Many PA counties and cities offer special financing for first time home buyers and buyers whose income is at or below the median income limit. Some of the counties offer down payment and closing cost assistance grants. Here are a few programs that I've found. If you are aware of a first time home buyer program that is not featured (or if you can update the information), please send me an Email. Adams County Adams County Closing Cost Assistance Program - Eligible home buyers are able to obtain a low interest loan from $2,000 to $7,000.
Read more Allegheny County All Allegheny County residents who meet income limits are eligible except those who reside in the City of Pittsburgh. A minimum down payment of approximately 3.5 percent is required. Up to $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance is available to eligible borrowers and up to 100% of area median income. Read more - City of Pittsburgh The City of Pittsburgh provides low interest rate home loans for the purchase of new or existing homes (in move-in condition) located in the City of Pittsburgh.
The Pittsburgh Home Ownership Program - PHOP. Down payment and closing cost assistance grant money is available to all eligible home buyers. Read more Armstrong County Beaver County Qualified first time homebuyers will be eligible to receive a subordinated (2nd) mortgage up to a maximum of $3,500 for their down payment and or closing costs. Read moreBedford County Berks County Closing cost assistance loan program to eligible low moderate income families who have received approval for FHA 1st mortgage financing to purchase a home in Berks County, including the City of Reading.
Read more Blair County Bradford County Homeownership Program – This program is available in Bradford and Susquehanna counties for first-time homebuyers. Read more Bucks County Bucks County offers a zero interest loan for eligible home buyers for down payment and closing cost assistance. The maximum assistance loan is $10,000. Read more Butler CountyCambria CountyCameron CountyCarbon County Centre County The Centre County Housing Trust Fund will be used to assist the home buyer with down payment assistance.
A maximum of $10,000, or 10% of the purchase price (whichever is less). Read more - State College The State College First Time Home Buyer (FTHB) program offers mortgage and closing cost assistance to both moderate and lower income families. Read more Chester County Chester County has a terrific program for first time home buyers; possibly the best closing cost assistance program in the state. The maximum loan of $10,000 for purchase of a home in a Chester County township and $12,500 for purchase of a home in the City of Coatesville or in a Chester County borough.
Read more Clarion CountyClearfield County Clinton County Clinton County provides a First Time Homebuyers Closing Cost Assistance Program to promote homeownership opportunities for county residents. Read more Columbia County Columbia County Housing Authority offers a down payment and closing cost assistance Program for eligible low and moderate income first time home buyers who want to purchase homes in the Columbia County.
Read more Crawford County Cumberland County The Cumberland County First-Time Home buyers’ down payment and closing cost assistance program provides eligible home buyers with up to $3,000 in assistance to purchase homes in Cumberland County. Read More Dauphin County Did you know that Dauphin County provides down payment and or closing cost assistance up to $3,000 to eligible first-time buyers of Dauphin County homes? Read more - Upper Darby Township Upper Darby Township first time homebuyer program offers a maximum of $6,000.
00 for closing payment assistance to qualified buyers. Read more Delaware County The Homeownership First Program provides counseling and up to $5,000 in down payment and closing costs to qualifying first time homebuyers. Read more Elk CountyErie CountyFayette CountyForest CountyFranklin CountyFulton CountyGreene County Huntingdon County - Smithfield Township The maximum amount of assistance available per buyer is $5,000 for closing costs and half of their down payment expenses.
Read moreIndiana CountyJefferson CountyJuniata County Lackawanna County The program offers down payment subsidy of up to 15% (not to exceed $18,000) of the mortgaged loan with a minimum of 5% (verified) required from home buyer(s) assets. Read more - City of Scranton The City of Scranton First-Time Homebuyer Program provides funds in the form of a forgivable, deferred-payment loan to income-eligible, first-time homebuyers who wish to purchase a home in Scranton.
Read more Lancaster County Lancaster County offers eligible first time home buyers a down payment and closing cost assistance loan of 8% of the sales price up to a maximum of $5,000.00. Read more Lawrence CountyLebanon CountyLehigh CountyLuzerne CountyLycoming County - City of Williamsport The City offers homebuyer assistance to help income eligible households become homeowners in the City of Williamsport.
