purchase assistance aims to create a sense of community
Moravian has created a home purchase
support plan for faculty and staff members of the College
and Seminary, offering as much as $2,000 to potential buyers
whose homes would be located within walking distance of campus.
The plan also contains a package
of assistance that may include reduced interest rates, smaller
down payments, and assistance with relocation costs. All these
will be available to faculty and staff whether or not they
move to the designated area around campus.
The goal is to encourage cooperation between
the College and the surrounding community and to build a sense
of neighborhood around the campus, said Dennis Domchek, vice
president for administration. The proximity of their professors
also should encourage faculty/student interaction after the
class day ends.
A further benefit, as Peter von Allmen, chair
of the Department of Economics and Business, said in a planning
session: “It will be a real plus for faculty recruiting
The agreement covers homes in a 3.5-square-mile
area bounded on the east by Linden Street, on the west by
Eighth Avenue, on the north by Washington Street and on the
south by the Lehigh River.
Modeled on a program already in place at
Lehigh University, the plan resulted from a suggestion by
Heikki Lempa, assistant professor of history, who commutes
to campus and lives nearby during the week, then returns to
his family on weekends. (About a third of the faculty commutes
to the Moravian campus from distances of 30 miles or more,
often because a working spouse makes it necessary to have
split living arrangements.) Heikki was looking for a way to
afford a residence in Bethlehem that would allow him to walk
to work. He asked if Moravian could create something similar
to Lehigh’s plan. Tom Demshock of Fishburn Realty in
Bethlehem, who attended Moravian for three semesters back
in the ‘70s and has handled many real-estate transactions
for the College, was instrumental in designing Lehigh’s
home-assistance program and offered to adapt it for Moravian.
Some of its features:
- Moravian faculty and staff may apply for
2 percent of the mortgage on a home in the campus area or
$2,000, whichever is less, to cover (for example) closing
costs. This is not a loan but a benefit and does not need
to be repaid.
- Nazareth National Bank and First Horizon
Home Loans have agreed to work with real-estate agents to
identify qualifying properties, arrange favorable financing,
and accept lower down payments for Moravian faculty and
“We hope to add another lender,” Demshock says.
- Nazareth National will offer 100 percent
financing on mortgages up to $90,000 (there is an income
cap of $51,000 for eligibility) or 97 percent financing
on mortgages of any amount (no income cap).
- Lehigh Valley Relocation Consultants,
a moving services company, will offer discount packages
on interstate moves.
- Real-estate attorney Constantine Vasiliadis
will handle title searches at cost (which is set by the
Commonwealth) and waive his own fee. Demshock estimates
that this will save home buyers between $500 and $1,500.
For the record, Demshock owns 25 percent
of the stock in Lehigh Valley Relocation Consultants, and
Vasiliadis is his personal attorney.
However, the plan allows buyers to work with
agents, lenders, brokers, and attorneys of their choice, using
the rates and discounts of the Moravian plan to leverage better
Moravian’s home support policy is intended
to underwrite single-family private residences, not rental
properties. The plan contains penalties for buyers who move
outside the defined area within five years or who convert
their homes to rental units.
The College plans to set aside $10,000 a year
for the home support program. The first year’s funding
is already in place.
Questions may be addressed to the Office
of Human Resources, Ext. 1527, which will screen applications
and administer the plan. Additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org.