Landed: Down Payment Assistance for Teachers


If Mark Zuckerberg is investing in a startup, good chances are you want to pay attention to it. He has a knack for business and one of his primary goals is to invest in businesses that will make the world better, and one of his latest investments does just that. Landed aims to help educators purchase a home.

 Landed Down Payment Assistance for Teachers

Landed is a Real Estate Startup to Watch

No one can argue that educators in the United States are paid far less than they deserve. Many teachers spend their own money stocking their classrooms and maintaining the well-being of their students. They work hours beyond the normal school day, grading papers and preparing lesson plans. Unless their spouse has a much better paying job or they’re able to supplement during summer break, it can take a toll on their own finances.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, recently invested $5 million in Landed via the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The folks at Landed believe educators are integral to providing safer communities and better schools, so they want to make it possible for good educators to buy homes where they work.   Landed aims to do this by providing down payment assistance for educators in return for a share in the equity of the home. Landed is paid when the home is sold or at the end of the agreement period (10-30 years). The home owner can also opt to end the agreement and buy them out early. Landed receives the total of their initial investment and a percent of any equity gained.

For a breakdown of the financials, see How Landed Works.

Living in the Home

Once the homes is purchased, the buyers live in the home just like any other responsible owner would. They must maintain the home to a reasonable extent while living there. If an independent appraiser determines at the time of sale or the end of the agreement that the home wasn’t maintained, the owner will have to compensate Landed for the loss of value.

Any improvements the home owners make will not be included in the gains at the end of the agreement as long as the improvements are properly documented and Landed is notified prior to the start of any projects. Landed wants to be fair and properly credit the home owners for their investment, which is why they’ll guide them through the process.

Some people may argue that if a buyer can’t afford a down payment, they shouldn’t be buying a home. What they may not realize is that the loan programs that allow for a smaller 10% down payment are not available in all markets. In the higher cost markets, like San Francisco, educators are still needed, but the salary doesn’t always meet the cost of living. Programs like Landed are working to level the playing field. By providing a larger down payment, educators can lower mortgage costs, both monthly and over the course of the loan.

How does an educator qualify?

Straight from Landed’s website, a homebuyer must meet the following requirements:

  • They must be an employee of a participating institution.
  • They must contribute at least 10% towards the purchase of the home. While gifts from family members can count toward this total, they must be properly documented as such. Borrowed funds (i.e. loans) do not count towards this minimum.

After the purchase, buyers must meet a few more requirements:

  • The home must be used as a primary residence for at least the first year.
  • The home must be located within an eligible area.
  • They must agree to stay with their current employer for at least the next two years. If they choose to leave voluntarily, they may be required to pay back the funds even if they aren’t planning on selling the home.

Currently, Landed is not available in North Carolina. Even with Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s investment, eligible areas are only in California. However, this is definitely a real estate startup to watch. Landed and similar companies could quickly make their way into other states.

What do you think? Are you an educator? Would you welcome the opportunities that Landed provides?


About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.