Requirements to Buy a House in Pennsylvania

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If you are wondering whether you can get a home loan in Pennsylvania, you have several options. First, you may qualify for a conventional loan from a bank if you have good credit, steady income and a reasonable down payment. If you want or need an alternative route, you may qualify for specialized loans through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). There are several types of "Keystone" loans that are available through this agency to potential home buyers.

Basic Keystone Home Loans

To qualify for the standard Keystone Home Loan Program, you must meet six conditions. First you must either be a first-time home buyer, a discharged veteran from the U.S. armed services or planning on buying a home in a PHFA "Targeted Area." Second, your gross household income cannot exceed the Keystone Home Loan Program limit, which ranges between about $75,000 and $110,000 depending on the region and number of adults per household. Third, your home's purchase price cannot exceed the loan program's limit, which ranges from about $240,000 to $420,000 depending on the region. Fourth, you must have an acceptable credit history and the ability to pay monthly mortgage payments. Fifth, you must be able to pay for mortgage application and closing fees outside of the loan. Finally, you must have a sufficient down payment for the type of loan you are seeking.

Keystone Home Loan PLUS Program

To qualify for this program, you must meet the six standard requirements under the Keystone Home Loan Program as well as four more. First, all residents of the home must be first-time home buyers regardless of where the home is located. Second, the gross household income cannot exceed program limits, which range from about $40,000 to about $90,000, depending on the number of adult occupants and the area. Third, the purchase price cannot exceed program limits, which range from about $190,000 to $335,000 depending on the region. Finally, household liquid assets cannot be greater than $5,000 after deducting the amount needed for closing costs.

Keystone Government Loan Program

If you want to pursue a home loan that is insured or guaranteed through federal agencies like the Federal Housing Authority, Rural Development or the Department of Veterans' Affairs, you should apply through the Keystone Government Loan Program. This program provides loans that are underwritten with guidelines from the respective agencies. This program differs slightly from the regular Keystone Home Loan Program in several ways: eligibility is determined via the federal agency, not the PHFA; there are no income or price limits specific to the PHFA, although federal guidelines still apply and; you do not have to be a first-time home buyer.

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About the Author

Gina Poirier has a professional background in nonprofit administration and management, primarily with youth development organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of Washington and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

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