The HomeOwnership Center

NHS is Berks County’s only Neighborworksâ HomeOwnership Center. As a Homeownership Center, NHS adheres to rigid, nationwide standards for high-quality, comprehensive homeownership services. A well-informed homebuyer is better prepared to reach the goal of homeownership. On that premise, NHS offers a wide range of services to prospective homeowners. NHS pre- and post-purchase counseling, home repair counseling, and “Full-Cycle” lending services enable lenders, government agencies and nonprofit agencies to work together to assist families who might not qualify for—or know how to get—conventional home financing. Several local banks work closely with NHS to offer combined financing. Standard fixed rate mortgages for qualified low/moderate income, first-time homebuyers are available for home purchase with no maximum sales price. Repayment proceeds deposited in a revolving loan fund are “recycled’ in the form of new mortgage loans to first-time homebuyers. This reinvestment in Reading City and Berks County neighborhoods plays a role in the NHS mission to revitalize the community.

2009 HUD Income Guidelines

The Path To HomeOwnership
(Click Here, for English, to fill out a request for service)
(Click Here, for Spanish, to fill out a request for service)

Step 1 - Orientation
- An hour small group introduction to the guidelines of the NHS HomeOwnership Center first time homebuyer education and mortgage lending program. This meeting is the first step a customer will take on their path to homeownership. The HomeOwnership Center special financing is available to individuals and families who meet the Housing and Urban Development income guidelines.

Step 2 - Pre-Purchase Counseling
a. Credit Counseling-Having completed the Orientation, a customer reviews his credit report with an NHS Mortgage Counselor. Is she ready to apply for a mortgage or are there obstacles to overcome first? If so, a plan of action is put in place.
b. Budget Counseling- A written net income budget is a requirement as part of the loan application, to establish that the customer is able to afford the anticipated mortgage payment and additional new expenses. $50 residual income requirement.

Step 3 - FASTRAC HomeBuyer Education Classes- Completing the 8 hour FASTRAC workshop affords the 1st time homebuyer the opportunity to understand the steps in the homebuying process and to be a well-informed consumer. Education is the key to a successful homeownership experience. Most lending programs require completion of FASTRAC classes. NHS HomeBuyer classes are open to all first time homebuyers, with no income limitations to attendance. Click here for more information.

Step 4 - Loan Application - The NHS Mortgage Counselors assess the readiness of a potential borrower before a mortgage application can be taken. Credit, Capacity, Capital, and Collateral are the important four “C’s” that undergo their scrutiny. (These are important topics in the FASTRAC classes.) We want to be 99% sure that the application for the first loan will be approved by the NHS lender partner. Then the NHS loan committee does its job of reviewing the second mortgage for NHS approval.

Step 5 - Property Inspection and Repair Escrow- After an NHS required property inspection, a NHS HOP borrower can feel more secure about the condition of their new home. If repairs are required by NHS, the customer can borrow up to $3,000 as part of the mortgage loan.

Step 6 - Settlement Counseling- When it is time for the settlement meeting, the NHS Mortgage Counselor readies the customer with a review of the documents that will be signed at the closing table, as well as the important topic of home maintenance.

Step 7 - Post-Purchase Counseling- After the new homeowner has resided in their home for 4-6 months, NHS will request a follow-up appointment to review the household budget and any questions regarding the mortgage terms or other concerns that the new homeowner may have.

Local NHS sponsors
City of Reading
Commerce Bank
County of Berks
Fulton Bank
M&T Bank
National Penn Bank
Reading/Berks Association of Realtors
Sovereign Bank
Stevens & Lee Professional Corporation
Susquehanna Bank
Vista Bank
Wachovia Bank
National NHS sponsors
All State Insurance Company
Bank of America
Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae Foundation
Freddie Mac
Home Depot
NeighborWorks® America
State Farm Insurance Corporation
Wells Fargo Housing Foundation
World Savings

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Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks, Inc.
213 North Fifth Street, Suite 1030
Reading, PA  19601
Phone: 610.372.8433
Fax: 610.374.2866