What’s the “Good Neighbors Next Door” Program?

Everyone praises heroes, but all too often it is faint praise, unbacked by deed.  And while material reward, in speech or substance, clearly isn’t that important to most police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, and teachers, it certainly can’t hurt to recognize those who personify good values and community service. The government has a program that recognizes and helps these often unsung heroes. It’s called Good Neighbors Next Door.

Good Neighbors Next Door

The Department of Housing and Urban Development program, Good Neighbors Next Door, seeks to reward the people who serve, who put their lives on the line to save or enrich the lives of others in the community. The program offers selected single family properties for sale to fire fighters, teachers, police officers, and emergency medical technicians, at 50 percent off list price. Some restrictions do apply, of course. The homes are in stated Revitalization Areas and each is initially listed on the program for only seven days. Prospective purchasers must commit to live in the home for 36 months as their sole residence. They must be a full time employee of an accredited body such as state, local, federal, or tribal government for law enforcement, firefighters, medical technicians, or accredited schools for teachers. What happens if the applicant leaves employment in the profession that allowed qualification for home purchase during the 36 months of required residence? Can that applicant still keep the home? Yes, but they must continue living in it for the full required 36 months. Also, at the time of purchase, all applicants are required to state a good faith intention to remain in their qualifying profession.

Other Important Criteria

What about being a first time homebuyer? Is that necessary? No, but you must not own a residential property at the time your offer for the GNND program is submitted, and you must not have owned a home for one year prior to that. Can you bargain on price? No again. The price is based upon 50% of the HUD appraisal and is non-negotiable. Do you need a realtor or broker? Yes, you do. What about earnest money? Yes, but it is a minimal amount, between $500 and $2000, which will be credited to the purchaser at closing. There are many options regarding financing to consider with your lender, including VA, FHA, or conventional mortgages. The FHA can offer 203(k) mortgages if repair or rehabilitation will cost over $5000, or has another program available for lesser repairs, if necessary.

Where are the Homes in the Good Neighbor Next Door Program?

These properties are located in Revitalization Areas scattered all across the country. There are hundreds of these areas, and HUD is constantly at work with localities to find more. There are certain criteria these Revitalization Areas need to meet regarding household income, ownership rate, and FHA insured mortgage foreclosure rates in the area.

What is the Aim of the Good Neighbor Next Door Program?

The aim of the GNND is simple: It is to strengthen America’s local communities. And how better to do that than to bring to those communities citizens who have demonstrated selflessness and community service in their professional lives? This is a program that is win-win. It rewards these people of demonstrable good character and intention, but it rewards the rest of us, especially those who are neighbors, as well. So, if you are searching for a home, or you know a hero who is, contact your lender, realtor, or broker for more details.