Read moreMcKean CountyMercer CountyMifflin CountyMonroe County Montgomery County Eligible participants may receive assistance with closing costs up to 8% of the sales price, and if your income is below 80% of the median income (see below), the Montgomery county will chip in an additional 2% toward the down payment for a total assistance of 10% of the sales price. Read more Montour County The Monroe County First Time Home Buyers Program offers a second mortgage up to a maximum of $5,000 or 10% of the purchase price, (whichever is less).
Read more Northampton County The Northampton County First Time Homebuyer Program provides loans to eligible first time buyers of Northampton County homes. Read moreNorthumberland CountyPerry CountyPhiladelphia CountyPike CountyPotter CountySchuylkill CountySnyder CountySomerset CountySullivan CountySusquehanna CountyTioga County Union County Union County offers eligible home buyers with be $10,000 or 10% of the purchase price for down payment and or closing cost assistance.
The total amount of any loan shall not exceed $10,000. Read more Venango County The Venango County First Time Home Buyer ProgramThe program provides eligible applicants with an closing costs or down payment assistance loan of up to $5,000 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is less. Read moreWarren County Washington County The Redevelopment Authority of Washington County has established the USDA Closing Cost Assistance Program to assist first time, low income, homebuyers in attaining their goal of home ownership by providing financial assistance.
Read moreWayne CountyWestmoreland County York County The County of York and City of York provide closing cost and down payment assistance to first time homebuyers. Read moreSee Also: Online Cpr And First Aid
An equipment is without doubt one of the largest investments you will ever make. Appliances are normally significant purchases, and therefore are a single from the most significant portions of your home. You depend upon appliances for almost everything from cooking to cleansing, and especially thinking of the quantity of revenue you can be placing forth for it, it only is smart that you d need to be sure you take advantage of wise acquire.
Residence appliances is actually a term which happens to be employed quite popularly currently but what does it stand for? Dwelling appliances stand for that mechanical and electrical items that are utilized in the home for that performing of a ordinary domestic.
What should first-time home-buyers consider when choosing a neighborhood?Conventional wisdom (and most lenders and insurers) will encourage buyers to choose a neighborhood where prices of homes are likely to appreciate over the time they own their own home. In the past, this has meant steering people to suburban, majority white, single-family places. For the past several decades, this advice was probably correct from a strictly financial point of view.
But there are several other factors to consider.First, think about where you want to be in relation to the other places you will regularly travel to -- your work, grocery stores you like, your kids’ school, your church, the park you enjoy most. If each of those trips will require car use rather than walking, biking or public transit, you are adding a lot to your annual expenditures. Your lender is not likely to help you think about those costs.
Second, think about what you like in a neighborhood. Do you like busy sidewalks, interesting nearby retail spots and a quick place to grab a cup of coffee? Or do you like quiet suburban areas with large green lawns and no sidewalks? Do you like areas with diverse populations and ethnic restaurants? Or do you prefer places where most residents look pretty much like your family, and where economic situations are similar?If you have children, or plan to have children, think carefully about what you want for them.
What activities would you like them to be able to participate in easily -- without your having to drive them somewhere? What sort of people would you like them to encounter on the street? What sort of school would you like for them? Would you like a neighborhood where there are other kids nearby?Each of these types of considerations will interact with your lender’s concern that you purchase a property that will increase in value.
That increase -- the “commodity value” of your new home is, of course, good for you. But the bank is mostly thinking of themselves, not you. They want the value to increase, so their loan is protected. If you default, and they have to take the property back, they want to make sure its eventual sale will cover their loan and all their costs to foreclose, maintain, insure and sell the property.I encourage all first-time buyers to think about the “home value” of their purchase, as well as the commodity value.
And, increasingly, lenders’ ideas of a good neighborhood and the market’s ideas are different. More and more older homeowners are leaving the suburbs to return to more urban settings, and younger households are staying in the city longer. The result is that demand is higher in the city, and supply is much slower to keep up with it.In most American cities, the highest priced real estate is in the most dense and oldest urban neighborhoods.
