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If you are a public servant interested in buying a house, you may be able to save a lot of money if you purchase a property through the Good Neighbor Next Door (GNND) program. That initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), offers designated single-family homes, including houses, townhomes and condominiums, to full-time police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and Pre-K through 12th-grade teachers at 50 percent less than list price.

How Does the Program Work?
HUD designates specific geographic locations as Revitalization Areas based on household income, homeownership rates and Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgage foreclosure activity. HUD works with localities to designate new areas for revitalization. The department uses initiatives such as the GNND program to revitalize those areas by expanding opportunities for homeownership.

A limited number of homes are available through the program. Those properties have been acquired by HUD as a result of foreclosures on FHA-insured mortgages. They are listed for sale exclusively through the GNND program and are only available at a discount through the program for seven days.

HUD sets guidelines on debt-to-income ratio. There is no income limit, and participants don’t need to be first-time homebuyers. If multiple people submit offers for the same house, a random lottery determines the winner.

GNND is not a mortgage program. The buyer is responsible for securing financing and paying closing costs. Qualified buyers who seek an FHA-insured mortgage may be able to make a down payment of just $100 instead of 3.5 percent. A buyer may also be able to obtain financing through the Veterans Affairs Administration. A lender that is not FHA-approved can finance a mortgage for a property through the program if the buyer meets the requirements for a conventional loan.

Someone who purchases a home through the GNND program must agree to live there for 36 months, and the house must be used as a primary residence. A buyer must sign a second mortgage and a note for the amount of the discount off the purchase price. A buyer who lives in a house for three years and meets other requirements doesn’t have to make any payments and doesn’t owe interest on the amount of the note. After the program’s requirements have been met, HUD releases the second mortgage, and then the owner can choose to stay in the property or sell it.

How to Find a Home Through the Program
Check the properties available in designated Revitalization Areas in your state. If you see one that interests you, submit a bid. The list changes weekly, so if you don’t find a home that suits your needs, keep checking back.

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