Columbia County First Time Home Buyer Program

House with a sold signThe Community Strategies Group provides down payment help to eligible homeowners in Columbia County.

The housing authority will subsidize the necessary 3% down payment on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
Any amount invested over 3% will be matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000 or 10% of the sales price, whichever is smaller.

If the borrower(s) presents a signed "gift letter" from the person or persons who made the gift, monetary donations from parents or other relatives will be considered equity.

The help with closing costs is provided in the form of a second mortgage secured by a lien on the property. There are no interest charges or monthly payments associated with this loan.

The second mortgage must be repaid if . . .

  • 2 years after the initial mortgage is paid off
  • The house is no longer the borrower's main residence
  • Property refinancing
  • Property transfer
  • Property sale

The borrower(s) may not have more than $8,000 in liquid assets after settlement.
Checking and profit-sharing accounts (from which cash may be taken without penalty), bonds, equities, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, and savings accounts are all examples of liquid assets.

Who is considered a First Time Home Buyer?

The term "first-time home buyer" refers to "anyone who has not owned a home in the three years before the selling date."

A spouse is included in this (if either meets the above requirement, they are considered First Time Home Buyers).

A single parent who has only ever co-owned property with a former spouse throughout their marriage.

A "single parent" is someone who:

(a) is a pregnant woman.

(b) is the main or shared custodial parent of one or more minor children; or (c) is divorced or legally separated from a spouse; and

A woman who was displaced from her position as a housewife and co-owned solely with her husband.

A "displaced homemaker" is a woman who is...

(a) is underemployed, jobless, or has difficulties finding or advancing in work.

(b) has not worked in the labor market on a full-time basis for many years, but has labored mostly unpaid to care for the house and family; and (c) is an adult.

A person who owned just a prefabricated home that was not permanently linked to a permanent foundation in line with relevant laws.

What is covered by the grant?

When buying an eligible property, the grant may be used to pay the following closing costs:

  • 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

What kinds of properties are allowed?

Single-family houses, condos, and planned-unit complexes all qualify as qualified dwellings (PUDs).

Manufactured houses are eligible for this program if they are placed on a firm foundation, have sewage and water connections, have had their titles suspended, and have had their hitch and axles removed.
Existing or new properties are acceptable, but they must serve as the borrower's primary home (s).

Is there a maximum purchase price?

The maximum purchase price of a property is set by an approved financial institution based on standard first mortgage underwriting requirements (i.e. VA, USDA, conventional home-loans).

The purchasing price analysis considers debt ratios, employment, credit history, and a variety of other factors.

Is there an income limit?

Borrower(s)' maximum family income cannot exceed the income limitations established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Current Section 8 Program. Family income should equal or fall within 80% of the median income.

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