The California Association of Realtors is trying to entice first-time homebuyers by offering up to $1,500 a month to cover six months' mortgage payments if they get laid off.

James Liptak, the trade group's president, said in a press release issued last week that the program was designed to "ease the anxiety" of consumers who were holding back from buying a home because of concern about job losses.

To qualify, the homebuyer must be a salaried employee who has not owned a home in at least three years. The property must be purchased in California between April 2 and Dec. 31 and a Realtor must be used for the transaction.

Qualified co-buyers can receive a monthly benefit of up to $750 a month for six months.

The program also provides for accidental disability coverage and a $10,000 death benefit.

To pay for the program, the California trade group has set up a nonprofit that receives donations from Realtors and Realtor associations throughout the state. The fund has $1 million in it now.

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