Programs to Make Home Buying More Affordable

Don’t let rising interest rates or a big down payment scare you away. For a variety of income levels, there are affordable ways to become a homeowner without chipping away a big chunk of your budget.

Twenty-six-year-old program manager Isamar Zuniga was like millions of working Americans – using a good portion of her income to pay rent for her apartment. But after years of doing so, she decided enough was enough.

“I wanted to do something better with my money instead of watching it go to waste every month,” she said. “Even though I am young, I felt that there had to be something out there for people like me who work and want to invest.”

Within months, she found that “something.”

With the help of a PNC homeowner's’ assistance grant and a Federal Housing Administration pricing special, Zuniga was able to make her dream of owning a home a reality.

“The hardest thing was finding a home and understanding all the new lingo that comes with homeownership – down payment, pre-qualification letter, home inspection – it was all new and overwhelming to me. The easiest part was the loan application process,” she said.

Zuniga worked with her PNC loan officer to navigate the budgeting process through PNC Home Insight® Planner.

Within weeks of finding her two bedroom home in the suburbs, Zuniga had the keys.

Zuniga with her wife Bianca, dog Ebi and PNC Mortgage Market Manager Elsa Razo
First-time homeowner Isamar Zuniga, her wife Bianca Ayala and their dog Ebi are excited about plans to host more events at their new home. 

Special Loans Appropriate for Many Income Levels

People who are at a low-to-moderate income level don’t necessarily need to drain their life savings in order to become homeowners. Zuniga, for example, was able to buy her home with just a few thousand dollars at closing.

PNC offers home lending products that work for people with a variety of incomes to buy or refinance a home, including those with limited resources or select borrowers who may find it difficult to come up with closing costs.

Many people may think that they are not ready to talk to a mortgage loan officer, but the opposite could be true. Loan officers can provide credit counseling months ahead of time, which can help buyers of all types get ready to buy a home.

After house-sitting and renting for several years, Ross and Laura Donaldson worked with PNC to buy their three-story brick colonial in the Pittsburgh area.

Since they didn’t have enough for the traditional 20 percent down payment, the couple worked with their loan officer to find a program that fit their situation.

“It really helped that we were pre-approved for a loan so we knew how much home we could afford,” said Laura Donaldson, a university academic coordinator. 

Ross and Laura Donaldson sitting on the front steps of their new home
After 12 years together, first-time homeowners Ross and Laura Donaldson now have somewhere to call their home.

Some programs also require homeowners, such as the Donaldsons, to take educational courses.

“I liked the fact that we had to take an online course to learn what it means to buy a house. We felt empowered. We felt we were making a smart, educated decision,” added Laura.

Consumer Confidence Up

With consumers feeling confident in the economy, industry experts expect the demand for affordable housing to continue.

“PNC is committed to affordable lending in the neighborhoods we serve and the people that live there," said Wil Hendrix-Griffin, PNC affordable home lending manager. "We have several programs that assist prospective borrowers in their goal of achieving homeownership. For those that are eligible, these programs could help lower costs in the form of grants, credits and closing cost assistance."

Zuniga loves the sense of freedom she feels with her new home.

“I just threw a birthday party for my wife and it was so awesome to be able to host friends and family,” Zuniga said. I could nail decorations on the wall and put music on without worrying if I was offending the landlord or bothering the other tenants. It feels liberating.“ 


To understand whether you’re ready to buy a home, visit the PNC Home Lending Center »

Wil Hendrix-Griffin
Wil Hendrix-Griffin, PNC affordable home lending manager

The PNC Home Lending team hosts around 20-25 affordable lending “road shows” per year in various cities where PNC does business. The events provide opportunities for future homebuyers who qualify as low-to-moderate income earners to learn the basics of buying a home and the products and services available to them. To find out if a road show is coming to your city, please contact a PNC mortgage loan officer.

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