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Are you ready to start the search for your first home? Before you look at listings, you should research first time home buyer programs.

First time home buyer programs simplify the purchasing process for people new to real estate. Not only do the programs provide assistance in buying, but you may even qualify for better long-term mortgage rates.

Every first time buyer should check out their local home buying programs, but you need to know: a first time home buyer program isn’t free money. Keep reading for an introduction to first time home buyer programs in Bucks County, PA.

What is the First Time Home Buyer Program in Bucks County, PA?

Are you ready to buy a home and prefer to buy in Bucks County? Then you may qualify for the Bucks County Housing Group’s assistance loan.

An assistance loan covers the essential costs of buying a home. The program allows you to use the loan for a down payment or even as closing cost assistance.

How much can you borrow? The Bucks County First Time Homebuyer Program allows participants to borrow up to $10,000 at an interest rate of 0%. You don’t even need to make a monthly payment. Instead, you repay the assistance loan when you:

  • Take out additional debt
  • Sell the property
  • Transfer the title of the property

In other words, you only repay the loan when you sell.

Using the funds can help you buy a home faster, save cash for repairs or other programs, and give you a helping hand more generally. However, you must first qualify for the assistance loan. To do that, you need to meet specific guidelines.

How to Qualify for the First Time Home Buyer Program

To qualify, you must be a first-time buyer (or haven’t owned a home in the past three years) and contribute 3% of the purchase price unless you are a veteran borrowing with a VA loan.

There are also income requirements. You cannot earn over the HUD income threshold for a four-member household. In 2019, the median income was $90,100.

Additionally, you must have at least six months of residency in the county unless you or your co-borrower is enlisted active military service. The program also goes a step further: you or your co-borrower must have worked in Bucks County for at least the past year.

In other words, you can’t pick up and move to Bucks County to enjoy the assistance loan. You need demonstrable ties to the county. The county says it will consider an exception to the program’s requirements on a case-by-case basis.

What Kind of Home Can You Buy with the First Time Home Buyer Program?

Using the Bucks County assistance loan does limit your property choice. The maximum purchase price of the house must be at or below the single-family loan limit for Bucks County, which the Federal Housing Administration provides each year. In 2020, the FHA limits for Bucks County include:

  • Single-family home: $408,250
  • Duplex: $522,600
  • Tri-plex: $631,750
  • Four-plex: $785,100

For reference, the median sale price in Bucks County is $355,000, so finding a property in your budget and under the FHA guide price is very possible.

Once you find your property, you must also get it inspected. At a minimum, you need to provide:

  • Home inspection by a certified home inspector
  • Appraisal by state-certified real estate appraiser
  • Lead paint disclosure (for properties before 1978)
  • Flood certification

If you have questions about further requirements, you can ask the county for a complete list and explanation of what’s needed to access the assistance loan. The contact telephone number for the program is 215-394-8259.

Do You Have to Take Credit Counseling Sessions?

Most first time home buyer programs require all participants to take part in credit counseling sessions. Local governments believe counseling is the key to the success of their programs.

What happens during your credit counseling sessions? These lessons are a primer in financial success. You will learn about:

  • Budgeting
  • Saving
  • Credit history
  • Criteria for mortgage approval
  • Ownership tips

Ultimately, the credit counselor helps clients determine whether homeownership is a good idea for you. If they have concerns, they let you know what needs to happen for you to be ready for your first home. Why is it so important? Credit counseling removes some of the surprises associated with the home purchase process, so you can buy your first home and stay in it.

What Other First Time Buyer Programs Are Available?

The first time home buyer programs in Bucks County, PA exist to help lower the barriers to homeownership and encourage people to stay in the county. It’s a win-win for residents and the local government. However, the loan assistance program isn’t your only option.

You can also find support from the state and federal government, usually in the form of low-cost mortgages or other assistance loans.

For example, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency also allows you to borrow your down payment or closing costs. It also offers mortgages, refinancing, and home improvement loan products.

At the national level, you can borrow using:

  • Federal Housing Administration loans
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans

However, you cannot use the Bucks County program when you borrow using certain USDA loans.

Each program has unique eligibility and purchase requirements, but most typically cater to those who:

  • Aren’t able to save substantial deposits
  • Make around the median income in their area
  • Meet a minimum credit score requirement
  • Complete credit counseling or homebuyer education

The programs also place limits on the amount you can borrow, so make sure you let your agent know what type of home buying programs you intend to use.

Are You Ready to Buy a Home in Bucks County PA?

Whether you are about to purchase your very first home or you want to buy again after renting for years, you have options to make the transition go smoothly. The first time home buyer programs in Bucks County PA make it simple for renters in the area to transition into homeownership by borrowing a deposit or closing costs. Even better, you don’t need to repay the loan until you sell.

Are you on the hunt for your new home? Get in touch to let us know what your dream home looks like.

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