CCL First-Time-Buyer Guide

Issue 1: Qualification

Three of the most common questions we receive from first-timers is about cost of obtaining a loan, the down payment required, and the minimum credit guidelines.

Of all the three, the only one that we can approach giving a consistent answer to is the “cost” issue. How much do buyers pay in fees, closing costs, and out-of-pocket expenses? Assume an average of $3,000 to start, and then adjust depending on the chosen mortgage rate. (Read More)

Down payment options start at 0%, but availability shifts depending on family income, home location, and more. In our feature, we discuss the down payment guidelines for major loan programs (Read More). In another article series, we explain the cost associated with mortgage insurance, which may be assigned to loans with down payments under 20% (Read More). Lastly, we highlight the California Homebuyers Down Payment Assistance Program (CHDAP) as a helpful way for first-timers to manage down payment costs (Read More).

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Credit is another complex issue that will verify depending on the lender and buyer profile. In the first part of our feature, we discuss credit repair techniques (Read More). Then, we delve into frequently asked questions about credit and loan qualification: FICO scores, debt-to-income ratio, minimum trade lines, and more (Read More). The moral of the story: there is no one size fits all loan, so don’t self-qualify from the couch. Talk with one of our mortgage expert FOR FREE to learn about the possibilities and troubleshoot any lingering credit issues.


Beating the Competition

The second side of the coin: qualifying for a mortgage is great, but unless you are able to find a home to purchase – and beat out other buyers – you still won’t own a home.

The first thing we tell potential buyers is this: attain pre approval (not to be confused with pre qualification) so that you can waive the financing contingency (Read More). This trick can help your purchase proposal find its way to the top of the pile.

Our final two recommendations could easily be slotted into the “Part 1: Qualification” section, but we have listed them here to highlight their usefulness.

Gift giving is a misunderstood part of the lending process. In this article (Read More), we clarify what type of monetary down payment and closing cost assistance that borrowers may receive from relatives (parties not listed on the title). By bolstering your down payment offer with gift funds, you can make your purchase proposal more attractive.

Lastly, we want to specifically highlight the Mortgage Credit Certificate (Read More). This phenomenal program offers a dollar-for-dollar tax credit to reduce the income tax bill of first-time buyers. What’s more, we can roll the expected savings into the qualification process into the borrower’s income, and help him/her/them qualify for a larger home. This gives first-time buyers additional qualification flexibility.

Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, or call us at 805.543.5626 to speak to a loan officer about your options.

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New Listing! Great Family Home

Welcoming, updated, clean, and affordable! This home has two bedrooms and one large bathroom. The open living space is updated with wood floors, new light fixtures, and fresh paint. The house is filled with natural light from the large window and glass slider leading to an intimate patio and yard. The two-car-garage has an epoxy floor and abundant storage. All this in a great, family-friendly Arroyo Grande neighborhood that is close to conveniences and local favorite parks and play areas like Soto Sports Field. Listed at $380,000

New Listing! Meadowlark Farms Neighborhood

Gorgeous 5 bedroom home located in the sought after original Meadowlark Farms neighborhood. This Mediterranean home, light and bright throughout, has been beautifully remodeled. Stainless appliances, granite counters, 6 inch baseboards, 20X20 tile floor, newer carpeting. Family room with stately beam accents. Double door entry to master retreat, plantation shutters, 2 closets. Fabulous heated pebble tech pool. All cedar pool house with electricity, great for outdoor living and entertaining. Extra deep 3 car garage. Premium location on corner of cul de sac, sits high providing privacy and views.

New Listing! Contemporary Living at Paseo Bella Montana

Paseo Bella Montana offers contemporary living and style at an attainable value. This home offers an open living area, 3 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, an indoor laundry room, 2-car-garage + storage closet, and a private backyard. The best part is that the HOA covers water (yes, water), sewer, trash, insurance, exterior and common area maintenance – what more could you want? All this and close to schools and conveniences. This property must be owner occupied and the land is leased through Cal Poly. Ask your agent for details.Listed at $419,000

New Listing! Modern Urban Loft in Downtown San Luis Obispo

First time on market. Exclusive residential unit on the 3rd floor of the MIX on Monterey. Two bedroom / two bath open floor plan + large upstairs loft area and incredible private roof deck. Eco-friendly amenities include high efficiency washer/dryer, Energy-Star appliances, multi-paned windows, low-flow dual-flush plumbing fixtures, etc. Unit built with inherent sustainable eco-friendly design features, such as passive cooling & heating, south-facing windows, and cool-roof technology. Elevator access, bike storage and plenty of on-site private parking. Unit comes fully furnished, including stocked kitchen, linens, bedding, two HDTV’s, Blu-Ray player, etc. Live and work right downtown – just blocks to the downtown core and a short bike ride to Cal Poly. Listed at $725,500

One-Time-Close Construction Loans Now Available!

