A new federal commission was set up yesterday that may turn out to be unlike most new government commissions. This one is skeptical of Washington-directed programs and doesn't expect to issue a report calling for massive amounts of money.

It is called the National Commission on Neighborhoods and its chairman, Joseph Timilty of Boston, said after the commission's first meeting. "We don't expect that President Carter is going to propose huge increase in money to the cities. We're looking for ways to make the federal funds now spent more effective.

Timilty also said of the comission, which is to report its findings in January, 1979.

"Don't expect us to disappear for the next 13 months and then come up with a 58-page report. We will lobby for the neighborhood viewpoint within the administration and on Capitol Hill and we'll hold about 25 hearings around the country, going into neighborhoods and listening to people's problems and seeing what programs work."

Timilty added that the commission's strategy would be to determine whether positive" programs in some neighborhoods can be promoted by the federal government and implemented elsewhere in the country.

He said tht the President's Urban and Regional Policy Group, a Cabinet-level task force, has so far not put enough stress on upgrading neighborhoods. The URPG is working on a third draft of an urban policy since the first two have come under criticism from black leaders, urban lobbyists and from within the administration.

Bob Kuttner, acting staff director of the new commission, said it would look at "self-defeating" policies such as a lack of tax breaks for people, who want to rehabilitate their neighborhoods, building codes that discourage people from fixing up their houses and property tax levels that caus people to leave cities.

The neighborhood commission was authorized last year by Congress. It grew out of the neighborhood advocacy movement of 1975 that led to federal legislation against red-lining, the practice of insurance companies and lending institutions refusing to insure of lend money in neighborhoods that are old or undergoing racial change.

Many of the commission's members chosen by Carter from the public are veterans of the anti-red-lining fight. Besides Timilty, who is also chairman of the Massachusetts Senate's urban affairs committee, the members are: Gale Cincotta of Chicago.David Lizarraga of Los Angeles, Peter Ujvago of Toledo. Robert B. O'Brien Jr. of Newark, Macler Shepard of St. Louis, Harold Greenwood of Minneapolis, John McClaughry of Concord, Vt., Anne Bartley of Little Rock, Mayor Maynard Jackson of Atlanta, Nicholas Carbone of Hartford, Dr. Ethel Allen of Philadelphia. Victoria Mongiardo of Hyattsville, and Arthur Naparstek and Bathrus B. Williams of Washington. D.C.