Those neighborhoods are difficult to buy into for a first-time homebuyer. But the areas where prices are generally affordable and likely to increase in the future are growing more dramatically in urban areas. There is no simple or automatic formula for determining this calculus, but putting “home value” ahead of “commodity value” may, for many young buyers, result in just as good a long range financial plan as the dated lender’s advice about a good suburban purchase.
How do you know that you are financially ready to buy your first home?The single biggest mistake that first-time homebuyers make is to forget about the maintenance and management costs of owning a home. Any responsible lender (responsible is the key word here) will help a potential buyer calculate the costs of their mortgage, insurance and taxes. If those costs exceed a certain percentage of their income (usually around 30%), the lender will advise against the purchase (in their own self-interest), or they will refuse to grant a loan.
The new homeowner should also think carefully about how secure their income is. Does it rely on lots of overtime that might become unavailable? Is a spouse or partner’s income included, who may stop working when a child comes into the household? Is the company stable? Again, a responsible lender should ask those questions, but the buyer should ask them first.The big issue that is overlooked results from the fact that most new homeowners are former renters.
When anything goes wrong in their apartment, they simply call the owner or property manager, and they come and fix the problem. When you own the home, you have to arrange for, supervise, and pay for the repair. This takes time (to research possible contractors, be home to let the workers into the house and describe the problem, supervise the work, approve the finished product and issue a payment), knowledge (what is the real cause of the problem, what is the best solution, is the cost reasonable, what are alternative solutions that might be less expensive, what sort of contract should you sign, is the finished product acceptable, what are your guarantees if something goes wrong), and, of course, money.
New homeowners need to be prepared to set aside some funding to cover home repairs, and to find ways to undertake the research and time commitment that are surely going to occur on an annual basis. Some years, particularly if the home is new, the costs will be low, but the next year they may be double the average.In addition to ongoing maintenance, there is the issue of capital improvements. All roofs wear out.
All boilers fail at some point. All windows need to be replaced eventually. The house will need to be painted. These requirements are as certain as the fact that the sun will come up tomorrow. But lenders don’t typically remind new buyers about this, so they are not prepared. These larger and more costly elements of homeownership are typically paid for either through large savings accounts, or through additional loans or re-financing.
New homeowners need to secure a “Capital Needs Survey” before agreeing to a purchase. Properly done, this will inform the buyers of the likely remaining life of the critical elements of their home, and the cost to replace or repair them. That will allow them to make a plan for how that work will be paid for.They might decide to create a “Capital Reserve Fund” -- a savings account of some kind into which they put some money each month, so that when the first big repair comes along, the money will be in the bank.
Or, they may be able to determine that the first big task is far enough away that the combination of increased value of their home, plus the amount of mortgage they have paid off will create enough increased equity that a re-financing of their home will pay for the work. Whatever their solution, it is critical that they plan for this eventuality, because it will happen. The only question is when.In addition to the need to take care of maintenance and capital improvements for the sake of the comfort and functioning of the new home, a critical element in maintaining the financial value of what is probably the first-time homebuyer’s largest asset is its condition.
While the vast majority of homes increase in value over time (with the notable exception of larger events, such as the 2008 financial collapse), a home with a failing roof, leaking windows or chipped and peeling paint is likely to cost the owners even more in reduced re-sale value than it would cost to make the repairs.In short, new homeowners need to consider the entire costs of not just buying the home, but also of owning the home.
What do you recommend as the minimum down payment for a first-time home buyer?In my experience, most new homebuyers are more interested in low monthly payments than they are in the long-term cost of their home over their 30-year mortgage. This would argue for the largest down payment possible. 20% is not uncommon for standard mortgages. It is also true that a large down payment assures there is lots of equity in the house immediately, and it guards against being “underwater,” in the case of a need to sell the house soon after purchase.
