Philadelphia County: First-Time Home Buyer

Homebuyer Assistance Program in Philadelphia

Happy Philly home buyers moving boxesAre you planning to buy your first home in Philadelphia but worried about the down payment and closing costs? The City of Philadelphia has an excellent offer to make your dream come true. The Homebuyer Assistance Program provides a grant of up to $10,000 or 6% of the home's purchase price to assist first-time homebuyers with reducing the principal, covering down payment, and loan closing costs.

However, to be eligible for this grant, you must fulfill specific criteria, such as completing an accessible homeownership counseling program funded by the City and purchasing a single-family home or duplex in Philadelphia. Please keep reading to learn more about the Homebuyer Assistance Program and how to apply for it.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. To qualify for the grant, you must meet the following requirements:
  2. Be a first-time homebuyer* or haven't owned a home in the past three years.
  3. Complete an accessible homeownership counseling program funded by the City before signing an Agreement of Sale. Purchase a single-family home or duplex in Philadelphia (no condominiums). 

Homeownership Counseling Program

The Homeownership Counseling Program in Philadelphia is a crucial part of the Homebuyer Assistance Program, designed to help first-time homebuyers make informed decisions about their principal residence purchases. Before signing an Agreement of Sale, you must complete a free counseling session with a City-funded housing counseling agency.

Here you will be introduced to different financing options as a first-time homebuyer, including the Keystone Home Loan program. This program has been available to those without homes within the last three years. The counseling sessions will teach you everything you need about home buying and homeownership, ensuring a successful and stress-free first-time home purchase.

  • Purchasing a home within your budget
  • Avoiding dangerous mortgages
  • Rights and responsibilities of homeowners
  • Mortgage application/purchase processes
  • Improving credit, credit repair, and credit maintenance
  • Money management Home maintenance
  • Avoiding foreclosure Deeds and other legal housing documents

Income Guidelines

Family Size Maximum Annual
Household Income
1 $73,800
2 $84,350
3 $94,900
4 $105,400
5 $113,850
6 $122,300
7 $130,700
8 $139,500
More than 8
add per person
$8,450

Applying for the Grant

Contact a City-funded housing counseling agency. They will need the following:

  1. Total annual family income
  2. Source of income (employment, SSI, DPA, etc.) 
  3. Number of family members who will live in the house

The City of Philadelphia wants you to become a successful homeowner. Don't miss this opportunity to turn your dream into reality. Apply for the Homebuyer Assistance Program today!

*The term "first-time homebuyer" includes a person who has not owned a principal residence during the three years before the home purchase.

Download the Philly First Home Flyers:

Credit Counseling & First Time Home Buyer Classes in Philadelphia County, PA

Alternative Loan Programs

Are you looking to purchase a home in Pennsylvania? Plenty of financing options are available through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) for first-time home buyers and non-first-time buyers who purchase a home in "targeted" counties.

PHFA offers competitive interest rates, fewer fees, and 30-year, fixed-rate terms that can be used with conventional, FHA, VA, or RD loan types. Additionally, PHFA offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs. Here are some of the most popular loan programs available through PHFA:

  1. HFA Preferred™(Lo MI): This loan requires a 3% down payment and is subject to PMI with less than a 20% down payment. However, the PMI is less than a non-PHFA mortgage.
  2. Keystone Home Loan Program: This program is designed for first-time home buyers with a 20% down payment, although applicants may not have owned a principal residence for at least 36 months. Income and property value limitations apply.
  3. Keystone Government Loan Program: USDA, FHA, and VA loans are available for first mortgage financing, and there are income or purchase price restrictions. You do not need to be a first-time home buyer to qualify.
  4. Keystone Flex with K-FIT: This program allows you to purchase a home, pick up a 10-year forgivable loan, or roll in some rehab money. There is also a refinance option.
  5. Keystone Forgivable in Ten Years Loan Program (K-fit): This program gives you up to the lesser of 5% of the sales price or appraised value toward your down payment and closing costs, and the loan is forgiven over ten years if you remain in the home.
  6. Keystone Advantage Assistance Loan: This loan is available to buyers with a middle credit score of at least 660 who qualify for a PHFA first mortgage under the Keystone Loan, Keystone Government Loan programs, or HFA Preferred mortgage program. Qualified homebuyers may borrow a part of the money necessary to satisfy their down payment requirement and closing fees via Advantage. PHFA services your mortgage for the life of the loan.

Conclusion

If you are a first-time homebuyer in Philadelphia, the Homebuyer Assistance Program may offer you a valuable homebuyer assistance grant. This program is primarily intended for those seeking to purchase a home for the first time or who may have previously only owned a home while married.

The Homebuyer Assistance Program grants up to $10,000 or 6% of the home's purchase price. This funding can help cover down payments and loan closing costs, ultimately making it easier to secure a home loan.

To be eligible for this grant, you must have completed a City-funded homeownership counseling program and plan on purchasing a single-family home or duplex in Philadelphia. You cannot have sold a home within the past five years.

The counseling program offered by the Homebuyer Assistance Program provides valuable information on various topics, such as money management, home maintenance, and the mortgage application process. Taking Advantage of this counseling can be a precious part of becoming a first-time homeowner.

If you want to purchase a home in Philadelphia, explore the Homebuyer Assistance Program offered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. With this program's help, you can become a successful homebuyer and achieve your dream of homeownership.

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