Last Updated on June 2, 2021 by Maggie Sutton
When buying a home, who wouldn’t want to receive free money to apply to your mortgage or down payment? Grants are like loans, usually given by the Federal Government, that don’t need to be paid back. Grants can make a significant impact on both the ability to buy a home or not, and how much home you can afford. Luckily, there are lots of options for grants for law enforcement officers looking to buy home.
But first, let’s start with some data. According to a 2016 research study by RealtyTrac, they found that on average, down payment assistance programs and grants can save a buyer $17,766. The average savings is $5,965 on just the closing costs, and an additional $11,801 on monthly payments over the life of the loan for a median-priced home. The loan life savings is because you’re paying more at your closing with the grants. This means you have that much less to pay back of your mortgage over its life.
These thousands of dollars in savings show why it’s worth it to check out all your options for grants. One of the largest offerings for housing grants for law enforcement come from the Federal government. These funds are distributed to each state, and then each state decides how to divide the money. Some states have a county by county distribution, while some have county and city distribution. Each state can also determine what the requirements are to receive grant funding.
Home Buying Classes
Typically, a first time home buyer class is a place to start. Not only do these classes teach you things like financial literacy, budgeting, how the loan application process works, types of loans, mortgage payments, property taxes, and what is needed both financially and legally at closing, but they also often give you information about all available grants, assistance, and other financial options available in your community. Some classes even have applications for these grants on the spot. Classes can cost a minimal fee – somewhere around $20-$50 – but that’s quite a bargain to save thousands. Most classes also meet for a few hours either once a week or have one long class.
Some types of mortgages, or sometimes specific lenders or banks, will strongly encourage you to take a class. You can find a home buying class in your community by searching on your state, county, or city’s website. Most states will have a department of housing and will list not only these classes, but other housing assistance and grant opportunities as well.
Good Neighbor Next Door
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, has another option for grants for law enforcement officers. The Good Neighbor Next Door Program is a way to revitalize neighborhoods in all 50 states. HUD gets people to buy homes in underrepresented areas, and you get a discount on purchasing a home. While it’s technically not a grant, it acts in a similar way, covering 50% of the purchase price of your home.
Here’s how it works: when you buy a home through the Good Neighbor Next Door program, you put an offer in for the full amount of the house, say $250,000. Your lender will make two mortgages, each for $125,000 (pretend for this exercise you have no down payment). You will pay regular monthly payments on one of the loans as your active mortgage loan, while the secondary loan goes without payments.
The secondary loan does not need principle payments, interest payments, and you are not penalized for not paying it; essentially it just sits there. As long as you live in the house as your primary residence, continue to be employed in law enforcement, make your payments on the main loan, and don’t sell the house all at least for 36 months, that secondary mortgage is forgiven.
The only downside to this grant is that you can only use it on homes that HUD identifies as eligible. That means you’ll need to purchase a HUD home instead of a home you find with your real estate agent.
To qualify for a Good Neighbor Next Door grant, you can find the list of eligible houses by state on the Good Neighbor Next Door website. Keep in mind that homes are always being added to the list if you don’t find one in your location. Home prices are also listed in full, meaning if there is a home for $180,000 you would only pay $90,000.
Down Payment Resource
Another place to look for grants for law enforcement officers is through Down Payment Resource. This is an online, comprehensive database of down payment assistance and grant programs. Down Payment Resource has approximately 2,300 grant and assistance programs in their database. You’ll need to give them a few, non-intrusive pieces of information, like:
- City and/or county you’re looking to buy in
- Household income
- Number of people that will be living in the home
- If you have owned a home before
- Veteran status
- That you’re employed in law enforcement
Then, Down Payment Resource automatically matches you with each grant you are eligible for.
For example, a household of two adults, making $100,000 a year looking to buy a house in Minneapolis, Minnesota qualify for $25,000 in down payment grants through the 11 programs Down Payment Resource identified. Or, a family of four with a household income of $80,000 buying a home in Dallas, Texas qualify for $45,000 in grants through 25 different programs.
Most of these programs are funded on a government level. But, there are some local non-profit organizations have funds specifically for certain categorizations of people, like law enforcement in a particular county.
Homes for Heroes
If you do qualify for some grants, there are even more savings out there for law enforcement heroes like you! Homes for Heroes is the largest, nationwide program of its kind, helping you find the home of your dreams while saving you money. When you sign up, we’ll connect you with a Homes for Heroes real estate affiliate and mortgage specialist.
These affiliates are in your local area, so they know what the housing market is like where you’re trying to buy or sell. They can also help you with different loan types, like FHA or VA, and can also work with any of the grants you end up eligible for. There are no hidden or upfront fees or extra paperwork when you use Homes for Heroes. We simply want to give back to our heroes across the country.
Homes for Heroes has helped over 43,000 law enforcement officers and other heroes save $75 million on their home transactions. We do this by giving you back Hero Rewards after your closing.
When you use one of our affiliate real estate agents to buy and/or sell your home, you’ll get 0.7% of the purchase price back as a check. So, if you buy a home for $200,000, you’d get $1,400 back. This money can be used for anything you’d like. You can use it to buy new furniture for your new home, make repairs, or put in savings. It’s your money to do what you’d like.
Plus, if you work with our mortgage, title and inspection specialists, you can save $500 on lender fees, $150 on title services, and $50 on a home inspection. We also have deals with companies all over the United States for home and career related products and services, like moving companies, carpet cleaners, storage containers, and home security. That adds up to thousands of dollars in savings!
Homes for Heroes mortgage and lending specialists can work with any of the grants for law enforcement officers you receive. The best part is that you can always receive Hero Rewards on top of the grants. It’s the least we can do to say thank you for your dedication to our communities.
Sign up now to get more information from a Homes for Heroes agent. There is no obligation to get all your questions answered while getting more information.