Mark Shanaman


PHFA Loan Programs

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PHFA Low down Payment Home Loan Programs for Berks and Chester County PA


Keystone Home Loan Programs


The program that is best for you will depend on your specific circumstances and will be  dependent on your credit history and amount of cash saved, and your preferences. I will guide you to a participating lender who will find out if you're eligible for a low-rate, 30-year fixed PHFA home loan.

You may be eligible for a Keystone Home Loan if you meet the following six conditions:

1. Keystone Home loan programs are available to first time home owners, or homeowners who have previously owners a home before. First time home buyer is defined as someone who has not owned (had Title to) their principal residence during the previous three years.

2. The gross annual household income for all adults that intend to occupy the home within one year from loan closing does not exceed the Keystone Home Loan Program income limit. All sources of income must be included, except for income received by persons under age 18 and income received by dependants enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program.

                 Berks County - Purchase price limit $276,000 - Income limits - 1&2 member households $74,300 -  3 or more $85,600

                Chester County - Purchase price limit $387,000 - Income limits - 1&2 member households $95,000 - 3 or more $110,800

                 Lancaster County - Purchase price limit $354,000 - Income limits - 1&2 member households $78,700 - 3 or more $91,800


3.  You must have an acceptable credit history and the ability to make the monthly payments on the home you buy. Rule of thumb, you should plan to use no more than 30 percent, of your gross income for your monthly mortgage payment. I will help find you a lender, to help you determine how much of a home you can afford, as well as any credit issues you may need to work on.

4. You have sufficient funds to pay standard mortgage application and closing fees. (some of the closing cost/down payment can be borrowed if you qualify, see Keystone Advantage Closing Cost below).These would commonly include credit reports, appraisals, title fees, etc. Generally Conventional loans require a 5%, or more down payment. You should have sufficient funds for a downpayment on your prospective home. The downpayment can come as a gift from an immediate family member (parent, sibling, child, grandparent, aunt or uncle) or a nonprofit organization.

FHA loans: These loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and require a borrower to have a 3.5 percent (3.5 %) minimum investment. VA and RD loan: VA and RD loan: Loans guaranteed by either the Veterans Administration (VA) or Rural Development (RD) require no downpayment in most cases. RD loans are not available in some areas of dense population. I will assist you in determining if the home is eligible. 

5. Any borrower with a FICO credit score lower than 680 is required to complete a course prior to closing on their loan.


Keystone Advantage Assistance Closing Cost Loan Program


The Keystone Advantage Assistance Loan Program provides a second mortgage loan to help with the costs for the purchase of a home. Qualified borrowers can receive up to 4% of the purchase price, or $6,000 (whichever is less) in downpayment and closing cost assistance to be repaid monthly.

The assistance loan will be amortized over a ten year term at zero percent (0%) interest. The Keystone Advantage Assistance can be used in conjunction with the following PHFA first mortgage home purchase loan programs: HFA Preferred™(Lo MI),HFA Preferred Risk Sharing™(No MI),Keystone Government Loan, orKeystone Home loan (FHA, VA, or RD loan types only). The program that is best for you will depend on your specific circumstances, such as your credit history and amount of cash savings, as well as your individual preferences.

 Buyers must meet the requirements of the applicable PHFA first mortgage program, and must also meet the requirements associated with the Keystone Advantage Program which are listed below:


1. The Keystone Advantage Assistance requires all borrowers to have a minimum credit score of 660.

2. Assistance can only be used for the minimum required downpayment and/or closing costs.

3. The minimum loan amount is $500.

4. Borrower(s) assets may not be greater than $50,000 after deducting the funds needed to close on the loan. This includes cash and funds in checking and savings accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit and similar liquid accounts. Funds from retirement accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs and pension funds will only be considered if they can be withdrawn without a penalty, due to borrower meeting the age requirement, or being retired.

Keystone Advantage Assistance closing cost loans may be used on Conventional, FHA, VA or RD loans. All applicable FHA, VA or RD loan underwriting requirements apply, including loan to value and downpayment requirements.


Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

A unique benefit to using a PHFA loan is the Mortage Credit certificate (MCC). This allows homebuyers to claim a tax credit for 50% of the mortgage interest paid per year, capped at $2,000 annually. It is a dollar-for-dollar reduction against your federal tax liability.

The MCC is available to qualified homebuyers in conjunction with the following PHFA first mortgage home purchase loan programs:

  • HFA Preferred™(Lo MI),
  • HFA Preferred Risk Sharing™(No MI), or
  • Keystone Government Loan

The MCC may also be combined with a Keystone Advantage Assistance loan. The MCC cannot be used in conjunction with the Keystone Home loan.

I will guide you through the process and help you find a lender that can determine if you qualify for all of these programs. call, text, or email me today so we can get started towards your dream of home ownership.


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