Santa Clara County 1st-Time Real Estate Buyer Program

First-time buyers are being wooed from many different directions these days.  As I discussed in a previous post, the IRS is offering a first-time buyer tax credit to real estate buyers who meet certain stipulations.  In addition to this federal tax credit, Santa Clara County is offering a Mortgage Credit Certificate Program to first-time buyers.  And, as I explain in the federal tax credit post, a first-time buyer is defined as real estate buyers who have not owned a principal residence during the past three years.

First time buyer

A few highlights of the Santa Clara County program:

  • It is a dollar for dollar tax credit against the borrower’s federal income tax – currently 15% of the interest paid
  • The remaining 85% remains as a standard tax deduction
  • The home must be purchased in one of the participating cities in the county – all south county cities are participating
  • The home purchased must be owner-occupied
  • The buyer’s income cannot exceed $97,800 for 1-2 persons and $112,470 for 3 or more persons
  • The MCC Program doesn’t allow co-signers
  • Maximum purchase price is limited to $570,000 for resale homes and $630,000 for new construction
  • There is a possible recapture tax if the property is sold within the next nine years after purchase
  • The County maintains a public list of participating brokers and funding lenders
  • Applications for MCC are processed on a first come, first serve basis and there is an application fee of $275

For those interested in taking advantage of the MCC Program, you will want to make sure you are working with a paricipating funding lender.  For recommendations on lenders, call me at 408-892-9015 or email me at GMerrick(at)