Home Loans for Teachers: 10 Teacher Home Buying Programs

By: Peter Warden Updated By: Ryan Tronier Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
March 15, 2024 - 14 min read

How to find grants and home loans for teachers

Home loans for teachers offer deals for educators, usually in the form of reduced fees, lower interest rates, or down payment and closing cost assistance.

By financing a new home with special teacher home buying programs, such as government-backed loans and other teacher grants, these loan programs can make homeownership more affordable for educators.

Read on to learn about the best home loans for teachers. Then compare your options with other loan programs to get the best deal.

Explore your mortgage loan options. Start here

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What are home loans for teachers?

Home loans for teachers are specialized mortgage loan programs designed to support educators in purchasing a home.

These “teacher mortgages” often come with benefits such as lower interest rates, reduced down payment requirements, and assistance with closing costs. In addition, educators can find valuable resources, such as housing counseling tailored to their specific needs.

Furthermore, home buying grants for teachers and teacher down payment assistance programs offer free money and no-interest loans to ease the upfront costs of buying a home.

With a variety of programs available, securing a mortgage loan has become more accessible than ever, ensuring that those who educate our future generations can invest in their own futures as well.

Teacher home buying programs

Are you ready to turn the key to your new home? Browse our list of teacher housing programs, each with unique benefits to help educators become homeowners.

1. Good Neighbor Next Door Program

Perhaps the most valuable home loan for teachers is the Good Neighbor Next Door1 program, which can help educators save up to 50% on certain home purchases.

Explore your mortgage loan options. Start here

Good Neighbor Next Door offers up to 50% off the list price on HUD foreclosure homes. However, that only applies if you want to purchase in a “revitalization area,” as HUD defines it.

To qualify as an educator for this program, you’ll need to be a full-time pre-K through 12th-grade public school teacher. And you must agree to live in the home for at least 36 months.

HUD creates this 50% discount by taking out a silent second mortgage to cover half of the home price. This leaves you responsible for paying only the other half. HUD’s silent lien is forgiven after you’ve occupied the home for three years as a primary residence.

The Good Neighbor Next Door program helps law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMTs, as well as educators. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) runs the program. So you know you can trust it.

Want to find eligible properties in your area that are eligible for this teacher home buying program? Use HUD’s look-up tool.

2. Teacher Next Door Program

The Teacher Next Door2 (TND) initiative is a popular teacher home buying program. In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the program allows eligible teachers to purchase homes at a reduced price in designated revitalization areas. Typically, HUD acquires these homes through foreclosure procedures.

However, the Teacher Next Door program does not limit teachers to only purchasing a home in a targeted area. It allows them to purchase any home on the market.

Educators eligible for TND:

  • All classroom teachers, pre-K through 12th grade
  • Public school teachers
  • Private school teachers
  • College and university professors
Check your home buying eligibility. Start here

The Teacher Next Door Grant and Down Payment Assistance Program

Qualified applicants are also eligible for the Teacher Next Door Grant and additional teacher down payment assistance. You can also pair TND with HUD’s Good Neighbor Next Door (50%) program, as well as other select first-time home buyer programs.

  • Up to $8,000 in grant money
  • Up to $10,681 in additional down payment assistance
  • Fees like application and broker fees are waived
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Discounted title fees

TND also streamlines the home buying process by assisting you with the loan application and closing paperwork.

To participate in the program, teachers must use a participating lender, as TND does not directly underwrite loans.

3. Fresh Start Program

The Fresh Start Program3, part of Teacher Next Door, could help you secure a mortgage if you have a troubled credit history. This program provides free advice on fixing your credit, but does not offer grants or down payment assistance. This can simplify the approval process for a teacher home buying program.

Explore your mortgage loan options. Start here

As its website says:

"[Fresh Start] will discover exactly what credit challenges are preventing your mortgage loan from being approved and help you overcome these issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. This service has proven to be extremely effective in helping buyers raise their credit scores and make home ownership a reality. Consultations are free.”

For teachers, this means a direct path to meeting minimum credit score requirements for any home mortgage program and moving one step closer to a successful home loan application.

