Making Homeownership Attainable
Homeownership may be more attainable than you think, and the Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust could make it a reality for you! The Trust keeps a lifetime commitment to its homeowners and to neighborhoods with Trust homes.
Find out how the Trust could make you a homeowner!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Trust home?
A Trust home is a home that remains attainable generation after generation. When you purchase a Trust Home, you get an unbeatable bargain and a beautiful, well-maintained home. When you sell a Trust Home, you recoup what you’ve invested and claim a portion of the home’s increased value. Since your home is a Trust Home, you agree to keep it attainable for the next homeowner. You get a fair deal and another family gets to fulfill their dream of homeownership.
How do I own a Trust Home?
Ownership of a Trust Home is provided to you once you acquire a mortgage from a bank and enter into a 99-year lease agreement with the Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust. As the homeowner, you purchase the physical home itself. The Trust keeps title to the land under the home, but the 99-year lease provides you exclusive rights to use the land. This gives you the security of conventional homeownership, the extra support of the Trust, and keeps the home affordable for the next prospective homebuyer. The purchase of a Trust home works like a standard real estate purchase.
What makes a Trust Home so affordable?
In a normal home purchase, you pay for both the cost of the home and the land. In a Trust home purchase, you only buy the home. This discount is passed on from generation to generation.
Why is the land preserved in the Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust?
Everyone gets a lower purchase price—not just this generation of homebuyers. A community land trust is the best way to preserve affordable homeownership opportunities for future generations. The Trust is bound by its mission and its bylaws to keep homeownership affordable. This ensures that future generations receive the same kind of opportunities that you receive whenever you purchased your Trust Home.
Can my family inherit the home?
Absolutely. Anyone that has lived in your home for at least a year and/or your children can inherit the home. Other people can also inherit the home. If they aren’t income-eligible, they can sell the home in the same way that you can sell the home.
How do I know the Trust is acting in the interest of homeowners?
Homeowners are invited and encouraged to join the Trust’s Board of Directors. The ground lease also restricts the Trust from doing things that may not be in the interests of homeowners.
All of our homes are eligible to households with incomes up to 80% of the Area Median Income. On rare occasions, a higher income limit may be in effect. You can get this information from the real estate listing. As a general rule, if your household income falls below the limits in the below table, you can purchase a Trust home.
To begin the income eligibility review, please email or fax us a completed pre-application along with the documents listed below. This documentation should be sent to us right around the time you make an offer with your Realtor. If you give it to your Realtor, they can also send it to us with your offer.
In additon to income guidelines, buyers must have a financial situation (income, savings, debts, and credit) suitable to obtain a mortgage to purchase the home from a lender. All buyers must be U.S. citizens or legal residents 18 years of age or older.
All buyers must complete eight hours of HUD-approved homeownership counseling prior to purchase. This can be completed free of charge through out sister agency, Community Action Financial Services. Buyers will also receive two hours of education with LVCLT staff.
If you or your Realtor have any questions about these guidelines or your eligibility, we strongly encourage you to call us at (484) 893-1061.
DISCLAIMER: The content on this page is being provided for informational purposes only. None of the information shall be meant as a determination of income eligibility or acceptance of a purchase offer. LVCLT shall not be held liable for errors, omissions, or changes to this page. For any questions or to discuss your situation, please contact us.
We encourage and support a marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
Is Trust Homeownership for You?
How Much Will I Need to Buy a Trust Home?
The Trust suggests that buyers have at least $2,000 to $4,000 in savings for home purchase. In some cases, your lender’s mortgage product may allow you to purchase your home with as little as 3% of the purchase price down. Closing costs (including title insurance and loan fees) can range from 3 to 6% of the loan depending on the loan product you choose. Your lender, your Realtor, and Trust staff may be able to give you information about down payment and closing cost assistance programs that might reduce the amount of money you need out-of-pocket. Gifts from family or friends may be eligible to help homebuyers with closing costs and down payments.
After you’ve closed on the purchase of your house, we recommend that you still have at least $1,000 in your bank account Remember: once you’re the homeowner, it’s your responsibility to make repairs. Don’t be caught off-guard by an unexpected repair!
Plan to put away at least $25- $50 a month in a savings account dedicated for future repairs. Even if your house is new today, it will need repairs or updates over time.
What is Shared-Equity Homeownership?