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Columbia County, PA -  First Time Home Buyer Program

Nice house with sold signAttention first time home buyers! The Community Strategies Group offers down payment assistance to qualified home buyers who desire to buy a home in Columbia County. The housing authority will match, dollar for dollar, the required 3% down payment. Any dollar amount beyond the required 3% investment will be matched dollar for dollar up to a maximum amount of $5,000 or 10% of the sales price, whichever is less.

Monetary gifts from parents or other relatives will be treated as borrower’s equity if the borrower(s) provides a signed “gift letter” from the person or persons who provided the gift.


The closing cost assistance is a second mortgage secured by a lien against the property. There are no interest charges or monthly payments on the loan.

The second mortgage must be repaid if . . .

- 2 years after the first mortgage is paid off
- The home is no longer the primary residence of the borrower
- Refinancing of the property
- Transfer of the property
- Sale of the property

Borrower(s) may not have liquid assets greater than $8,000 after settlement. Liquid assets are defined as assets that can be easily converted to cash and includes checking and profit sharing accounts (if funds can be withdrawn without penalty), bonds, stocks, money market accounts, certificates of deposit and savings accounts

The term “first-time home buyer” is defined as . . .
Someone who did not own a home during the three year period ending on the date of sale of the home. This also includes a spouse (if either meets the above requirement, they are considered first-time home buyers).

A single parent who has only owned with a former spouse while married. The term “single parent” means an individual who:

(a) is pregnant.
(b) has 1 or more minor children for whom the individual has custody or joint custody or
(c) is unmarried or legally separated from a spouse and

An individual who is a displaced homemaker and has only owned with a spouse. The term “displaced homemaker” means an individual who . . .

(a) is underemployed, unemployed or and is experiencing difficulty in obtaining or upgrading employment.
(b) has not worked full time full year in the work force for many years but has during such years, worked mainly without compensation to care for the home and family; and
(c) is an adult;

An individual who has only owned a principal residence (manufactured housing) not permanently affixed to a permanent foundation in accordance with applicable regulations.

The assistance grant can be used for the following closing costs associated with the purchase of an qualified home:

abstract or title search appraisal fee attorney’s fees credit report document preparation
down payment
private mortgage insurance premium for the first year flood insurance premium
floodplain examination fees
hazard insurance premium
lender’s inspection fee
loan application fee
loan origination fee
notary fees
pest inspection
prepaid interest
real estate tax
recording fees,
reporting service fee
settlement or closing fees
survey
tax adjustments paid to seller
tax and insurance escrows
title examination
title insurance
title insurance binder
transfer taxes

Qualified residences include single family homes, condominiums and planned-unit developments (PUDs). Manufactured housing is eligible if placed on a permanent foundation, sewage connections are provided, and permanent water, the title has been suspended, and the hitch, and axles have been removed. Properties may be existing or new and serve as the principal residence of borrower(s).

The maximum purchase price of a home is determined by an approved financial institutions using normal underwriting guidelines for the first mortgage (i.e. VA, USDA, conventional home loans). The purchase price analysis include but are not limited to: debt ratios, employment, credit history, etc.

The maximum household income of borrower(s) shall not exceed the income guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Current Section 8 Program.

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA)

A good alternative to the Columbia County home buyer program is the State of Pennsylvania (PHFA) home loan programs for first time home buyers and non-first time home buyers, including down payment and/or closing cost assistance up to $6,000. Read more
Last updated 1/2020

Credit Counseling & First Time Home Buyer Classes in Columbia County PA