ACCESS Home Modification
The ACCESS Home Modification Program provides mortgage loans to assist persons with disabilities or who have a family member(s) living in the household with disabilities who are purchasing a home that needs accessibility modifications. This program provides a deferred payment loan, with no interest, and no monthly payment. The loan becomes due and payable upon sale, transfer, or non-owner occupancy of the property.
Applicants must meet the requirements of the ACCESS Home Modification program which are listed below:
- Applicants must be homebuyers who are persons with a permanent disability or have a family member(s) living in the household with a permanent disability who are purchasing a new or existing home with a loan originated through one of the Agency's homeownership loan programs.
- Applicants may apply for any of the Agency's first mortgage programs (i.e., Keystone Home Loan, Keystone Government Loan, HFA Preferred™(Lo MI), HFA Preferred Risk Sharing™(No MI).
- Applicants must meet the underwriting guidelines for the first mortgage program in which they are applying. Refer to Seller's Guide Appendix A: Limits - Keystone Home Loan for program guidelines.
Eligible Home Modifications
Home modifications should be designed to meet the needs of the person with the physical disability who will be residing in the home. Eligible modification items may include, but are not limited to the following.
- bathroom modifications
- installation of grab bars and handrails
- kitchen modifications
- lifting devices
- main level bathroom or bedroom addition
- ramp addition or repair
- sidewalk addition or repair
- widening doorways or hallways
Downpayment and/or Closing Cost Assistance
In addition to the ACCESS Modification Program, some applicants may qualify for downpayment and/or closing cost assistance through the HOMEstead Assistance or the ACCESS Downpayment and Closing Cost Assistance loan programs.
If HOMEstead assistance is used in conjunction with the ACCESS Modification Program, the types of modifications will be limited to those that will not disturb any painted surfaces, unless the home was built after January 1, 1978. For homes built prior to 1978 where the modifications may disturb painted surfaces, the borrower cannot use HOMEstead assistance but may use the ACCESS assistance if needed and if eligible.
Rates and Fees
ACCESS mortgage loans are interest free and have no fees.
- Not less than $1,000 and no more than $10,000. Funds will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- ACCESS Home Modification loans are available in addition to any downpayment and/or closing cost assistance or HOMEstead funds for which the applicants may qualify. These additional mortgages will NOT be factored into maximum loan-to-value financing limitations.
- This is a non-interest bearing loan with no monthly payment. The loan becomes due and payable upon sale, transfer, or non-owner occupancy of the property.
Applicants are responsible for determining what accessible modifications are required. Most Local Centers for Independent Living and Area Agencies on Aging can provide technical assistance in making this determination. The applicant is to provide the lender with a proposal completed by a general contractor of choice, detailing the modification improvements that will be needed to make the home accessible.
Upon completion of your application, the lender will perform a preliminary review of the construction proposal submitted by the applicant, which includes the specifications, cost estimates, and drawings of the work to be completed. A contract, signed by the applicant and the contractor, is required before the lender can send the loan package to PHFA for final approval. (NOTE: The contract should include a clause stating that its implementation is contingent upon approval of the mortgage loan).
At closing, the lender will hold the ACCESS Home Modification funds in an escrow account, pending completion of the modifications. Should there be an increase in costs during the modification/improvement period which takes the cost of the project over the amount approved, the borrower must fund the amount of the increase.
The lender will disburse the funds and secure the certificate of completion. The improvements must be completed within 90 days of the closing. All funds disbursed must be used for the accessibility modification improvements. Any unused ACCESS Home Modification Loan funds must be refunded to the Agency.
How to Apply
If you meet the conditions above, contact a PHFA participating lender to start your mortgage application. PHFA also offers homebuyers the opportunity to receive homebuyer counseling and education free of charge through one of its approved counseling agencies. We strongly encourage you to seek the assistance of a counselor before you sign a sales agreement, especially if you are a first-time buyer. Any borrower with a FICO credit score lower than 680 is required to complete a course prior to closing on their loan.
If your lender of choice is not included on PHFA's participating lender list, you may direct them to the instructions on how to apply for PHFA approval so that they can offer PHFA mortgage financing programs.
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. A PHFA approved homebuyer education provider or participating lender can help you decide.