4. Homes for Heroes Program

Even if a teacher has saved enough for a down payment on a new home, closing costs and other fees can still be a big challenge. The Homes for Heroes Program4 can help teachers get these fees upfront costs lowered, and, better yet, it can often be paired with other home buyer assistance.

The Homes for Heroes Program can lower:

  • Application fees
  • Origination fees
  • Appraisal fees
  • Inspection fees
  • Processing fees
  • Underwriting fees

Even if a teacher has saved enough for a down payment on a new home, closing costs and other fees can still be a big challenge. The Homes for Heroes Program4 helps reduce these upfront costs, which will make it easier for teachers to buy a house. This program can save you money on closing costs, inspection fees, title fees, and more. Better yet, it can often be paired with other home buyer assistance.

Check your home buying eligibility. Start here

If you’re an educator, signing up for teacher home buying programs like Homes for Heroes allows you to work with participating lenders and real estate agents who offer discounts on their services. The money you save from these discounts can really add up.

For instance, Homes for Heroes suggests you might keep an extra $2,800 in your pocket on the purchase of a $300,000 home. And if the home’s price is higher, you’ll save even more. If you’re an educator looking into home loans for teachers, it’s definitely worth checking out if there are Homes for Heroes affiliates near you.

5. Educator Mortgage Program

Mortgage lender Supreme Lending runs a special teacher home buying program called the Educator Mortgage Program5. This can help reduce your closing costs and real estate agent fees by up to $800 apiece, or $1,600 in total savings.

Keep in mind that the $1,600 figure is a maximum benefit; not all borrowers will qualify for that much. The amount you can receive for each expense — real estate agent commissions and closing costs — will be limited to 0.2% of your loan amount.

To max out the full $800 benefit for both Realtor commissions and closing costs, you’d need a home loan of at least $400,000.

Explore your mortgage loan options. Start here

It’s also important to note that you cannot use this offer in conjunction with another teacher down payment assistance program. But if you’re not using a DPA, it may be worth looking into the Educator Mortgage Program.

Make sure you compare Supreme’s overall rate and costs with those of other lenders. You may be able to save more than $1,600 with another lender if it has significantly lower rates and fees.

6. Your teachers union

Being a member of a teachers’ union may help you become a homeowner sooner than you expected. Many unions offer special teacher home buying programs that provide access to exclusive benefits.

Check your home buying eligibility. Start here

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

If you’re exploring home loans for teachers, your membership in the American Federation of Teachers can be a game-changer. The AFT offers:

  • Exclusive AFT programs aimed at assisting with homeownership.
  • Special lending programs with AFT-affiliated mortgage lenders.
  • Housing counseling

United Federation of Teachers (UFT)

Belonging to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) not only connects you with a community of educators but also unlocks access to:

  • Mortgage discounts through UFT-specific mortgage initiatives.
  • Reduced mortgage rates and lower mortgage insurance premiums from UFT-affiliated lenders.
  • Closing cost grants up to $7,500 for eligible members.

Please note that these programs have varying eligibility requirements and benefits, so it’s important to review each one carefully to understand how they can best meet your individual needs.

7. Teacher down payment assistance programs

Plenty of organizations offer home buyer assistance for would-be homeowners, regardless of occupation. These are called down payment assistance programs.

Verify your home buying eligibility. Start here

Governments at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as nonprofits and charities, frequently run DPA programs.

The Teacher Next Door program should put you in touch with DPAs local to you. But, if you prefer, you can approach them directly. Some DPAs provide grants that you’ll never have to repay. Others offer low-interest loans or forgivable loans.

There are thousands of DPA programs across the country. Each has its own rules about who’s eligible for help. So ask your Realtor or loan officer what’s available in your state and which assistance programs you might qualify for.

8. Local programs providing home loans for teachers

Some states have problems recruiting or retaining teachers. A number of those states offer special home loans for teachers as an incentive to move into certain school districts.

Check your mortgage options. Start here

These tend to fall under the category of down payment assistance but may be more generous than other DPA programs available to the general population. For instance, you might get additional tax credits or grants.

