Personal Finance

Homes for Heroes: Assistance for Home Buyers and Sellers

Homes for Heroes connects first responders, teachers, health care workers, members of the military and veterans with local real estate and lending professionals. You’ll receive a discount — which varies, depending on the service provided and whether you’re buying, selling or refinancing — from each service provider you use within the Homes for Heroes network.

Here’s more about how Homes for Heroes works and how much you could save.

What does Homes for Heroes do?

The Homes for Heroes program has two parts. Homes for Heroes Inc., the for-profit side, is a network of real estate agents, mortgage professionals and related service providers who work with qualifying home buyers and sellers.

Homes for Heroes Inc. provides discounted services to home buyers and sellers who are current or former:

  • First responders (including law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics).

  • Teachers (from pre-K through to post-secondary).

  • Active or former service members or reservists.

  • Health care professionals (including doctors, nurses and other providers).

This list isn’t exhaustive, so if you aren’t sure whether you would qualify, contact Homes for Heroes directly. These discounts help you save on costs associated with buying, selling or refinancing a home, like title fees, home inspections and real estate agent commissions.

The Homes for Heroes Foundation is the program’s nonprofit side, which makes grants to local nonprofits to provide housing and financial assistance for veterans or people in qualifying professions. A portion of what you pay for services through Homes for Heroes Inc. goes to the Homes for Heroes Foundation, which is also supported by direct donations.

How much does Homes for Heroes cost?

There’s no upfront cost to participate in the Homes for Heroes program. Instead, you pay the individual service providers you work with. To get started, you’ll fill out a form that includes your contact information, then one of their real estate agents or loan specialists will reach out to you.

Not getting to pick and choose whom you work with is a big trade-off to consider — you’ll be limited to professionals within the Homes for Heroes network who are local to your area. That said, if you are already working with a real estate agent or a mortgage broker, you can have them reach out to Homes for Heroes about becoming an affiliate. Otherwise, you’ll work with who’s assigned to you.

Saving on closing costs with Homes for Heroes

How much you’ll save with Homes for Heroes depends on whether you’re buying, selling or refinancing a home, and the services you use. You’ll get a discount, in the form of a rebate, on any service provided through their network. For example:

  • If you work with a Homes for Heroes real estate agent to buy a home, you’ll get a check for 0.7% of the purchase price after closing. (So if you bought a $300,000 home, you would receive $2,100.)

  • If you use the mortgage, home inspection, or title services of a Homes for Heroes provider, you can receive rebates that range between $50 (home inspection) and $500 (lender fees) on average.

  • If you sell your home with a Homes for Heroes real estate agent, you’ll receive a 25% discount on the agent’s gross commission at closing.

You don’t have to exclusively use Homes for Heroes service providers. For example, if you want to work with a Homes for Heroes real estate agent but choose a different title insurance company, you can — you just won’t get a rebate on the title services.

Homes for Heroes says home buyers and sellers who use its services save an average of $2,400. Closing costs average about 2% to 5% of the total purchase or refinance price of a home, so saving a couple thousand dollars certainly doesn’t hurt. You’ll just need to decide whether you’re comfortable working with professionals provided to you by the Homes for Heroes network only.

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet