Work in NYC. Live in PA with and FHA

12 Replies

Hello everyone,

I am currently working in NYC. I saw a couple of properties in Allentown, PA that I really like and the numbers work! I would like to use an FHA loan for a multifamily. The problem is that Allentown is about 2 hrs from NYC. I am willing to do the commute since I have relatives in NYC and I would be able to crash every here and there at their places. The question is, can I be approved for an owner-occupied FHA for a property that is 2 hrs away from work? Also, I am planning on getting my RE license in PA. Any recommendations? Is this doable?

In this area It's not un-heard of with that commute. it will simply be up to the underwriter and they may or may not want more info on your employment, such has how often do you need to be in the city etc. It's a roll of the dice 

You would be surprised that people actually live in Philadelphia and work in NYC.

A number of years ago, I worked in Manhattan and attended the retirement party of someone who worked in a neighboring department. That's when I learned he lived in Philly, commuted for nearly 30 years. He leaves Philly around 4:30AM each day, takes the bus, and arrives at the Port Authority at 8:30AM.

I thought that it was a fluke till I had dinner with my wife's co-worker at their house in Philly. He works downtown Manhattan, and crashes at a friends place when he had to work late. Says he can't afford the prices in NYC, for the size house he got in Philly.

Back then, in the late 80's, SFR 's in NYC went for $150K, whereas in Philly you can do it for $40K. And through the years, I learn that it is not unheard of to commute from Philly though I wouldn't do it.

@Frank Chin Thanks for sharing that story. Living in Philly and working in NYC could very well become the norm as public transportation improves. 

If you're familiar with the Hyperloop, it would take 29 minutes to get from DC to NYC with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Phase 1 just got approved for construction in Maryland:

Who knows how long this will take to complete, if at all implemented. But its fun to dream!

I am actually planning to move to PA from NYC. I just saw the commuter's cost each month via Transbridge bus line. $550 for 40 one-way rides (20 days in a month). Both my fiancee and I work in NYC, so that's $13K in commuting cost. This doesn't even include Metrocards. 

Hi @Karla Parraga,

Welcome to BP!

The ABE area is a great place to House Hack with FHA or Freddie Home Possible and the travel should make sense based on motivation and pre-qualification.  There is better transportation to consider back to NYC from Philadelphia direct do keep in mind and shaves off 30 minutes using mass transit. Relevant buy in costs , etc.

Let me know if you have any questions.


Joe Scorese

Hi Karla. I am currently in the same position that you will potentially be in. I live in Allentown, PA but have a relative's house I stay over in whenever I have to work in Brooklyn. I take the Bieber bus line to NYC.

Mortgage companies do not necessarily care where you live and work as long as its not some crazy distance such from Georgia or Virginia to NYC (Although I have heard of some people doing that). As long as you have decent credit, substantial capital for down payment and a verifiable job, you are good as gold.

I must make you aware though. My current primary residence is mortgaged by a conventional loan. I do not know if its different for FHA loans. Just do your research or call an Allentown real estate agent. Good luck investing.

@Karla Parraga , main thing is: don't lie about it. If you sign an Agreement to do it - do it! All the best...

@Karla Parraga
HI Karla - I live in Brooklyn, NY and I currently own and manage a property in Allentown, PA.
Allentown is only 90 miles west of NYC but please be mindful that the commute to and from work can be more than 2 hours if you will be going into NYC during rush hours.

rush hours is 6AM-10AM into NYC and 4-8PM leaving NYC.

Let me know if you decide to take the plunge and go into Allentown; I'd like to hear about the details.

Onto your question - I do not think there would be an issue to get an FHA loan considering the commute.

If you want to make the commute I know several people that do that same commute, so it's not that unusual (though I think it's crazy). If you can find something in Easton or Bethlehem that would be a little easier than Allentown.

Any bank that underwrites up there shouldn't find that commute unusual.

@Karla Parraga It's definitely doable. I live in NJ and invest in PA. Have been talking to realtors and investors in the Lehigh valley area, and apparently this kind of commute is pretty common. When gas price went up though, people moved back closer to NYC because commuting became too expensive. Who knows what will happen in the future.

I work in NYCT and you be surprised how many live in the Poconos, Allentown area. It’s possible to buy a place in Allentown and work in NYC and many of my coworkers do but you have to be committed to sacrifice that having such a long commute brings.

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