Teacher Next Door Blog

Congratulations Rachel Streker of Attleboro, MA on your new home! We wish you many years of happy memories! ?? ?? Review: "The Teacher Next Door program is amazing!  I chose this program because of the knowledge and the help that I would receive. James set me up with Jesse who helped me sell my home and buy my new home. Knowing that I had a team for selling and buying my home made my life so much easier. James was always available for questions. Being a teacher is already super stressful and having this program makes buying a home so much less stressful. Thank you for everything!"

Rachel Streker,
Attleboro, MA

Read 100's of Teacher Next Door reviews at www.TeacherNextDoor.us/reviews


Posted by Teacher Staff on January 4th, 2020 9:53 AM

Congratulations to Catie Konstas, of Middlesex, MA on your beautiful new home! Thanks again for the kind words!  Here’s what Catie had to say:
“I could not have had a better experience looking for my first home! As a super busy young teacher, the process of looking for a house in my price range was at first daunting. I decided to contact James Ward to chat about the Teacher Next Door program and by the end of the first call, I understood so much more about the logistics of buying a house. James is very knowledgeable and professional- he is always available to talk and answers your questions thoroughly. When I was ready to see my first house, James referred me to Jesse Mason of Colby Hunter Realty. I truly believe that Jesse is the best in the business. Jesse was available for help at any given time and always gave me his honest opinion. Even though the process took longer than expected, Jesse and James always offered me their full attention and continuously had my back. Both James and Jesse have been so patient and kind throughout this process. I have already suggested them to other friends and family who may be interested in purchasing or refinancing in the near future. I am now a homeowner! Thank you so, so, so much for all of your help and support! I feel completely blessed.”
Catie Konstas
Middlesex, MA

More reviews


Posted by Teacher Staff on November 16th, 2019 12:39 PM

Incredible Blessing!


Teacher Next Door Realtor: N/A re-finance
Teacher Next Door Loan Officer: Becky Patton

"This process was an incredible blessing to my family!  Becky is the most knowledgeable, friendly, and extremely helpful person that I have worked with.  She graciously held my hand as we walked through the re-finance process, answering EVERY question that I had, whenever I had one.  I feel like I can call her right now and just shoot the breeze with her and she would be totally cool with it." 
Korey Collins
Tyrone, GA


Always There!


Teacher Next Door Realtor: Linda Wagner
Teacher Next Door Loan Officer: Danny Thompson

"Always there to explain and walk me through the process.  Without you guys and the Teacher Next Door Program, I wouldn't have been able to do it!" 
Leea Gallimore
Nashville, TN

Read hundreds of new Teacher Next Door Program certified buyer reviews at https://www.teachernextdoor.us/Reviews or REVIEWS

Posted by Teacher Staff on October 12th, 2019 1:10 PM

Amazing! Responsive!


Teacher Next Door Realtor: Kyra Harrison
Teacher Next Door Loan Officer: Sheff Brisbin

"Sheff, Sandra and the entire team are AMAZING! Our journey was a long one, but never did they never leave our side. Sheff will speak up and protect your interest every step of the way. These guys are kind, knowledgeable, trustworthy, and most of all very responsive. This is the team I recommend to everyone I speak to that wants to buy a home. Thank you for your help in making our dream to come through. I would encourage anyone having a difficult time in their home buying process to hang in there and ask Sheff to tell you the story of the Asuquo's. They are truly God sent."

Shiann Asuquo
East Orange, NJ

Read hundreds of new Teacher Next Door Program certified buyer reviews at https://www.teachernextdoor.us/Reviews or REVIEWS


Posted by Teacher Staff on October 4th, 2019 1:17 PM

We received this email review today from Graciela Cruz.  Thank you so much for the kind words!  We hope you and your family are getting settled into your new home and wish you many happy new memories. :)

September 27, 2019


Buying a home could be a very overwhelming experience if you do not have the right people on your side.  Mrs. McLean's expertise on the home purchasing process definitely alleviated this burden for me and my family.  I knew she was going to be the right person to work with from the very first time we viewed a property together.  She understood my overwhelming life as a teacher and made accommodations without hesitation to work around my schedule.  Mrs. McLean is very knowledgeable and understood what my family needed from the beginning.  She always knew what to say when times got difficult and gave a generous part of her commission to help with closing costs!  The house she found, it’s the perfect home for us! 

Graciela Cruz,
Primary Teacher
Bryan Elementary
Plant City, FL 

Read hundreds of new Teacher Next Door Program certified buyer reviews at https://www.teachernextdoor.us/Reviews or REVIEWS


Posted by Teacher Staff on September 27th, 2019 3:08 PM

Teacher Next Door’s stated mission is to increase home ownership, support community development and increase access to affordable housing, free from discrimination.  So why is home ownership so important?  The following research from multiple sources speak clearly to the importance of home ownership in America:

  • Children of homeowners are significantly more likely to stay in school until age 17 than children of renters, especially in low-income households, according to a study in the Journal of Urban Economics.
  • Children in home owning families outperform children in renting families in both math and reading achievement tests, even when other factors are the same. These children will have fewer behavioral problems, higher educational attainment and greater future earnings, according to a study by an Ohio State University economist.
  • The graduation rate for children of homeowners is 19 percent higher than for renters, and they are twice as likely to acquire some post secondary education, according to a study in a journal published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • A 2014 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston of homes with a student about to enter college found that a modest increase in home value for homeowners led to an increase in the child’s earnings later in life, while an increase in a property’s value for renters led to a decrease in the child’s earnings.
  • “A safe, decent, affordable home is like a vaccine,” Dr. Megan Sandel of the Boston University School of Medicine testified to Congress in 2007. “It literally prevents disease. A safe home can prevent mental health and developmental problems, a decent home may prevent asthma or lead poisoning, and an affordable home can prevent stunted growth and unnecessary hospitalizations.

