Financial Help for New Home Buyers

Are you ready to buy a home?


Buying a home can be both exciting and overwhelming! You’re making one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime.

Throughout the process you want to be secure in your financial decisions: How much can you afford, what interest rate is a good rate, what are the hidden costs?

Our certified credit counselors are here to help.

Please note: We do not sell anything or provide loans. The Credit Counseling Center is a non-profit here to provide education and guidance. 

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How we can help

Assess your credit score

We’ll pull a full credit report and review your score. We’ll walk you through what it means when buying a home and qualifying for loans.

Estimate your qualification

Using your debt-to-income ratio, we’ll help you identify what you can afford and what lenders will likely lend to you so you’re prepared

Create a household budget

We’ll examine your current income and expenses, and tie in any additional costs above and beyond your mortgage payment.

 What it is like to work with us

Finding a trusted partner to help you through difficult financial times can make a world of difference to how you feel throughout the process and the results you experience. With over 25 years under our belts and after helping more than 100,000 individuals and families, know that we’ve got your back and the experience to guide you.

Here’s an outline of what it’s like to work with us. We encourage you not to wait. There are more options the sooner you contact us.

Step 1:  Click here to fill out a contact form or call us 215-348-8003.

Step 2: We’ll set up an initial call to go over your goals and timeline. 

Step 3: We’ll set up a 2-hour appointment to examine your finances and credit. The information will be personalized depending on whether you have been pre-approved or are just starting the process.

You will not be rushed, we take the time to walk through each question you have. If necessary a second meeting can be scheduled to review any items we’re unable to get to during our first meeting.

Here is a breakdown of some of the items we cover with you:  

  • Go over all sources of income
  • List all weekly, monthly, yearly and periodic expenses
  • Pull a legitimate credit report and discuss how each item affects your score 
  • Review what will make up your mortgage payment including closing costs, taxes, insurance, and other fees. 
  • Estimate future expenses related to your new home 
  • If you have not selected a home, we can provide you with an estimate of what you should be able to afford and show you sample closing costs to help you get prepared

Step 4: Some homebuyers are required to complete a Homebuyer Education Course and receive a Certificate, before closing. This is usually the case if you are applying for an FHA, PHFA, or FFD loan. By completing the CCC homebuyers counseling outlined in Step 3, we can provide that Home Buyer certificate for you.

Step 5: We offer continuous counseling if you would like to discuss how to payoff debt, get help managing your household budget, or plan for your future.

Ms. Powers-Watts is crucial to the success of the Program and more importantly, is a beacon of hope to her clients. - Barbara N. Lyons, ESQ.

Download the Homebuying Toolkit

provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

 What you should know about buying a home

Decoding credit can feel overwhelming. Here’s answers to some frequently asked questions that can help you determine whether you should contact us.

How do I know if I can afford to buy a home? 

To buy a home you will need a combination of down payment, closing costs, and other fees. Based on the cost of the home you should have a minimum of 3% for a downpayment. With other closing costs and fees you will likely need to have at least 7% of the cost of the home. 

Depending on your income, credit score, and other factors like location or military status you may qualify for a lower down payment. To discuss your options contact us. 

How much house can I afford? 

Lenders will use your debt-to-income ratio. Your debt-to-income ratio is the relationship between your income and the debt payments you owe. To be more specific, it’s calculated by adding up your monthly debt payments and dividing it by your gross monthly income (before taxes). 

For example, if you pay $1500 a month for your mortgage and another $100 a month for an auto loan and $400 a month for the rest of your debts, your monthly debt payments are $2,000. ($1500 + $100 + $400 = $2,000.) If your gross monthly income is $6,000, then your debt-to-income ratio is 33 percent. ($2,000 is 33% of $6,000.)

What is a good interest rate?   

While interest rates are important in determining which lender to use, you also want to consider  lender fees, closing costs and terms of the loan. 

To identify the current interest rates for your area click here. 

Is buying a home a good investment for me? Or should I continue to rent?  

While buying a home may be a good investment for some, it may not be for others. 

For instance, do you plan to stay in your home for more than five years? Do you have enough money for a downpayment and closing costs? Do you have enough income to pay for the upkeep of a home and how much will that upkeep be based on the age of the home you’re buying? 

To identify whether buying a home is a good idea for you and your family, contact us and we  will help you review the cost-benefit-ratio of owning a home and what choice makes sense for your long term goals.

Would PHFA help?   

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) offers home purchase loans with competitive interest rates and lower fees for families with lower incomes. In addition to the PHFA mortgage, some applicants may qualify for downpayment and/or closing cost assistance through the Keystone Advantage Assistance Loan or the HOMEstead Program.

The Credit Counseling Center is a PHFA approved homebuyer education provider and we can help you determine if you qualify for a loan. Contact us to learn more.

Would I qualify for an FHA loan?   

An FHA loan is a type of government-backed mortgage loan that can allow you to buy a home with looser financial requirements. You may qualify for an FHA loan if you have debt or a lower credit score.

Contact us to see if you qualify for an FHA loan. 

Would I qualify for a VA loan?

It depends on your service history and duty status. For a VA-backed home loan, you’ll also need to meet your lender’s credit and income loan requirements to receive financing.

Members of our team are veterans and well versed in VA home loans. Contact us today to learn more. 


Get guidance on buying your home now

Our counselors are excited to help you to better understand your credit report and work toward buying a home