance those energy upgrades with a HomeStyle Energy loan.
Q: Do CalHERO™ loans take longer to close escrow? No. CalHERO mortgage loans typically close escrow in 15-30 days. Why so quickly? Because there is no 2nd underwriting review needed by a third party entity. Additional time may be required if layered with a down payment or closing cost assistance program or if borrowers delay in providing the required documentation.
Q: Do I qualify for a CalHERO mortgage if I’m no longer working in an eligible career field? Yes. If you are retired or can document having previously worked in an eligible field, you are still eligible.
Q: Are CalHERO funds still available? Yes, CalHERO funds are still available.
Q: Why the need for a CalHERO™ Loan Program? At the heart of it, we value and want to recognize, honor, and reward those who serve, educate, and protect our communities. What better way than to help make their home financing more affordable?
Many of those eligible for CalHERO were also eligible for the old CalSTRS Teacher Loan and CalPERS Public Employee home loan program. However, those programs had several documented risks that were jeopardizing the financial stability of those organizations which lead to their suspension.
CalHERO™ stepped up to provide some sort benefit for those who are eligible.