NHF Sapphire Grant Down Payment Assistance Program


The NHF Sapphire down payment assistance program is a California homebuyer grant for moderate income individuals and families who can qualify for a mortgage but need assistance with down payment to closing costs.

Sapphire provides up to 4.5% of the loan amount in the form of a grant to meet your down payment assistance requirement and/or pay closing costs.

The Sapphire Grant is not not limited to first time home buyers!  In fact, borrowers can actually own other real estate/rental properties and still be eligible for the Sapphire homebuyer grant.

The NHF Sapphire assistance program is a true homebuyer grant, meaning it does not have to be repaid and it has no sneaky recapture fee like many other homebuyer assistance programs have.

Sapphire Mortgage Programs & Requirements

  • 30 year fixed  (purchase only)
  • Grant works with FHA, VA, or USDA financing
  • No prepayment penalty or recapture fees, no equity sharing or deed restrictiosns
  • $417,000 maximum loan limit or lesser of HUD county limit
The National Homebuyers Fund, Inc. (NHF) provides responsible and affordable home financing to moderate income individuals and families who desire to own a home in California.

NHF Sapphire | Borrower Eligibility

  • Minimum 620 credit score
  • Maximum DTI ratio follows applicable first mortgage guidelines and/or whatever DU/AUS approves – so it could be 41% or up to 56% DTI
  • DO NOT have to be first time homebuyer – can own other real estate
  • Homebuyer education not required
  • U.S. Citizens and both Permanent and Non-Perm Resident Aliens
  • Non-occupied co-borrowers not permitted (do allow co-signers)
  • Subordinate financing allowed – can be combined with other assistance programs
  • Qualifying borrower income cannot exceed 115% of the County HUD AMI

Sapphire Grant – Borrower Beware!

Recently multiple wholesale lenders have started offering the Sapphire Grant to mortgage brokers and each lender has different guidelines or overlays.

For example, some lenders offering the Sapphire Grant have a maximum DTI ratio cap of 43%, 45%, 50% on up to 56%!

One Sapphire Grant wholesale lender only gives 4.5% grant…not the full 5% like other lenders offer.

Some lenders will have different minimum FICO credit scores than others.  Some will allow higher DTI ratio’s with higher credit scores.

Some lenders charge different fees, some require the buyer purchase a home warranty, and some will even require a home inspection be reviewed by the underwriter….that is not normal.

Property Requirements

  • Primary residence only – owner occupied
  • Single Family Residence / PUD (1 unit)
  • Condo  (must be agency approved)

Combine NHF Sapphire with MCC 

Sapphire can be layered with other homebuyer assistance programs such as a Mortgage Credit Tax Certificate (MCC).  Combining programs can complicate things because each program has it’s own qualifying criteria and may delay the processing and approval of the loan…but it can be done if the seller is willing to accept the longer escrow that may be needed.

Which Assistance Program is Best?

That is the million dollar question that I can help you with.

You would be shocked at how many Loan Officers deceive buyers who inquire about assistance programs and tell them they do not qualify for anything (steering), when in fact they do!

Why would a lender deceive a homebuyer who inquires about homebuyer assistance?

  1. They can’t provide the program  – they aren’t approved or certified to offer it
  2. Don’t know about the many other programs
  3. Don’t want to work harder than they have to
  4. To prevent the homebuyer from inquiring with another lender about a program
  5. Don’t feel they can make enough money off you when using an assistance program

Unfortunately, I know many Loan Officers who treat people who want to use an assistance program like 2nd class citizens…..like they don’t deserve to own a home if they do’t have 20% down payment.

Take Action ==> Get More Info About Down Payment Assistance Programs in California

If you would like to find out which programs you are eligible for, compare options, get more details, or secure a loan pre-approval, contact me here or call direct (951) 215-6119.  I lend in all 58 counties throughout California.

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