Robert Keyse hails from the United Kingdom, but he spent five years in the United States before he joined Lehigh as a research scientist. Arriving in Bethlehem, he and his wife knew that they wanted to live near campus on the south side.
“I wanted to be within walking distance to work,” Robert explained recently. “I get exercise and I can pop home for lunch.” Now that they live on the south side, he says they rarely use their car.
Robert’s goal of purchasing a south side home was made a bit easier through this month’s Hidden Benefits Gem – the South Side Mortgage Incentive Program.
About The Program
To support our strategic goal of investing in our South Bethlehem community, Lehigh University sponsors a mortgage incentive program. This program is available to all benefits eligible faculty and staff members working at least 75% of a full-time schedule.
The university's partnership with Wells Fargo allows eligible faculty and staff to buy or remodel homes in South Bethlehem through a combination of forgivable loans and discounts.
The program provides three options:
- Community Home Purchase Support Plan -- employees can receive a loan for 10% of the purchase price (up to a maximum of $7,500), forgivable after five years, to purchase a primary residence within the boundaries of East Third Street to the north, Mountain Drive West to the south, Wyandotte Street to the west, and East Eighth and Hayes Street to the east.
- Expanded Community Home Purchase Support-- employees can receive a loan for 10% of the purchase price (up to a maximum of $5,000), forgivable after five years, to purchase a primary residence within the boundaries of the Lehigh River to the north, Mountain Drive West to the south, City of Bethlehem limit to the west, and East Eighth Street and Lynn Avenue to the east.
- Curb Appeal Support --employees can receive a $2,500 one-time "curb appeal" deferred payment loan (in addition to one of the above loan plans). This loan must be spent on exterior home improvements, which improve the curb appeal of the home (and provided the total cost of the renovations exceeds $5,000).
For the above loans, no interest payments are due, and the loan will be forgiven at 20% per year over five years. Employees who take advantage of the home buying initiative may also be eligible for a home buyer tax credit.
Robert and his wife are glad they made the decision to live near Lehigh and take advantage of the home purchase support plan. “It is more of a neighborhood than where we were before,” he said. “Having neighbors from our point of view is a good thing. We enjoy living on the south side.”
For More Information contact Dave Hammer in the Treasurer's Office at 610-758-3180.