Housing Services Buying a Home Down Payment Assistance

Down Payment Assistance

More About Buying a Home

Neighborhood LIFT

NeighborhoodLIFT (LIFT) is a down payment assistance program funded through a national partnership between Wells Fargo Foundation and NeighborWorks America. Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks will administer the LIFT program in Philadelphia. 

LIFT provides a $15,000 grant that can be used towards down payment and closing costs assistance for eligible homebuyers who purchase a home in the city limits of Philadelphia.

The grant is structured as a ‘soft second’ mortgage loan that is conditionally forgivable over the five-year term of the LIFT loan. 

Additional details

The borrower always receives $15,000 but in many cases will still need to come up with minimum investment and settlement costs.

In an FHA loan, LIFT can be used to pay for the borrower’s closing cost. However, unless the borrower also receives assistance from a government agency or nonprofit instrument of the government, LIFT cannot be used to meet the borrower’s 3.5% Minimum Required Investment.

First-time homebuyers assistance is phenomenal!!! They were very kind and professional!

Adam Malliet

To qualify, you must:

  1. Be an eligible borrower (see guidelines below).
  2. Purchase an eligible property within the City of Philadelphia and occupy the property as your principal residence (see guidelines below).
  3. Make sure all borrowers have a combined gross annual income below $54,000.
  4. Have a pre-approval letter from an approved NeighborhoodLIFT first mortgage lender.
  5. Complete 8 hours of homebuyer education from an eligible NeighborhoodLIFT homebuyer education provider, and have a certificate dated within the past 12 months (see education options below).

Homebuyers who are approved must have a fully executed Agreement of Sale within 90 days of receiving their LIFT Qualification letter to receive the grant.

Eligible borrowers

NeighborhoodLIFT is not restricted to first-time homebuyers. The list below identifies all eligible borrowers for the program:

  • First-time homebuyers – has not owned a home in the previous three years
  • Ready again homebuyers – has owned a home in the previous three years or may currently own a home that is being sold prior to obtaining NeighborhoodLIFT
  • Living Trusts
  • Non-arm’s length transactions must meet agency (Fannie/Freddie, FHA, VA etc.) and/or the first mortgage lender’s guidelines

Borrowers not eligible


Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) borrower transactions

Non-Occupant co-borrowers and co-signers

Employees and the Immediate Family Members of Wells Fargo employees, NeighborWorks America employees, and employees of participating LIFT Lenders. Immediate Family Member is defined as the spouse or dependent children of the LIFT Lender employee. (A child of the LIFT Lender employee that is no longer financially dependent IS eligible to participate.)

Eligible property types

  • Single family (attached or detached)
  • 2-4 unit
  • Condominium
  • Townhouse
  • PUD
  • Co-op
  • Land trust
  • Manufactured homes meeting Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, USDA or state HFA guidelines

Properties not eligible

Modular condos

Mixed-use properties unless permitted under FHA 203(k) programs

Homebuyer education options

To qualify for Neighborhood LIFT, you must complete 8 hours of homebuyer education from an eligible NeighborhoodLIFT homebuyer education provider, and have a certificate dated within the past 12 months. Two options are listed below.

Option 1

8-hour eHome America course online + a one-on-one session with NKCDC Housing Advisor

eHome America provides eight-hour homebuyer education classes online, accessible by phone, tablet and computer. You are given a certificate on completion of the course. There is no test. Cost: $99.

Potential homeowners who choose this option are required to schedule at least one individual appointment with an NKCDC housing advisor and complete the necessary compliance/disclosure forms. You are also encouraged to take advantage of other housing services NKCDC offers.

Visit eHome

Option 2

4-hour NKCDC First Time Homebuyer workshop + 4 hours one-on-one with NKCDC Housing Advisor

NKCDC offers free, 4-hour online Homebuyer Workshops by Zoom several times each month. Each class features a lender, realtor, home inspector, and a housing advisor from NKCDC. Topics range from selecting a realtor to getting inspections. 

To Sign Up

  1. First, sign up for a one-on-one appointment with an NKCDC housing advisor. 
  2. Then choose a First-Time Homebuyer Workshop to attend.

Questions about the LIFT program?

For questions about LIFT, please contact Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks at 833-710-LIFT (5438).

Request a Housing Appointment

Philly First Home applicants are required to complete one-on-one homebuyer education at a City-funded housing counseling agency like NKCDC. This must happen before you sign an agreement of sale. Contact NKCDC and let us help you get your Philly First Home grant. We’re available by phone and online.

Request an Appointment