As an educator of sixteen years, I can tell you, “Of course you can!” I know, first hand, that most teachers work two jobs, just so they can teach. Is that fair? Absolutely NOT! In addition, many teachers are throwing their money away on the rental market, particularly new teachers just entering the profession. Believe me…I lived it! How do we fix that?
According to an article by Rent Jungle, “As of December 2016, average apartment rent within the city of Phoenix, AZ is $1027” (“Rent Trend Data,” 2016). This number varies, according to the city one lives in, but that is potentially over $12,000 a year thrown into the wind. There is no equity in renting. Some may argue that the fees that coincide with owning a home are not worth it, but consider the following with home ownership: No pet deposit, one can have any pet one wishes, within reason (and any size), a private yard, collateral, no shared walls (or floors, or ceilings), tax write-offs, capital gains relief, and the ability to build equity. Consider using home ownership as a personal savings account, as long-term owning is less expensive than renting and that puts more money in one’s pocket.
I’m not suggesting that buying a home is going to solve all your financial woes, but there is something to creating roots where you work. “Teachers, in particular, benefit from building net worth, establishing roots and contributing financially to neighborhoods in which they work” (Teacher’s Benefits for Buying,” n.d.). There are both advantages and disadvantages to teaching and living in the neighborhood in which one teaches. Not all teachers like to live where they work, but those that do, really do.
I sent out a message to all teachers on my Facebook page, asking for the positive aspects of living in the community in which they teach. The following five comments are a few of the positive responses:
Dayna, a teacher in Oklahoma states, “I enjoy seeing my students and their families around the community. It helps me build better rapport and establish a good relationship. Since I live where I teach, I feel invested and I find myself caring about the community because I work and live here!”
Kate, in Peoria, Arizona likes that her schedule is the same as her son’s school schedule. “I won’t have to drive 30 minutes to drive him to play with his friends, and being closer to them, I’m more likely to get to know them and their families better,” she states.
Jason, who teaches 6th grade in Gilbert, Arizona, states, “ I can drop my kids home after school, if we have a late meeting, or school activity.” He states he likes the convenience as some teachers have to make other arrangements, or keep their kids at school on those particular nights.”
Eric, a band director in Gilbert, Arizona, states, “I am better able to bring awareness of my program if I am a part of the community as well.”
Julie, in Minnesota, lived about one and a half blocks from the school she taught at for eighteen years. “I loved being able to walk to school and, living in Minnesota, I didn’t have to worry about bad driving conditions,” she states.
Therefore, buying a home in the area in which one teaches offers a number of benefits. Consider rent at an even $1,000 a month. This info is take from The Loan Officer's Guide and shows how much one would spend, over time.
Rent = $1,000
1 year = $12,000
2 years = $24,000
5 years = $60,000
10 years = $120,000
20 years = $240,0000
You get the idea. The best news is that there are many down payment assistance programs available and some geared directly to teachers, regardless of whether one chooses to live in the neighborhood in which one teaches. In Arizona, some teachers can receive up to a 4% grant toward the purchase price of the home!!! If you don’t have your own lender, your realtor can help you connect with the right lender to fit your needs. You might even be surprised at how much you actually qualify for in purchasing a new home! This may allow you to start putting your money in your pocket and investing in your future.