As an example, the California Housing Finance Association (CalHFA) provides a lineup of resources, including grant programs, home loans for teachers with flexible guidelines and credit score requirements, first mortgage loans, and homebuyer education courses.

Again, a service like Teacher Next Door should be able to put you in touch with your local program, assuming there is one near you.

9. Government-backed home loans for teachers

It’s true; not everyone will do better with specialized home loans for teachers. Certain government mortgage programs are already so generous that they could exceed the benefits provided by popular teacher home buying programs.

All of these government-backed loans have the same goal: to make homeownership more accessible and affordable, especially for those who may struggle to meet the demands of conventional loan eligibility requirements. Because teachers frequently face financial challenges as a result of low salaries and high education-related debts, these loans can provide much-needed assistance in achieving their homeownership goals.

FHA loans

The Federal Housing Administration backs FHA loans, which have lower credit scores and down payment requirements than conventional loans and are frequently chosen by first-time homebuyers. This makes home ownership more accessible to teachers, who may not have as high a salary as other professions. FHA loans also permit grants or gifts to be used as down payments, which is helpful for teachers who are eligible for a number of grant programs.

Check your FHA loan options. Start here

VA loans

A VA home loan is hard to beat if you are both a veteran and a teacher (or the spouse of either eligible group). You won’t need a down payment, and you’ll likely receive a competitive mortgage rate. Additionally, VA loans have no ongoing mortgage insurance, even if you put little or nothing down. Over other affordable options like the FHA loan, that is a significant advantage.

Explore your VA loan options. Start here

USDA loans

Similar to VA loans, loans guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture also let you buy with no down payment. USDA loans also offer lower interest rates and mortgage insurance rates than most other loan types.

For a USDA mortgage, eligibility depends on income limits and where you’re buying — it needs to be somewhere sparsely populated, rural, or suburban. Your income can’t exceed 15% above the local median.

Many teachers who work in rural areas could potentially take advantage of this program. USDA loans can offer 100% financing (no down payment), making them an attractive option for those who may struggle to save a substantial down payment.

Explore your USDA loan options. Start here

10. Conventional loans for teachers

Although not specifically among the top home loans for teachers, the mortgage programs offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are pivotal in providing affordable homeownership, especially for educators who contribute so much to our communities. These programs come with benefits that are especially advantageous to those in the teaching profession.

Review conventional loan quotes from multiple lenders. Start here

Fannie Mae’s HomeReady Program

HomeReady is intended to assist low- to moderate-income borrowers who have less than the average down payment savings. Teachers may benefit from this program because it has a low down payment requirement of as little as 3% and flexible funding, which means the down payment and closing costs can come from a variety of sources, such as gifts or grants.

HomeReady also provides lower mortgage insurance premiums than conventional mortgage insurance. To qualify, income limits based on the area’s median income apply, but these limits are waived if the property is located in a low-income neighborhood.

Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Program

Home Possible, like HomeReady, is intended to help low- to moderate-income homebuyers. It also allows for a 3% down payment, which can come from a variety of sources, including family, employer assistance programs, secondary financing, and sweat equity. It also allows non-resident co-borrowers to be on the loan, which could help teachers qualify with a higher income level. Income limits apply again, but they are waived if you buy in a designated low-income neighborhood.

Pros and cons of home loans for teachers

When it comes to securing home loans for teachers, there are several advantages and drawbacks worth considering.


  • Accessibility to affordable housing: Home loans for teachers offer terms that make buying a single-family home more accessible for educators.
  • Favorable terms in key states: In states such as California and Texas, where it’s crucial for teachers to reside in the communities they serve, home loans for educators may include extra perks like down payment assistance or lower interest rates, adapted to the area’s cost of living.
  • Assistance with private mortgage insurance (PMI): Home loans for teachers often offer reduced private mortgage insurance premiums or entirely waive PMI costs all-together.
  • Refinancing opportunities: For those who already own their homes, the opportunity to refinance through teacher home buying programs can provide a path to lower interest rates and better loan terms, potentially saving thousands over the life of the loan.
  • Ongoing support: Many teacher home buying programs go beyond just offering loans; they provide comprehensive support throughout the home-buying process. This includes counseling, financial education, and sometimes even grants for closing costs.