If you are looking for financing to build your new home, you may not know where to start. It can be a headache to deal with the different stages of a tradition construction loan: the “pre-approval” or “commitment” stage, the “interim lending” stage, and the “permanent loan” stages. This is where the One-Time-Close option comes in. With a One-Time-Close construction loan, those three stages are combined into one single process. With this type of transaction, the borrower is able to obtain permanent loan approval, as well as close the interim and permanent loan transaction before construction begins, all in one single transaction.

Loan Requirements


  • FHA: Minimum 530 FICO (limits to LTV/CLTV may apply)
  • VA: Minimum 530 FICO & Including No Score
  • Conventional: Minimum 700 FICO (limits to LTV/CLTV may apply)
  • Full tri-merged credit report with scores—Credit report valid for 90 days

Loan Term

  • Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM): 10—30 year terms


  • FHA: 580+ FICO and No Score: 96.5% LTV calculated per FHA Guides
    < 580 FICO: Maximum 90% LTV
  • VA: 100% LTV plus VA funding fee
  • Conventional: 70% LTV Maximum


  • FHA & VA: Owner Occupied Only
  • Conventional: 1 Unit Owner Occupied, 1 Unit Second Home

Click here to read the full list of loan requirements.

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New Listing! Incredible, Must See Home! Santa Maria

Beautifully Maintained!

This is an INCREDIBLE home! Over 1800 sq ft of living space with four bedrooms and two full baths. Best of all, the master suite is downstairs! Features include: new real wood hardwood floors, designer baseboards, new solid oak front designer door, finished garage with epoxy floors, all new dark oil brushed door handles, recently all re-painted inside, stainless steel appliances, new landscaping with sprinkler system and pavers, Beautiful fireplace with marble hearth and the list goes on! This home has been lovingly maintained and feels like new! Light, airy and bright! It’s a must see! Only $399,900

New TRID Rule in Effect

The new TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule (TRID) is now effective with applications taken on/after October 3, 2015, and applies to all close-end credit transactions secured by real property. Lenders will still use the Good Faith Estimate (GFE), HUD-1, and Initial Truth-in-Lending (TIL) forms for all applications received prior to October 3, 2015. Listed below are the major changes that you should be aware of:

New Disclosures and Timing Requirements

Loan Estimate (LE)

  • Combines the GFE and initial TIL
  • The LE is intended to provide consumers with help understanding the key features, costs, and risks of the mortgage loan they are applying for.
  • LE must be delivered or placed in the mail no later than 3 business days after the consumer submits a loan application.
  • LE cannot be disclosed until fees are received from escrow.
  • Appraisal cannot be ordered until the LE has been acknowledged and a wait period of 3 business days has passed.
  • In regard to the LE, a business day is a day on which the creditor’s offices are open to the public for carrying out its business functions.

Closing Disclosure (CD)

  • Combines the HUD-1 statement and the final TIL
  • CD must be received by the consumer at least 3 business days before the consummation of the loan.
  • The CD provides information to the consumer in order to help them understand all costs involved in the mortgage loan transaction.
  • In regard to the CD, a business day means all calendar days except Sundays, and the legal public holidays.

There are two camps of thought regarding the Closing Disclosure (CD). Here at Central Coast Lending, we work to issue the CD approximately one week in advance, making sure the APR is correct. Then, the borrower must way 3 days prior to executing the note.

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New Listing! Hancock Park Beauty

This large Hancock Park 4 bedroom home has been beautifully renovated, there were no short cuts taken here – this home features the best of everything! One bedroom and bath are conveniently located downstairs, too. Travertine versailles patterned floors, new carpet, baseboards, new hand textured walls and ceilings, all new appliances, remodeled EVERYTHING! This is a gorgeous home and can’t be replicated for this price! Nice master suite, walk in closet and private balcony….Located on a cozy cul de sac close to all conveniences. Hurry, scoop this home up while interest rates remain low! Listed at $509,000