As a firefighter, you may be able buy a home for less money. Through the use of federal grants and discounted homes, you can make your dream of home ownership a reality. While there are many grants available for fire stations and firefighter training, there is one federal government grant for firefighters to buy a home. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD, offers the “Good Neighbor Next Door” program. These are homes that may need a little care and attention, but are discounted up to 50% of the market value.
The "Good Neighbor Next Door" program offers incentives to various members of law enforcement and public services in order to encourage them to buy homes in "revitalization" neighborhoods.
Introducing the Good Neighbor Program
Firefighters, elementary and high school teachers and law enforcement officers are eligible for this program. Homes in the program are in areas that are designated as “revitalization areas”. Anyone eligible can buy these homes at a discounted price, but will need to live in the home for at least three years. According to the HUD website, properties are only listed through the program for five days.
When you are ready to buy a house, you will have to move quickly if you find a house you like listed through the program, as they will not last on the market for long.
Finding The Right Mortgages
While you can secure your own financing source, you can also find mortgages available for the Good Neighbor program through government insured loans, called 203(b) loans, backed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). The FHA does not lend money, but they do insure mortgage loans from FHA approved lenders. These lenders are available in every state, and can be found in the HUD website’s database.
Exploring Mortgage Requirements
Once you have qualified for a mortgage and have completed the closing procedures, you must meet certain requirements during the first three years you live in the house. To enforce this, HUD will mail an annual certification statement that you must sign and return to show you are still living in the home.
If you do not sign and return this form, they will investigate and require you sign to the form in person. If they cannot find anyone living at the house at the time, they will investigate further, which could result in criminal charges.
When you have met the three year requirement and wish to move, you can do so if you are up to date on the signed certifications and have complied with all program requirements. You also must not be under investigation.
Joe Bechtel is a freelance writer whose work appears occasionally on Bright Hub, Personal Money store, and other reputable online content sites, as well as for various clients online and offline in the financial industry. He is especially passionate about investing principles and personal finance topics.