Columbia County First Time Home Buyer Program

House with a sold signFirst-time homebuyers, take note!
The Community Strategies Group assists qualified homeowners in Columbia County with down payment assistance. The housing authority will match the required 3% down payment, dollar for dollar. Any amount invested over the minimum of 3% will be matched dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $5,000 or 10% of the sales price, whichever is less.

If the borrower(s) produces a signed "gift letter" from the person or people who gave the gift, monetary contributions from parents or other relatives will be regarded as the borrower's equity.

The closing-cost assistance comes in the form of a second mortgage backed by a lien on the property. The loan has no interest charges or monthly installments.

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

Following settlement, the borrower(s) may not have more than $8,000 in liquid assets. Liquid assets include checking and profit-sharing accounts (where cash may be withdrawn without penalty), bonds, stocks, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, and savings accounts.

Who is considered a First Time Home Buyer?

A first-time house buyer is defined as "someone who did not own 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 owned property with a previous spouse when they were married.

Someone who is referred to as a "single parent" is someone who:

(a) is a mother-to-be.
(b) has primary or joint custody of one or more minor children, or (c) is divorced or lawfully separated from a spouse, and

A woman who was displaced as a housewife and exclusively owned with her husband.

A woman who is referred to as a "displaced homemaker" is one who is...

(a) is underemployed, unemployed, or having difficulty finding or progressing in employment.
(b) has not worked full-time in the labor sector for many years, but has worked mainly without pay to care for the home and family; and (c) is an adult.

An individual who has only possessed a prefabricated house that has not been permanently connected to a permanent foundation in accordance with applicable regulations.

What is covered by the grant?

The grant may be used to cover the following closing expenses when purchasing a qualifying property:

  • 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?

Qualified residences include single-family homes, condominiums, and planned-unit developments (PUDs).

Manufactured homes are eligible if they are installed on a solid foundation, have sewage and water connections, the title has been suspended, and the hitch and axles have been removed. Properties may be existing or new, and they must serve as the borrower's main residence (s).

Is there a maximum purchase price?

The maximum purchase price of a property is determined by an approved financial institution using normal underwriting criteria for the first mortgage (i.e. VA, USDA, conventional home-loans).

The purchasing price analysis takes into account debt ratios, employment, credit history, and other variables.

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