Teachers looking to purchase their first home often find themselves wondering where to turn first. There are numerous federal, state, and locally-based programs designed to make the process of putting together a down payment and getting approved for a home easier for teachers. Check out these resources and tips for consideration before you start the home buying process.
Down Payment Assistance and Other Financial Programs
Good Neighbors Next Door1 - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers this program to help make the home buying process easier for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers. Homes listed by HUD can be snatched up for a 50% discount provided teachers are willing to commit to living on the property for at least 36 months.
Teacher Next Door2 - Also offered by HUD, this program helps pair educators with federal, state, and local loan programs. Teachers can receive up to $6,000 in assistance depending on the area and cost of living. Some even qualify for up to $10,681 in additional down payment assistance. There are no upfront, broker, or application fees, and teachers can take advantage of other perks like a free appraisal and home buyer representation.
Landed Down Payment Support3 - While not a government-funded effort, Landed is a company that seeks to help teachers and other educational staff purchase homes in expensive cities - think Los Angeles, Denver, or San Francisco. The company will provide half of the down payment, provided they're willing to share 25% of their investment when it comes time to sell.
Local Programs - Teachers always have the option to leverage more localized programs, too. Many states offer home loan programs designed for teachers who aren't available on the federal level. Teachers in California, for example, can qualify for the Extra Credit Teacher Home Purchase Program. This program offers teachers deferred junior loans up to $15,000 depending on the location of the home.
Three Practical Home Buying Tips for Teachers
Commute time - Buying a home near the school where you work can save you considerable time, money, and instances of migraines. Long commutes are tough, but long commutes after eight hours of dealing with a classroom full of children are their own special brand of fun. You're the glue that holds students' academic efforts together, and you deserve to be able to get home easily after a long day at work.
Social considerations - While living near school is great, you'll need to take your comfort level running into students and parents while you're out and about into account. If you're a little more socially awkward than you'd like your kiddos at school to believe, it might be best to leave a little buffer room between you and wherever a majority of your students live.
Consider Relocation - Anyone who teaches knows that certain states stand out when it comes to job prospects. Some are known to treat teachers like royalty, others are known to treat them like peasants, and most fall somewhere in between. If you're stuck in an area that's less-than-favorable, don't be afraid to consider packing up and starting someplace new.
This also opens up a variety of housing options that you wouldn't have had otherwise. You can look at the home of your dreams half a country away and take comfort in the fact that you know you'll be moving someplace where your time at work is better-valued. That's a win/win by all accounts.
At the end of the day, your career as a teacher can have a huge impact on your home-buying experience. Job opportunities within the industry are constantly changing and may send you looking for a home far from where you're living now. Unique opportunities for monetary assistance also position you better than most, to take risks and aim to purchase the home of your dreams. If you utilize your resources correctly, you might find that your career actually makes purchasing a home easier than it might be otherwise.