Delaware County: First Time Home Buyer Program

New home buyers eating pizza next to moving boxesThe Delaware County Homeownership First Program is an excellent opportunity for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers in Delaware County to own their dream homes. The program, managed by the Chester Community Improvement Project, provides pre- and post-purchase homeownership counseling and down payment and closing cost assistance.

This article will outline the eligibility requirements and benefits of the Homeownership First Program, including information on the maximum sale price, mandatory requirements, and 2023 income limits. Read on to learn how you can benefit from this program and become a homeowner in Delaware County.

The Delaware County Homeownership First Program, through the Chester Community Improvement Project, aims to provide low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers in Delaware County with homeownership opportunities. This program offers pre- and post-purchase homeownership counseling, down payment, and closing cost assistance.

Eligible Homebuyers

To qualify for DSHA's Homeownership Program, first-time homebuyers or displaced homemakers must purchase a single-family, owner-occupied residential property that meets County housing quality standards. The program offers financial assistance, including a down payment for qualified buyers at a market interest rate.

The program is open to moderate-income individuals looking to buy a home, and eligible property types include detached, twin, rowhouse, townhouse, or apartment condominium. Please note that the program does not cover properties in and paying property taxes to Chester City, Haverford Township, or Upper Darby Township. Additionally, FHA loans are not a requirement to participate in the program.

Homebuyer Assistance

If you're interested in purchasing a home as an owner-occupied buyer, you may qualify for downpayment and closing cost assistance through our program. Eligibility requirements include evaluating each applicant's income, credit history, and available assets. Qualified applicants can receive up to $10,000 in assistance, a 0% interest loan that must be repaid upon the sale or transfer of the property or refinancing for debt consolidation. 

The loan may be subordinated if refinanced for a lower interest rate. Homeowners who remain in their homes for at least five years in designated Revitalization Areas may have their loans forgiven. A second mortgage may also be available, depending on your financial situation.

Primary Lenders

Eligible low-income homebuyers must secure a first mortgage with a local bank or mortgage company. The mortgage interest rates and fees may be discounted to encourage first-time buyers. The first mortgages must be a 30-year fixed rate, at or below the market interest rate, with no more than three (3) points charged, and have a minimum 90% loan-to-value ratio (10% down payment). 

The mortgages are repayable upon the sale or transfer of the home, and homebuyers must make a down payment and participate in homeownership counseling. The maximum sale price and home equity are determined by quotes from at least two housing and community partners.

Minimum Contribution

To qualify for payment assistance, homebuyers must contribute a minimum of $1,000 towards the overall loan amount. Most mortgage lenders will require a down payment of at least 3.5% of the sales price, which can come from the borrower's savings. The annual mortgage interest rate may also be a factor when considering refinancing.

Lender requirements may vary, but borrowers should generally have liquid assets less than $15,000 at the time of application and after settlement, excluding retirement funds. Homebuyer assistance programs may also be available to help with down payment and closing costs.

Home Buyer Education

If you are looking to purchase a home in Delaware but require some financial assistance, various assistance programs are available. One such program is housing counseling, which includes eight hours of group homeownership counseling and at least one individual counseling session. 

Qualified individuals may be able to purchase a home at the standard market rate. Your eligibility will be evaluated based on your gross annual income limits and other additional requirements.

Additionally, a minimum contribution may be required, ranging from a small amount to a certain percentage of your overall loan. However, upon completing the homeownership counseling and establishing good credit in Delaware, you may be issued a Certificate of Achievement to help make owning your primary residence more achievable.

Maximum Sale Price

The maximum sale price for a property under this program is $290,000.

2023 Income Limits

To qualify for the Homeownership First Program, the household income of all household members, eighteen years of age or older, who will be residing in the new property must not exceed 80% of the Median Family Income (MFI) for the area. The MAXIMUM gross annual income limits based on household size are:

2023 Income Limits

Household Size  
80% Area Median Income (June 2023)* 
1 person$62,500


In conclusion, the Delaware County Homeownership First Program offers a valuable opportunity for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers in the area to achieve their goal of homeownership. Managed by the Chester Community Improvement Project, this program provides essential support through counseling and financial assistance.

By outlining the eligibility requirements, benefits, and income limits of the program, individuals can make informed decisions about pursuing this opportunity. Take advantage of this initiative to turn your dream of owning a home in Delaware County into reality. Embrace the chance to invest in your future and secure a place to call your own through the Homeownership First Program.

For More Information Contact CCIP at (610) 876-8663

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


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