Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who can participate in Penn Home Ownership Programs?

Can I purchase a home anywhere in Philadelphia to participate in the program?

I am a first time home buyer. Can I apply for assistance from PHOS programs?

What is the Forgivable Loan Program and its benefits?

How can I learn whether I can apply for the Closing Cost Reduction Program?

Can I qualify for both the Forgivable Loan and the Closing Cost Reduction Program or must I choose one?

Should I contact the lending partners for a pre-approval before beginning the PHOS program?

Am I obligated to select one of the PHOS lending partners to finance my mortgage?

Can my spouse/partner/parents act as my co-borrower?

What types of homes are covered under your program?


Q: Who can participate in Penn Home Ownership Programs?
A: Programs participants must be a full-time, benefits eligible employee of the University of Pennsylvania or the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS).  UPHS entities include:

- The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center of the University of Pennsylvania Health System; Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Health System; Clinical Care Associates, Inc.; Penn Medicine at Radnor; Penn Medicine at Cherry Hill; Penn Home Care and Hospice Services including Wissahickon Hospice; Penn Care at Home; and Penn Home Infusion Therapy; and Good Shepherd Penn Partners.

Employees must have successfully completed the probation period, and are either United States citizens or permanent resident aliens.

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Q: Can I purchase a home anywhere in Philadelphia to participate in the program?
A: PHOS programs are defined by specific boundary areas within West Philadelphia. The Forgivable Loan boundaries extend to the east side of 56th Street, from Market Street to Paschall Avenue.  The program also includes the residential housing across the street from Pennovation Works.  The border continues along the Schuylkill River and the northern boundary travels along Haverford Avenue, changing to Market at 44th Street.  The Closing Cost Reduction Program (CCRP) boundaries are City Line Avenue, Cobbs Creek Parkway, changing to 56th Street then again at Paschall Avenue, and includes the residential community across from Pennovation Works.  The program's boundary continues along the Schuylkill River. To view the boundaries of both programs, click here.

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Q: I am a first time home buyer.  Can I apply for assistance from PHOS programs?
A: You can participate in PHOS programs even if you have previously owned a home. There are no restrictions regarding the number of times you have owned a home; however, any home purchased through the PHOS programs must be your primary residence for a consecutive five-year period.

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Q: What is the Forgivable Loan Program and its benefits?
A: The Forgivable Loan Program is a five-year forgivable loan in the amount of $7,500, which can be used towards the following:  closing cost, down payment, interest rate buy down, and home improvements, including energy retrofit/eco-products. For each year of the five years, one-fifth of the loan ($1,500) will be forgiven until the loan balance is zero at the end of the five year period, provided that  the employee has maintained the property as his or her primary residence.  For more detailed information about obtaining a forgivable loan, click here.

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Q: How can I learn whether I can apply for the Closing Cost Reduction Program (CCRP)?
A: The Closing Cost Reduction Program is a lenders credit granted by our lending partners, which allows for a credit on your total closing costs at the time of settlement. The Closing Cost Reduction amount is also applied when you purchase within the Forgivable Loan area.  The boundary area is City Line Avenue, Cobbs Creek Parkway, changing to 56th Street then again at Paschall Avenue, and includes the residential community across from Pennovation Works.  The CCRP boundary continues along the Schuylkill River. To view the CCRP boundaries, click here.

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Q: Can I qualify for both the Forgivable Loan and the Closing Cost Reduction Program (CCRP) or must I choose one?
A: The PHOS programs are boundary specific.  If the property for sale falls within the boundary areas of both programs, and you meet the eligibility criteria for the Forgivable Loan, then you can participate in both programs for your home purchase.  Once you meet the eligibility criteria for the Forgivable Loan, then you can participate in both programs for your home purchase.

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Q: Should I contact the lending partners for a pre-approval before beginning the PHOS program?
A: Initial inquires regarding the assistance programs should first be addressed to PHOS.  All employees interested in PHOS programs must begin by completing an intake form.  After the intake form has been submitted, then a PHOS representative will contact you within two business days to discuss the next steps toward pre-appoval.  Information will be provided during the initial phone consultation to facilitate this process with the lending partners.

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Q: Must I select one of the PHOS lending partners to finance my mortgage?
A: Yes, if you want to use the PHOS benefit toward closing costs, then you must use one of our leading partners and have your settlement at the PHOS offices.  PHOS lending partners currently include: Finance of America, Guaranteed Rate, Santander, The Trident Group and Wells Fargo.

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Q: Can my spouse/partner/parents act as my co-borrower?
A: Spouses, partners or parents can serve as co-borrowers. These individuals will be required to submit similar documentation as the employee to qualify for the benefit.

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Q: What types of homes are covered under your program?
A: Eligible properties are single family homes, duplexes and condos.

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