  • Geographical limitations: Teacher home buying programs can come with location-based restrictions. For instance, an educator in a rural area might not have as many options as someone in a metropolitan area.
  • Full-time status requirement: Part-time educators may find it challenging to qualify for home buying assistance, as many of these programs are designed specifically for full-time teachers.
  • Complexity: Teacher housing programs can be complicated. For instance, some programs are contingent on the educator’s continued service in the profession. This could be restrictive for those considering a career change or who may face unexpected life changes.

While home loans for teachers can present remarkable opportunities for affordable housing, it’s important for educators to weigh these pros and cons carefully before committing to a specific teacher home buying program.

Home loans for teachers FAQ

Verify your home buying eligibility. Start here

Can teachers get a lower mortgage rate?

Yes, teachers can often receive lower mortgage rates through specific programs designed to support educators in the home buying process. Many lenders and organizations offer discounted rates as part of teacher mortgage programs. These programs may vary by location and lender, so it’s advisable to research and inquire about teacher-specific options available to you.

How do you calculate teacher income for a mortgage?

To calculate teacher income for a mortgage, lenders typically consider your base salary, consistent overtime, bonuses, and any additional income from second jobs or tutoring, provided these have been consistent over the past two years. Documentation such as pay stubs, tax returns, and employment verification letters is often required to validate income for teacher home buying programs.

Is the Teacher Next Door program good?

The Teacher Next Door program is highly beneficial for educators looking to purchase a home. It offers an array of advantages, including grants for down payment assistance, reduced closing costs, and special home buying financing options. However, eligibility and benefits can vary, so reviewing the specific terms and conditions of the program is recommended to determine its suitability for your circumstances.

Are teacher home loans a scam?

While it’s advisable to be wary of offers that seem too good to be true, home loans for teachers—particularly those that come with the endorsement of Teacher Next Door or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—are typically reliable and secure. Government-endorsed teacher home buying programs and down payment assistance initiatives offer a substantial level of legitimacy, despite the incredulity some may feel towards such generous grants.

Are teacher home loans always best for teachers?

Home loans for teachers are often tailor-made to provide benefits for educators. Yet, it’s possible for some teachers to uncover more advantageous terms through alternative avenues. For instance, teacher home buying programs may not be competitive with the benefits offered by VA loans, should a teacher also have a military service background. It’s also possible to combine standard loans with teacher down payment assistance for further financial advantage. It’s important to thoroughly examine all available options to ensure you choose the best home loan program for you.

Check your eligibility for teacher home buying programs

Securing home loans for teachers may seem like a complex process, but in reality, many educators find it more straightforward than anticipated.

Even without the aid of specific teacher home buying programs, the journey toward homeownership is well within reach. You can easily begin your search by comparing mortgage rates from multiple lenders and then applying for loan preapproval.

It’s a quick, hassle-free procedure with no strings attached, and you can start that process by clicking the links below. You’re likely already eligible for a teacher home loan program.

Time to make a move? Let us find the right mortgage for you


1Good Neighbor Next Door

2Teacher Next Door 

3Fresh Start program

4Homes for Heroes program

5Educator Mortgage program

Peter Warden
Authored By: Peter Warden
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Peter Warden has been writing for a decade about mortgages, personal finance, credit cards, and insurance. His work has appeared across a wide range of media. He lives in a small town with his partner of 25 years.
Ryan Tronier
Updated By: Ryan Tronier
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Ryan Tronier is a personal finance writer and editor. His work has been published on NBC, ABC, USATODAY, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, and more. Ryan is the former managing editor of the finance website Sapling, as well as the former personal finance editor at Slickdeals.
Paul Centopani
Reviewed By: Paul Centopani
The Mortgage Reports Editor
Paul Centopani is a writer and editor who started covering the lending and housing markets in 2018. Previous to joining The Mortgage Reports, he was a reporter for National Mortgage News. Paul grew up in Connecticut, graduated from Binghamton University and now lives in Chicago after a decade in New York and the D.C. area.