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7 Home Buying Programs You Should Consider if You're a Teacher

Educators are an important part of any community. To support their ability to live in the communities they serve federal, state and local governments have set up several home-buying programs specifically for teachers. Find out your options today.
Educators are an important part of any community. To support their ability to live in the communities they serve federal, state and local governments have set up several home-buying programs specifically for teachers. Find out your options today.

Teachers are public servants, educating and raising up the next generation. But they are not always well-paid. Often, they teach in communities that they can’t afford to live in themselves. If local home prices have priced you out of living in the community you serve, you do have options.

There are many home loan programs designed to make it possible for educators to afford their own home. Some have low- and zero-down-payment requirements, and others are just for first-time home buyers. Even an $800 discount on closing costs can help, so it’s worth your time to investigate all your options and which programs can be combined.

Connect with an experienced real estate agent for help finding a home in your price range, identifying and evaluating financing options for teachers, and additional cost-saving opportunities. In the meantime, here are seven home-buying programs which might be able to help you move into your very first home.

Seven Home-Buying Programs to Look Into if You’re a Teacher

  1. Good Neighbor Next Door. This program, offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and HUD, is specifically for teachers and other civil servants. You can purchase a home in a revitalization area at a 50% discount, but you can’t currently own a home and must live in it for three years. If you are one of several people who make an offer, you’ll be placed in a lottery to see who gets the house. Revitalization areas are neighborhoods with high levels of foreclosures and low homeownership rates.
  2. Teacher Next Door. There are good reasons that you might not wish to live in a revitalization area. The Teacher Next Door Program connects you with local programs and organizations to offer lower mortgage interest rates and down payment rebates. There are no residency requirements or neighborhood restrictions, and if you receive a grant it doesn’t have to be repaid.
  3. Homes for Heroes. This program helps with realtor fees. If your realtor has signed up with them you’ll receive a discount of 25% on their fees, as well as reduced closing costs and cheaper home inspections.
  4. Educator Mortgage Program. Offered by Supreme Lending, the Educator Mortgage Program gives teachers discounts of up to $800 on closing costs and discounts on realtor fees. They also turnaround loan approvals quickly.
  5. Home Buyer Rebates, Commissions and More. There are other cost-savings available to you in the form of home buyer rebates and costs that are negotiable. A home buyer rebate is when the realtor rebates a portion of their commission on the sale to a buyer. You can also negotiate their commission with the realtor, or use a flat fee or discount realtor like those in the Clever Partner Network.
  6. Community Lending Programs. The Union Assist Program at ICC mortgage has partnered with the United Federation of Teachers to give teachers no or reduced fees for underwriting and processing. They also give financing discounts.
  7. Local Level Programs. Texas, California, and Maryland are three states that have mortgage programs to help teachers. They give teachers help in the form of tax credits, down payment assistance, and fixed-rate, low-interest loans.

Other Residence Options

While not home buying programs, per se, some cities and states with extremely expensive housing markets do provide options for teachers. For example, one county in North Carolina has built affordable housing complexes which they rent at below-market rates to educators. In New York City, Teacher Space New York will connect you with affordable housing. Other cities have their own options, so it’s always worth asking

Teachers are also sometimes eligible for low-income home loans and closing cost assistance programs. While the service you provide is crucial to society, it is unfortunately not always valued in monetary terms. If you have a lower credit score, you might have to look into non-prime loans, but they will require a higher down payment. Unfortunately, some of the down payment assistance programs have credit score requirements but you might still qualify.

When you’re buying a home and using programs and assistance sometimes you have to get creative with the numbers. A qualified real estate will be able to help. Talk to a Clever Partner Agent today and be connected with someone who’ll know all about home buyer rebates, down payment assistance programs and more.

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Thomas O'Shaughnessy

Tommy O'Shaughnessy is the Head of Research at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top local agents to save on commission. Tommy's team of data scientists create surveys, gather data, and analyze trends in housing, real estate, and personal finance. He directs public relations efforts, acting as a "data communicator" between his team and the press. Clever studies have been featured in Politico, the LA Times, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and other publications.

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