On the other hand, many first-time homebuyers find it difficult to put their hands on the money required for a large down payment. If that is the case, and the numbers work at a 5% or 10% figure, I think that is fine.One thing that I strenuously advise against is borrowing the money for any part of the down payment. Banks try hard to make sure this is not the case, because they worry you will pay the down payment lender instead of them if you get in trouble.
But there are many ways to borrow this money without the bank finding out -- friends, family, unregulated internet sources. It is a terrible idea. First you are lying to your primary lender. Second, you are placing obligations on yourself that many decades of experience have shown are not a good idea. Third, if things do go south and you have to forfeit your home, you have also done extremely serious damage to your credit rating, making it all the longer before you will ever be able to buy a home again.
If you don’t have the money for a down payment that will result in a reasonable mortgage payment, don’t buy the house. Keep saving, put off the purchase for a few more years, and buy when your purchase will be affordable and provide a pleasant experience for you for many years.What effect did Trump’s Executive Order increasing the cost of FHA-backed loans have on first-time homebuyers?It just makes it all the harder to afford any purchase.
This order suspended an Obama administration decision to reduce FHA fees for the insurance they issue for mortgages. Most first-time homebuyers will need a mortgage insured by the FHA. They will now pay $400 to $800 more per year for their insurance. Because first-time buyers are likely to buy less expensive homes, their cost will be at the low end of this range, but it will certainly add expense to their purchase -- every year for 30 years.
How can federal, state and local policymakers responsibly and effectively increase home affordability, particularly for first-time homebuyers?In my opinion, decent, affordable housing should be a right in this nation, not a lottery that only about one quarter of those eligible for housing assistance can win. To really take that on (as we said we would in the Housing Act of 1949) would be costly, but not outrageous.
For example, the HUD budget is only about 2% of U.S. discretionary expenditures. It is about $40 billion, as opposed to a military budget of about $540 billion. If we were to be serious about assuring that every American has a decent home, we could do that by shifting $120 billion among line items. Or, we could simply tax ourselves a bit more. Across the world, we are about 30th in average tax burden.
We can do better. Oh, and by the way, permanent, decent, affordable housing is, by far, the cheapest way to house people of modest means -- much less expensive than shelters, hospitals, mental institutions, jails or even taking care of people on the streets. And all the costs of those “housing” accommodations are paid for by the public.As to the specific ways to do this, the first method is probably to put more money into public housing and/or the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.
These forms of subsidy support rental housing constructed by public, non-profit and for-profit organizations. Rental housing is a simpler solution for many families whose current assets are stretched. The public sector could help speed up the time when households are ready to purchase by creating a matching grant for savings accounts maintained by those families. Many public housing authorities and some cities do this today.
The Feds could help.As to homeownership, the federal government could help by lowering the FHA fees (see above) for insurance, providing funds for states or cities to create a limited equity home-purchase program (initial price is subsidized and re-sale must be to an eligible family, at a reduction similar to the original price savings), regulating all lenders, so they do not victimize first-time homebuyers in the same ways that set off the 2008 recession, and providing tax-incentivized savings plans for maintenance and capital improvement reserve accounts.
States could help by improving their building codes with operating costs in mind, as well as health and safety -- energy efficient windows and heating systems, quality materials, and good details. They could also help through some of the same fiscal ideas as the federal government, and by overseeing zoning ordinances and assuring that cities, towns and counties allow building to proceed at a pace that will keep up with demand, so that prices stay reasonable.
Cities and towns could adopt those zoning ordinances and create consumer “labels” that would advise a first-time buyer of the likely costs of owning a particular home -- something like the “Energy Star” ratings that appear on appliances when you shop for them at a retail store.A simple way for cities to help is to establish a first-time homebuyers program that provides advice and counseling for potential new owners.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, such a program has operated successfully for a number of years. There are over 500 homes in this program, and each potential new owner is required to attend the classes prior to seeking a home. Of these homes, there was only one foreclosure during the entire 2008 recession. This demonstrates the vital importance of first-time buyers being well educated, prior to their entrance into what can be an exciting new period in their family’s life.