Last Updated on May 10, 2021 by Maggie Looker
Buying a home can be expensive. Really expensive. At Homes for Heroes, we want to see all our local heroes find the joys of homeownership. There are many law enforcement home buying programs and grants out, so we broke down the options for you below. Take a look at some of the best assistance programs for law enforcement professionals to buy a house.
Zero and Low Money Down Payment Loans
FHA Loans for Law Enforcement
There are several programs out there for down payment assistance and home loans for law enforcement. There are different loans, national programs, grants, tax credits, and even discounts and deals from real estate agents and lenders. Sometimes it can be hard to even know where to begin!
A great place to start is to familiarize yourself with the different home mortgage loan options available for law enforcement officials. There are multiple types of loans that require little to no money in a down payment. This can be great news for first time home buyers or someone who doesn’t have a lot of cash on hand to make a large down payment.
FHA loans, for example, require as low as 3.5% for a down payment with good credit scores. Even if you have a lower credit score, FHA loans only require at most 10% for a down payment. So, a down payment at 3.5% on a $200,000 home could be as low as $7,000. Sometimes, you can even roll closing costs into your loan, meaning you’ll need to have even less cash at your closing.
Benefits of FHA Home Loans for Law Enforcement:
- LEO’s with a credit score of 580 or higher can qualify for a FHA loan. Depending on the lender, scores as low as 500 may be accepted.
- Home buyers can put down as little as 3.5% for a down payment. If you have a credit score of 500-579, you may still qualify for a FHA home loan. But, you may need to put down closer to 10% for a down payment.
- Closing costs can sometimes be rolled into the mortgage payment, meaning you’ll pay less at closing in a large sum.
USDA Home Loans for Law Enforcement
USDA home loans actually do not require a down payment, providing you instant savings. These home loans are designed for people living in or moving to rural areas. The USDA recognizes towns and cities up to 35,000 people as rural, meaning you don’t necessarily need to live “out in the country”. USDA loans have some strict requirements that must be met to be granted a loan on top of the rural designation. One of the main qualifications for a USDA loan are the income guidelines, set by the USDA.
Benefits of USDA Home Loans for Law Enforcement:
- There is a possibility for no down payment, as your loan can be for 100% of the home’s value.
- Loan terms offer competitive interest rates.
- Since there is no technical minimum credit score to qualify, credit guidelines are flexible. But, most lenders prefer a credit score of 640 or higher. This will vary by lender.
- Loan terms are available in common fixed-rate terms like 30-year and 15-year loans.
- The income guidelines are based on the income of all adults who will be living in the home.
- You can use a USDA loan to build a new home, it does not need to be an existing home.
Down Payment Assistance Programs
Classes for Down Payment Assistance
Another great law enforcement home buying program is to take a first time home buyer class. These classes cover things like understanding your finances, budgets, the process of buying and closing on a house, and steps along the way like getting a home inspection and buying homeowners insurance. Many first time home buyer classes also talk about great down payment programs specific to your location through these classes.
Sometimes certain lenders strongly encourage that you attend these classes, but the are not necessarily required. You can find classes at the city, county, and state level, depending on where you’re looking to buy your home. There are also several programs funded at the state level by the federal government. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, have funds they distribute to states to use on their various programs.
Law Enforcement Housing Grants
Speaking of HUD, there is an excellent law enforcement grant through HUD called Good Neighbor Next Door. This program helps law enforcement agents buy homes in specific areas for 50% of their listed price. The main stipulations for using this grant program is that you have to live in the home for 36 months. You also must “directly serve the locality in which the home is located”, so Good Neighbor Next Door might not work for everyone. But, homes are added to their registry weekly, so keep an eye open if this program interests you!
Down Payment Resources for Law Enforcement
Also, a great program to look into for down payment assistance if you’re a law enforcement officer is through Down Payment Resource. This is a comprehensive, online database of down payment assistance programs. You can enter your information, including that you’re in law enforcement, to see the programs and financial assistance available to you. Down Payment Resource has approximately 2,300 programs in their database, and they automatically match you with the programs you qualify for.
Homes for Heroes Program for Law Enforcement
If you qualify for any type of down payment assistance, and are able to get an FHA or USDA loan, there are even more savings out there for law enforcement professionals! Homes for Heroes program has helped over 43,000 law enforcement professionals and other heroes save over $75 million on their home transactions. We do this by giving Hero Rewards back to you after your home 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 in rewards. So, if you buy a home for $200,000, you’d get $1,400 back. 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. On average, our heroes save $2,400!
We also have partnerships with local and national companies to provide deals on moving and items for your new home. Discounts on home security systems, moving companies, home improvement, and even deals on clothing can be found on our deals page.
Sign up now to talk to a Homes for Heroes agent. There is no obligation, cost, or extra paperwork for you. You can also get Hero Rewards regardless of the down payment assistance or type of loan you use.