Where Do I Start?

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA or the Agency) offers home purchase loans and refinance loans to qualified borrowers throughout the Commonwealth. Competitive 30 year fixed interest rates, lower fees, and closing cost and downpayment assistance programs are just some of the many benefits of a PHFA mortgage.

  1. First, contact a participating lender or counseling agency.
  2. PHFA offers homebuyers the opportunity to receive homebuyer counseling and education 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. PHFA requires borrowers with a FICO credit score lower than 680 to complete a course in person prior to closing on their loan. The counselor will be able to determine if you are ready for a home loan, and if so, how much of a home you can afford. If you're not ready, they can help you develop a plan.
  3. The next step would be to contact one of our participating lenders. PHFA does not handle the mortgage application process. Instead, we have a network of lenders and brokers throughout the state who will process and close your loan. We then buy the loan from them immediately following the loan closing (also referred to as Settlement). So, you would be making your mortgage payment directly to PHFA for the life of your loan.
  4. PHFA offers the following different mortgage programs. The one you choose will depend on your individual situation. A PHFA-approved counselor or lender can help you decide which is best suited for you.
    • HFA Preferred™(Lo MI): With this loan, mortgage insurance is provided by one of several private mortgage insurance companies when the borrower puts down less than 20 percent towards the purchase of the home. Your lender will help you determine what the premium will cost for your specific situation.
    • HFA Preferred Risk Sharing™(No MI): This loan does not require mortgage insurance. Typically there is a premium added to your monthly mortgage payment to cover the cost of this insurance. Since this additional payment is not required with HFA Preferred Risk Sharing™, the total monthly mortgage payment is typically lower than a loan with mortgage insurance included, even through the interest rate may be slightly higher.
    • Keystone Home Loan: This loan has income and purchase price limits, but you do not have to be a first-time homebuyer if you are buying a home in a "Targeted" area. These areas are indicated in the Appendix A: Limits - Keystone Home Loan.
    • Keystone Government Loan Program: This loan provides first mortgage financing on loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), guaranteed by Rural Development (RD), or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA).  Loans are underwritten using the guidelines of the respective federal agency providing the insurance/guaranty.  PHFA does not impose any additional income or purchase price limits and there is no first-time homebuyer requirement.
  5. If the buyer is employed by one of our Participating Employers, additional advantages are available to eligible borrowers through the Employer Assisted Housing Program.

Feel free to call the PHFA Homebuyers’ Hotline at 1.800.822.1174 if you have questions.