Empower Homebuyers SCC


Click a Link Below to Download a PDF of Housing Trust’s Empower Homebuyers SCC flyer

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How It Helps:

Empower Homebuyers SCC is a program of the County of Santa Clara administered by Housing Trust Silicon Valley. It provides down payment assistance loans to first-time homebuyers in the county and is funded by the 2016 Measure A Affordable Housing Bond. The program is aimed at assisting low to moderate income County residents – including employees at nonprofit organizations, teachers, healthcare professionals, County employees and others.

What You Need to Know

An Empower Homebuyers down payment assistance loan is a 30-year deferred loan, plus a percentage of the home’s appreciation that matches what you borrow – so if you borrowed 17% of your home’s original purchase price, the percentage share of the appreciation is only 17%.  Share of Appreciation is capped for the first ten years of the loan.  No monthly principal and interest payments are required. Payment is deferred until your loan reaches its maturity date, you decide to sell your home, you refinance your mortgage, or you no longer occupy the home.

Click here for program guidelines and forms.

Step 1 – Complete Online Intake Housing Trust staff will contact you for pre-screening

Step 2 – Find an Approved Lender for pre-approval. Housing Trust works with all approved lenders

Step 3 – Application With lender pre-approval, complete a Program Eligibility Application and contact Housing Trust staff for an appointment

You Can Qualify for Empower Homebuyer SCC if:

  • You are a first-time homebuyer buying a primary residence in Santa Clara County
  • You have pre-approval from an approved lender (done prior to submitting application) and your gross household income is within the designated income limits
  • You have completed a HUD-certified 8 Hour Homebuyer Education class through the designated agency
  • You have a minimum middle FICO score of 680
  • You can put down a minimum of 3% of a home’s purchase price
Maximum Gross Household Income by Household Size (updated as of May 6, 2019)
Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Income Limit $110,400 $126,150 $141,950 $157,700 $170,300 $182,950 $195,550 $208,150 $220,750 $233,400
Maximum Annual Gross Household Income Limits are established annually by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)

Want to join the Empower Homebuyers SCC Interest List? Click here!

Empower Homebuyers SCC (Empower) 
Maximum Loan Amount Up to 17% of the purchase price
Interest Rate Share of Appreciation, capped for the first ten years of the term of the loan. After ten years, no longer capped. Percentage Share of Appreciation based on percentage of Original Empower Homebuyers SCC principal loan amount to the original purchase price of the home
Term/Maturity Date 30 years
Monthly Payments(Principal & Interest) Deferred
Program Market Area Available Santa Clara County
First-Time Buyer Status Required Yes
8-Hour HUD Certified Homebuyer Education Class Required Yes from designated agency
Maximum Gross Household Income Limit Up to 120% of Area Median Income
Minimum Credit Score 680
Asset Limits $125,000
 Min. Borrower Contribution to Purchase Price 3%
Housing Trust Program Eligibility Required Yes, at least 14-21 days required for program eligibility determination and prior to purchase agreement ratification
Maximum Purchase Price of Home $800,000
Owner Occupancy Required Yes-Annual Monitoring/Compliance Check
First Mortgage Requirement 30 Year Fully Amortized Fixed Rate Mortgage Only- No Adjustable Rate or Interest Only Mortgages Allowed
Minimum/Maximum Loan to Value (LTV) 70% / 80%
Combined Loan to Value (CLTV) Cannot exceed 97%