Buying Your First Home Just Got a Little Easier
- The IRS has extended and expanded the first-time homebuyer credit deadlines for purchasing and closing on a home, authorizes the credit for long-time homeowners buying or replacing principal residence, and raises the income limitations for homeowners claiming the credit.
- The loan-to-grant application process begins once a buyer signs an agreement of sale to purchase a home. Employee Benefit Services assists employees who are interested in purchasing a home within one of the designated areas in obtaining their $5,000 check made payable to the title agency.
- In addition to the loan-to-grant program, employees are encouraged to take advantage of many resources that are available to provide guidance, and possibly additional funding, when purchasing a home in Chester.
Are you looking to buy a home, but need additional financial assistance to qualify for a mortgage or want to hold on to some cash? In addition to Crozer-Keystone’s loan-to-grant program and the other homebuyer assistance program available throughout Delaware County, the IRS has also made it easier to purchase a home.
That’s right, the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extends and expandsthe first-time homebuyer credit deadlines for purchasing and closing on a home, authorizes the credit for long-time homeowners buying or replacing a principal residence, and raises the income limitations for homeowners claiming the credit.
That means that low-income buyers and married couples earning as much as $225,000 ($125,000 if you are single) may qualify for an $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit or a $6,500 repeat buyer tax credit. To qualify for the tax credit, the home purchase must occur before April 30, 2010 or June 30, 2010 if a binding sales contract is in force before April 30. A realtor or tax advisor can fill you in on all of the additional details related to this great incentive.
Recently, three Crozer-Keystone employees unlocked the doors to their newly purchased homes in Chester, thanks to some hard work on their part, several homebuyer assistance programs and the availability of the tax credit.
“I am very excited about owning my first home. The Employee Benefit Services department was very helpful. I have a newly constructed home. I am close to work, and with the help of the $5,000 loan-to-grant program, I saved money,” says Denise Robinson from Crozer-Chester Medical Center’s Environmental Services department. “It was a great way to start the New Year.”
Stephanie Alexander, who works in the Medical Records department at Crozer, agrees with Robinson. “Buying my first home was a learning experience. It is a long process, but the experience was positive. Living in the area allows me to be close to work and my family; that was very important,” Alexander says. “I am in the process of having renovations done but could not have done it without the support of the program. I am deeply appreciative for the $5,000 loan-to-grant and this could not have been possible without Crozer-Keystone.”
“Employee Benefit Services provides assistance and resources to employees who are interested in purchasing a home within the designated areas near Crozer and Widener University, or near Community Hospital. We try to provide all of the tools necessary to have a successful transaction. Our goal is for you to have a home of your own. It is very rewarding to hear of employees taking advantage of this program,” says Eugene Zegar, vice president of Human Resources for Crozer-Keystone Health System.
The loan-to-grant application process begins once a buyer signs an agreement of sale to purchase a home. Employee Benefit Services assists employees who are interested in purchasing a home within one of the designated areas in obtaining their $5,000 check made payable to the title agency. A copy of the mortgage commitment letter with a scheduled closing date is required for the funds to be disbursed. The Crozer-Keystone homebuyer funds can be used in conjunction with any existing homebuyer program.
The ongoing conditions of the loan are simple. If you remain employed in a benefit-eligible position with Crozer-Keystone and if the house will be your main residence for the duration of the five-year loan, you do not have to repay it. If you cease to meet these requirements, a pro-rated repayment is required.
In addition to the loan-to-grant program, employees are encouraged to take advantage of many local resources that are available to provide guidance, and possibly additional funding, when purchasing a home. The Chester Community Improvement Project (CCIP), for example, provides pre-purchase mortgage counseling to first-time. low- to moderate-income individuals interested in purchasing a home in the City of Chester and Delaware County. The program prepares applicants to secure mortgages, understand fair housing practices, select a realtor, and learn more about home inspections, home maintenance and settlement.
CCIP also provides guidance to potential buyers who may have credit problems. Several Crozer-Keystone employees have already taken advantage of these resources and have been able to improve their credit ratings enough to qualify for a mortgage. Employees are encouraged to contact Larry Douglas, Housing Program manager, at (610) 876-8663 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the programs offered, including homebuyer seminars.
Franklin Mint Credit Union (FMFCU) has collaborated with both Widener and Crozer-Keystone to make the home buying process easier for their employees by offering a lower mortgage rate discount to employees who obtain their mortgages through FMCU. Additionally, FMCU offers free pre-approvals for eligible employees, a full suite of mortgage products, and credit counseling with Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley.
“I encourage employees to take advantage of this incredible opportunity. Not only did the $5,000 grant from Crozer-Keystone help me buy my home, but also the tax credit from the IRS and other resources in the community made purchasing a home easier,” says Kendra Queen, medical assistant at the Crozer-Keystone Center for Women’s Health, located in Wilmington, Del.
For Crozer-Keystone employees, the program is administered by the Employee Benefit Services department. For more information and details, contact Susan Winkles at (610) 595-6387 (19-6387) or visit the “My Finances” page of www.crozerbenefits.org.