Half Price Homes for Teachers and First Responders
HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door Program offers half price homes for teachers, police officers, fire fighters and emergency medical technicians in HUD designated areas of revitalization. The homes have been previously acquired by HUD in foreclosure and are offered for sale first to eligible participants in this program. To be eligible, full time educators and first responders must serve the area and agree to live in the home for a minimum period of 3 years. Though the price of the home is 50% of the asking price/market value, a buyer must be able to qualify for the full price of the home. To secure buyer’s obligation to live in the home for 3 years, the buyer must grant a second mortgage for the full price of the home. At the end of 3 years, provided buyer still lives in the home, the mortgage is terminated and buyer is not obligated to make any payments. However, if buyer vacates or sells the home early, buyer is obligated for the full amount, on a pro-rata basis. The final qualification is that the buyer cannot own any property at the time of application and cannot have owned a home for the 12 months prior to application.
HUD lists available properties on its website. Unfortunately, inventory is always low. Recently, only 9 properties were available in each of Broward and Palm Beach Counties and 12 were available in Miami-Dade County. In Broward, listing prices ranged from $51,500 for a 2/2 in Margate to $257,000 for a 3/2 ½ in Plantation. In Palm Beach, available homes ranged from $43,000 for a 4/2 in Belle Glade to $272,000 for a 3/3 in Jupiter. In Miami-Dade the low was $29,000 for a 1/1 in Miami and the high was $309,000 for a 5/4 in Homestead. A buyer would pay 50% of these list prices for these properties. The prices are non-negotiable.
The program is an excellent program to bring affordable housing into communities. It serves a population that needs to be served. However, it is not widely known or marketed and the inventory is too small and is not far reaching enough to serve all the need. Teachers and first responders reside in and serve every community. The Good Neighbor Next Door Program could, and should, serve as many communities as possible.