New Program Available for Home Renovation and Repair

HARRISBURG (PRNewswire) – A first-of-its-kind program will help many Pennsylvania homeowners repair and renovate their residences and avoid dangerous predatory lending practices.

Gov. Edward G. Rendell said the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency’s new Keystone Renovate and Repair Loan Program requires no new tax dollars from the state. Instead, it is funded entirely through revenues generated by PHFA.

“For nearly four years, we’ve made community development and revitalization a priority in Pennsylvania,” said Rendell. “All across the state, we’ve invested in streetscape projects, building improvements, and clean-up efforts that have improved the quality of life for our residents. Now, we’re taking this approach home, by re-investing our resources wisely to help families and homeowners renovate their residences.

“The Renovate and Repair program is the first of its kind in the commonwealth. While the program will give Pennsylvanians a new option to finance homes improvements, it will do so in a responsible manner. By working closely with program specialists, homeowners can be sure they are borrowing what they can afford for projects that make their home safe, more suitable for their family, and, hopefully, enhance its value.”

The program will offer borrowers fixed, below-market-rate loans for home renovation and repair projects, along with guidance on everything from what repairs should be made, how to select a contractor, and how to tell if the work was done properly.

Keystone Renovate and Repair will be administered by PHFA in cooperation with local agencies, such as county housing and redevelopment authorities, community development corporations, municipalities, lenders, and other non- profit organizations with related experience.

Through these PHFA-approved partners — or local program administrators — homeowners may apply for a loan of up to $35,000, which is payable over 10, 15 or 20 years. The applicant’s household income may not exceed 150 percent of the area median.

In addition to renovating and repair work, loans may also be used to convert multi-unit properties back to single-family residences. Applicants must live in the home for which the loan is intended, and must not owe any past-due property taxes. Including Renovate and Repair financing, loans against the property cannot exceed 120 percent of the home’s value.

PHFA expects the first loan closings under the program to begin in November. For more information on the Keystone Renovate and Repair Loan Program, and to inquire about the availability of local program administrators in specific areas, call the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency at 800-822-1174.

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