Good Neighbor Next Door: do you qualify?

Buying a home might feel a little like rowing two boats at the same time: one elicits excitement, and the other, apprehension. Longtime renters and budget-conscious homebuyers who are easing into the real estate market may feel more of the latter. 

There are, after all, a bevy of factors you’re going to deal with upfront. And the investment you’ll be making is significant.

Closing costs, stellar credit, and large down payments are just a few of the items you need to consider while pursuing homeownership. You’ll need to do research and compare options. Don’t let this scare you, though. There’s assistance available at both the federal and state levels to help you finally have a permanent mailbox! (It’s getting more exciting than scary, isn’t it?) 

One such program is the Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND). What if we told you that you could own a house by paying 50% of the list price? Sounds a little too good to be true, right? 

Wrong. It is possible if you qualify for the GNND program. Now we’re talking!

Let’s learn a bit more about it, shall we?

Good Neighbor Next Door

It’s a program designed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help those in certain professions to achieve their dream of homeownership. 

If you or your spouse are a teacher, emergency medical technician (EMT), firefighter, or law enforcement officer, you can apply for this program. 

Of course, there are some terms and conditions regarding eligibility. For one, you should be willing to reside at the property for at least three years. (This isn’t supposed to be a home-flipping investment.)  Second, you can buy a home only in designated revitalization areas. 

But, hey! The program knocks off 50% of the list price; for that reason alone, if you’re working in one of those roles you should consider applying.

Who’s eligible?

As mentioned before, law enforcement officials, first responders, and teachers can apply for Good Neighbor Next Door. But there’re other specific eligibility criteria you need to think about:

  • First responders: There’re two reasons why GNND exists – to revitalize certain communities and assist public servants in buying a home. Therefore, as a first responder, you can only buy a property located within your agency’s jurisdiction. And when we say ‘first responders,’ we’re talking about EMTs, firefighters, and law enforcement officers working full-time within a local, state, or federal agency. The program excludes volunteers, dispatchers, and civilian personnel. 
  • Teachers: You must be a full-time teacher working in a state-accredited public or private school, in pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, in order to qualify for Good Neighbor Next Door. Similar to first responders, your home should be located within your school’s district. If you’re a private school teacher, you’ll need to consult the principal, who needs to prove that at least one student from your school lives in the community where you’re planning to purchase your home. 

Who isn’t eligible?

GNND isn’t designed for just first-time homebuyers. If you’ve owned a house in the past, you can still apply—but it shouldn’t be within a year of the date you plan to bid on a home. Apart from that, if you’ve previously been a part of the Good Neighbor Next Door program, you also won’t qualify. 

How to improve your chances of qualification

Besides determining your eligibility as described above, there are certain things you can do to improve your chances of getting qualified. Since you’re going to need to finance half of your new home’s list price, it’s best to obtain a loan preapproval. 

You only have seven days before a listing that contains a handful of HUD-qualifying properties will close. However, having a preapproval in hand will make your offer a lot stronger than other homebuyers.  With the above tips, you’re just a few steps away from becoming a ‘Good Neighbor Next Door,’ and enjoying the benefits of home ownership for years to come. 

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