The economy has bounced back since the ’08 economic crisis and one of the best indicators is the housing market. According to Zillow.com, the average home value has gone up by 7.4% in the United States. However, if you live in South FL like I do, home prices have gone up as much as 10%-12% depending on your neighborhood. While this sounds great for home owners like myself, for those wanting to buy a home it creates a tough situation because now you’re concerned about not having enough for a down payment.
The good news is that if you’re a government personnel like a teacher, firefighter, emergency medical technician, veteran and law enforcement officer you may qualify for several programs and grants that can help you with your home purchase!
Good Neighbor Next Door
This is a HUD program designed to contribute to community revitalization. HUD offers an incredible 50% discount from the home listing price, but you must commit to living in this home for a minimum of 3 years. The challenge with this program is that the listings are limited. For instance, there are only 4 listings in Miami-Dade County and 6 listings in Broward County.
Eligible participants for this program are law enforcement, teachers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Check out the requirements here.
Local Home Buying Programs
As I conducted the research for this post, it amazed me how HUD has a lot of resources to find a grant or program that can help you bridge the gap between your savings and the down payment of a home. The federal government has limited programs but on a state by state basis and even down to a county level you can find dozens of grants. It may take a while to find these programs but make sure to do your proper research.
Start off here at HUD’s Local Home buying Programs search and spend some time reviewing the programs that exist in your state and county.
Teacher Next Door
Originally this program began by serving teachers nationwide. However, they have expanded their focus to increase home ownership among teachers and public service professionals.
They’ve got so much to review on their website and they seem like such an amazing resource! I encourage you to check their website and read about them and their reviews.
Veteran Affair (VA) Loans
For those of you who have served this country, regardless if you’re in public service now or not, a VA loan is an incredible option for you to consider. The US Veteran Affairs guarantees a portion of the loan which gives the private lenders the ability to provide favorable terms to you.
For more info on the VA loans, the benefits and eligibility visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan
Even though the FHA loan is not designed just for public service professionals, it’s a great option in case you are unable to secure public grants or if you don’t meet the qualifications for other programs.
What’s great about the FHA loan is that you can put down as low as 3.5% for a home and the credit requirement is a minimum of 580. There are a lot more to this type of loan than just these 2 requirements, but it’s a great way to get jump started as a home owner with less money down. If this is a program you want to take advantage of make sure you search for a “FHA approved lender”.
Overall, you’re a teacher, a veteran, law enforcement officer or any other public servant reading this post, you should walk away knowing that there are tons of grants and programs out there designed to help you meet that down payment. There is pride in becoming a home owner and it’s a huge step from a personal and financial perspective. Do your proper research and don’t be afraid to reach out to these organizations. They exist for a reason and I’m sure they would be ecstatic to hear from you.