GSFA Platinum® — Down Payment Assistance Program

Provides Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance, up to 5.5% of the Mortgage Loan

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following information explains in more detail some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) from homebuyers and mortgage professionals regarding the GSFA Platinum Program.

If you have questions not addressed below, please feel free to Contact Us.


Tip: Click on a question to open or close the answer.

Q-1:   Does the borrower ever have to pay back any portion of the down payment assistance provided by GSFA?

The DPA provided for standard transactions through the GSFA Platinum Program is currently in the form of 15-year fully amortizing Second Mortgage. The note rate on the Second Mortgage is 2% above the note rate on the First Mortgage and has monthly payments.

For Platinum "Select" qualifying homebuyers, the assistance is provided in two forms. Up to 3.5% in assistance is provided in the form of a 15-year fully amortizing Second Mortgage Loan. The note rate on the Second Mortgage is 2.00% above the rate on the First Mortgage and has monthly payments. An additional 2% in assistance is available in the form of a Gift that never has to be repaid. FHA Energy Efficient mortgage loans, USDA guaranteed home loans, along with a variety of health care, public safety and education occupations can qualify the homebuyer for Platinum "Select".

For GSFA Member County "Assist-to-Own" qualifying homebuyers, 3.5% in assistance is in the form of a Deferred Second Mortgage. It has a 30-year term and a zero percent note rate. It accrues no interest, has no monthly payments, but is due and payable upon sale, refinance or payoff of the First Mortgage. Additional DPA assistance, up to 2% is available in the form of a Gift that never has to be repaid. To be eligible for "Assist-to-Own", a homebuyer must be employed by one of the GSFA Member Counties.

Contact Us or a Participating Lender for more info.

Q-2:   What types of home can be purchased with the Program?

The GSFA Platinum Program can be used to purchase or refinance a residential property anywhwere in the state of California as long as the homebuyer intends to occupy the property as their primary residence.

Newly constructed or existing homes are eligible. One to four unit properties are allowed, including condominiums, townhomes and manufactured homes, depending on the type of First Mortgage.

Contact Us or a Participating Lender for more info.

Q-3:   Is the homebuyer required to stay in the home for any minimum number or years?

No. With the GSFA Platinum Program, the homebuyer is not required to remain in the home for any period of time after purchase and initial residency.

Q-4:   Are there income restrictions?

For FHA and VA loans, there are no income limits.

For USDA loans, refer to USDA guidelines concerning income limits.

For Conventional Loans, the total income cannot exceed the Program Income Limits, based on the county in which the property is located.

Q-5:   Are there credit and debt requirements?

Yes, the minimum FICO credit score for the GSFA Platinum Program is 640. The maximum Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) is 45%, with special circumstances allowing up to 50%.

The DTI shows how much of the homebuyer's gross monthly income is needed to cover all of their debt obligations. To determine the approximate DTI:

  1. Add up all debt (including mortgage, auto loans, credit card bills, student loans, child support and alimony, etc.).
  2. Divide the total debt by the monthly gross income.
  3. Then multiply the result by 100 to get the DTI percentage.

Contact Us or a Participating Lender for more info.

Q-6:   Can the Program be used to buy a second home or vacation home?

No. To qualify for the Program, the home being purchased or refinanced must become the primary residence of the homebuyer. Vacation, second homes and rentals are not eligible.

Q-7:   How does someone apply for the GSFA Platinum Program?

Homebuyers interested in the GSFA Platinum Program must work with a GSFA Platinum Participating Lender. The Lender will furnish the homebuyer with complete program guidelines, current interest rates, applicable APRs and fees and assist with the application and qualification process.


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