If you — or a member of your immediate family — are an emergency first responder or a member of the military — you could be eligible for specialized programs aimed at easing the home-buying process. The programs, which were created to honor those who have served, may save you time and money.
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides mortgage help to veterans, active military and qualified spouses. Down payments and private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI are oftentimes waived. Assistance is also available for veterans with service-related disabilities, Native American vets and those seeking to refinance a loan.
Military financial institutions
USAA Bank and military credit unions such as the Navy Federal Credit Union offer special loan programs to veterans, active service members, and immediate family. For instance, the Navy Federal Credit Union will include an appraisal costing up to $500 at no charge. In many instances, PMI is waived, and down payments are minimal to none. Both Navy Federal and USAA offer rebates following the sale or purchase of a home, based on the final home price.
First responder mortgages
Similar to military programs, credit unions offer special assistance to emergency medical responders. These mortgages eliminate application and processing fees and provide both active first responders, whether paid or volunteer, with mortgages and down payment assistance in combination with conventional loans, or through their own private lending programs. Other benefits include low or no down payments, competitive interest rates, and more flexible credit qualifications.
Through the Hometown Heroes program, mortgage lenders and real estate agents partner in local communities to offer first responders, military, healthcare workers, teachers, and other public-service professionals special rates and rebates as a way of expressing gratitude for their service. Buyers and sellers benefit from savings on home transactions and mortgage refinancing.