2024 California Dream For All Program: How to Enter The Lottery for 20% down payment assistance

by | Jan 24, 2024

Update on 3/6/24: The California Housing Finance Agency has announced that the Dream for All lottery registration will go live on April 3, 2024! In order to be ready before then, we highly suggest that you complete the below steps no later than the 3rd week of March.

Here’s a video about the program, and after the video there will be directions for how to get preapproved to enter the lottery.


Excellent news, the California Dream For All Program (down payment assistance for the full 20% down!) made a big announcement last week, and just gave us all the details on how to help YOU be ready to register for the lottery that will go live in April!

I’m going to repeat something three times. First time: If you have any questions, please click here to pick a time to chat and I’ll answer them!

A few of the requirements:

  • All mortgage applicants must be a first-time homebuyer. If it’s been more than 3 years since you’ve owned a home, you are once again a first-time homebuyer.
  • At least one mortgage applicant must be a first-generation homebuyer (this is a new requirement), meaning at least one of your parents, or your other borrower’s parents if applicable, does not presently own a home.
    • If a parent is dead, their homeownership status as of their passing is what is used. For example, suppose a husband and wife homebuyer couple wherein the husband’s parents are both living and both homeowners. However, the wife’s biological or adoptive mother sold her home, moved into a retirement home, and passed away there. This means that the wife is a first-generation homebuyer, and this means the couple qualifies as first-generation homebuyers.
    • Anyone that has, at any time, been placed in foster care, or institutional care (including “behind bars”) while a minor, is automatically considered a first-generation homebuyer.
    • You will be required to sign a notarized document attesting to being a first-generation homebuyer under this definition.
    • If this immediately disqualified you, there may be other homeownership options available to you. Did you know that most first-time buyers in California put less than 10% down, often as little as 3% or 5%? Let’s chat about your options!
  • You must be below the income limits for the county where you are buying a home (not necessarily where you currently live).
    • If you make more than that, we can explore creatively “not documenting” certain income sources, such as bonus income or overtime income.
    • If you are unsure, please let the process play out, and let me find the solution once we have all needed information.
  • You must be preapproved in order to enter the lottery. If you do not have a preapproval letter, you will not be able to register for the lottery. The rest of this post will go over how to get preapproved, so you can enter the lottery. Once you are preapproved, I’ll notify you when the lottery opens up, and at that point you will have the Dream For All Preapproval Letter (this is not a ‘normal’ preapproval letter, a ‘normal’ preapproval letter will not let you enter the lottery). The target date is some time in April, but I highly encourage you to knock this out ahead of time rather than procrastinating. If something comes up, that will give us time to address it, so that you’re ready when the time is right!
  • Second Time: If you have any questions, please click here to pick a time to chat and I’ll answer them!
  • The full Dream for All program manual can be found here.

Are you still qualified? Great! Please keep reading.

15 Minute Mortgage Preapproval (a requirement to enter the lottery)

  1. Please click here to opt-out of 3rd party mortgage junk mail and spam (2 minutes, gov’t website).
  2. Please click here to get preapproved (5 minutes, secure portal). Please be accurate to the best of your ability, take note of anything you aren’t sure of, and send me a message in the user interface with any questions you might have. When it asks “How did you hear about us?” please answer “California Dreamer!”
  3. Please upload the following paperwork to finalize the preapproval (5 minutes, same portal).
  • If your credit is frozen with any of the credit reporting bureaus, please unfreeze it, let me know when 3 weekdays have passed from that point, and leave it unfrozen until you close escrow on your home purchase or refinance.
  • When it gets to the part about entering your bank account logins/passwords (“AccountChek”), please note there is a large “skip” button that you are more than welcome to click! Convenience versus security, the choice is yours.

Paperwork to Upload


  • Paystubs covering the most recent month.
  • W2s for 2022 and 2023.
  • Most recent two years of personal federal tax returns (1040s), all pages.
  • Unexpired photo ID.
  • Most recent two months of bank statements for all checking/savings/retirement/stcock/etc accounts with non-trivial balances and/or down payment funds.
  • Free self-generated credit report. Please see below for instructions.
  • Homebuyer education certificate of completion. https://www.calhfadreamforall.com

Variable Income / Self Employed / Business Owner / Special Income:

  • In order for us to be able to “count” bonus/tip/overtime/RSU/commission income: final paystub from December 2022 and 2023 showing the total earnings of that type over the respective year.
  • If you have any income other than the “standard” income sources referenced here (self-employment, social security, IHSS, child support, alimony, etc), please send me a message in the user interface from Step 2, and I’ll request the appropriate paperwork.

Third time: If you have any questions, please click here to pick a time to chat and I’ll answer them! www.calendly.com/ebmb/preapproval-administrative-quick-question

Free self-generated credit report.

Please go to www.myfico.com and create a FREE account. See screenshots. After you’ve done that, please take a screenshot showing your FICO score, and upload it to the document portal.

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