While it’s true that home ownership will not solve every problem, we are proud to do our part to help families across America realize their dream of becoming homeowners. 

Housing GRANTS and down payment assistance is currently available for teachers, school employees, nurses and healthcare workers, law enforcement, firefighters, government employees and military families.  For a complete list of available programs you may visit    www.teachernextdoor.us/Home.Buying.Programs.


Research contributed by Garrett Helminski.


Posted by Teacher Staff on September 23rd, 2019 4:13 PM

Congratulations to Graciela Cruz on your lovely new home in Plant City, FL!  We wish you many years of happy new memories!  Thank you to TND Realtor Cheri Aumond McLean and TND Loan Officer / Program Specialist Mike Jones for your outstanding work!

Here's what Graciela had to say.  "Mr. Jones was professional, patient and kind when it came to explaining how the home buying process works.  This is my first time purchasing a home and he took care of every single detail for me.  Cheri, our Teacher Next Door Realtor, was as professional and friendly as he is."  MORE REVIEWS

Teacher Next Door currently has housing GRANTS available in all 50 states.  In addition, you may be eligible for down payment assistance up to $10,681.00.  For information on all available programs, please CLICK HERE.


Posted by Teacher Staff on August 23rd, 2019 10:33 AM

Congratulations Bryan and Kayla Randall of Winter Haven, FL on your beautiful new home!  We would like to wish you many years of happy memories.

Thank you Teacher Next Door Realtor, Cheri Aumond McLean for going above and beyond.

For information on GRANTS, down payment assistance and other programs - CLICK HERE


Posted by Teacher Staff on May 13th, 2019 10:37 AM

How can a teacher with bad credit get approved for a mortgage to buy a home?  As the largest National Home Buying Program in the U.S., it is a question we are asked every day.   The honest answer is, it depends.

FICO scores between 500-580

FHA now allows loan approvals with FICO credit scores as low as 500.  However, if your score is between 500 and 580, there are at least two important differences from the typical FHA loan:

Down Payment: 
FHA requires all buyers with scores below 580 to put a minimum of 10% down.  Whereas other loan programs may be as low as 0-3.5% down.

In addition to the larger down payment, with a score below 580, FHA will require that the application go through a process known as “hand-underwriting,” as opposed to the typical automated process.  The underwriters will be looking for a specific hardship to explain the low credit score and will likely need a good “letter of explanation”

Compensating factors: During hand-underwriting, the underwriter will consider compensating factors, to get the loan approved for you.  These may include things such as a long and stable employment history, high income, excellent rental history and high cash reserves.  A low debt-to-income-ratio will also help.  For example, 29/41. (29% or gross for PITI and 41% of gross total monthly debt.) 

Teacher Next Door accepts all applications, regardless of credit score and our Preferred Lenders will work hard to get a loan approval for you.  Many buyers with scores below 580 may find it necessary, or easier, to repair their credit prior to moving forward with a home purchase.  Teacher Next Door’s Fresh Start Program could be a possible solution to help you raise your score.

FICO score of 580+

If your score is above 580, you should be able to get an FHA loan with only 3.5% down payment.  You may also not need to go through the hand underwriting process, making it easier to get approved.    

Grants and Down Payment Assistance for Teachers

All teachers and school employees are eligible for the Teacher Next Door GRANT, regardless of credit score.  However, you would still need to qualify for the mortgage financing.  With a credit score above 580, you may be eligible for down payment assistance.  Teacher Next Door requires each of our three national Preferred Lenders to offer several different down payment assistance options.  These DPA programs may include Home in Five Advantage, Georgia Dream, Florida First, Chenoa, Unison and several others.  When you apply through the Teacher Next Door Program, a TND Program Specialist will contact you to go over the various options.  A credit check is not required to complete the pre-application

If you have other Questions about the Teacher Next Door Program, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section at


Teacher Next Door Reviews


Fresh Start Program

Posted by Teacher Staff on April 8th, 2019 4:12 PM

“James and the Teacher Next Door program recently made my dream of home ownership come true! He could not have made the process any easier from explaining the loan options, setting me up with an amazing Realtor, making sure I knew exactly what each home would cost before I viewed them, to arranging for the closing and talking me through the process. He answered a ton of questions with a calm kindness and seemed to always be available no matter the day or time. This is a wonderful program for teachers! I would not have a home today if it was not for James and his team! Don’t wait to call them, they will help change your life.” Krissy Vilagie, Brocton, MA

More Teacher Next Door Program Reviews


GRANTS and Down Payment Assistance


Posted by Teacher Staff on April 4th, 2019 1:41 PM


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