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Back to School – Down Payment Assistance and More for Teachers

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It’s that time of year that makes children all over the country groan – when back to school sales and advertisements remind us all that summer vacation will be over before we know it! Students, parents, and teachers alike can find deals and coupons for school supplies and teaching necessities. But the school savings doesn’t end there. If you’re a teacher, you might be able to benefit from one of these teacher-focused financial savings!

School-House-Rock!

Special mortgage programs exist for first-time home buyers, veterans, and even people who want energy-efficient homes! Do any programs exist to help teachers? It turns out, yes! The Good Neighbor Next Door Mortgage Program is one example of a mortgage program that’s specifically for teachers (as well as law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs). It’s offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the goal of the program is to encourage teachers and other “good neighbors” to revitalize communities. By purchasing a house that’s eligible and staying in the home for at least 36 months, qualified persons can get a discount of 50% of the listing price! So if a home is normally $100,000, with the Good Neighbor Next Door program it would be $50,000! Eligible houses are listed on the HUD’s website. Interested teachers must be employed full-time by a public or private school that’s state accredited for children from pre-kindergarten through grade twelve, and the house they purchase must be in the same area as students that the employing school serves. The discount is offered in the form of a silent second mortgage, which you do not need to pay back as long as you meet the occupancy requirements for 36 months. Getting a home for 50% off and living close to where you work? That’s something that anyone can get excited about!

Taking Things for Grant-ed

For those looking for a house that isn’t eligible for the Good Neighbor Program, Teacher Next Door provides resources in the forms of grants, down payment assistance, and information. As of July 2019, grants for up to $4,170 (or $6,000 in certain areas) and down payment assistance up to $10,681 was available. Grants do not have to be paid back, while down payment assistance is normally a type of loan that will have to be paid back. Interested teachers can apply for grants or down payment assistance on Teacher Next Door’s website. Teacher Next Door can also provide information on other grants and programs that you might be eligible for. The best part is there’s no fee for teachers to utilize Teacher Next Door!

The Eagle has Landed

Landed is a company that provides down payment support to school, college and university employees. It’s not a grant, nor is it traditional down-payment assistance. Instead, Landed describes their down payment support as an investment. They provide up to 50% of the down payment, and in return they will get 25% of the gain or loss in your property. For example, if you need $100,000 for a down payment, Landed will provide $50,000. Then, after several years, your new house will have either increased or decreased in value. If it increased by $100,000, Landed will get 25% of that, plus the 50% that was originally put down, for a total of $75,000. If your house decreased in value by $100,000, then Landed shares the loss with you, and gets only $25,000 (which is the original $50,000 down payment minus the $25,000 loss). Landed’s return on its investment happens when either the home is sold, or when the homeowners buy out the investment. This way, you can either live in a house for a period of time, or you can buy out the investment and keep on living in your home. Landed is currently only available in specific high-cost areas, where educators may need more help to get into a home, but they are working on expanding. You can sign up on their website for notifications and to see if they will soon be coming to a city that you want to purchase a house in.

Keeping It Local

Don’t forget to check out programs available locally! There may be specific programs or assistance available to teachers in your state or county. The California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) offers one such program: School Teacher and Employee Assistance, which is a junior loan available to first-time homebuyers who work in California public schools. Sometimes dedicated teacher housing is also available, which can help you save on living costs. Asking about and searching for local programs specifically for teachers can help you find ways to save money in your community.

Give Teachers some Credit

Many credit unions also exist specifically to serve teachers, such as Teachers Federal Credit Union, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, Apple Federal Credit Union, and more! These credit unions often have programs and loans specifically designed for educators. For example, Educational Systems Federal Credit Union offers a Premium Summer Pay account, which helps educators save (and earn) for their summer breaks. Money from your paycheck is automatically deposited into the account, where it grows with a 2% APY, and then it’s automatically transferred to your regular Savings or Checking account during the summer months. Apple Federal Credit Union has a New Teacher Loan, a 0% loan for up to $3,500 that can be used for school supplies, moving expenses, and more! Finding a credit union for your specific profession or community can allow you to take advantage of programs and loans not available elsewhere – be sure to see if it’s worth it!

Too Cool in School

Teachers are often described as the backbone of society. They’re in charge of shaping the minds of children who will grow up to be leaders, doctors, writers, and workers of all professions. With such an important task, it’s vital that they take care of themselves, especially financially. If you’re a teacher, be sure to see if any of these programs are right for you!

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