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Empower Homeowners


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 assist 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.​


​Step ONE​​

​Step TWO

​Step THREE​​


Find a Lender​​
Complete an intake form and submit it to Housing T​rust staff for pre-screening​
Contact an app​roved lender for pre-approval. Housing Trust​​​​​​ works with all approved lenders.
​​With lender pre-approval, complete a Program Eligibility and Application and contact Housing Trust staff for appointment

You Can Qualify If...

  • You are a first-time homebuyer purchasing a primary residence in Santa Clara County

  • You have pre-approval from an approved lender (done prior to submitting application to program)

  • Your gross household income is within the designated income limits

  • You have completed a HUD-certified 8 Hour Homebuyer Education class through a designated agency

  • You have a minimum middle FICO score of 680

  • Borrower must provide at least 3% of purchase price as down payment

​​​Maximum Gross Household Income by Household Size (2019)​​​ ​
Household Size​ ​1 2 ​3 ​4 ​5 ​6​ 7​ 8​
​Income Limit ​$110,400 ​$126,150 ​$141,950 ​$157,700 ​$170,300 ​$182,950 $195,550 $208,150
​Maximum Annual Gross Household Income Limits are established annually by the California​ Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

​​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 ​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%

For more information you may:
CALL:  408-436-3450 x301​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Last updated: 6/23/2020 9:03 AM