As a thank you for their service, veterans and active military are eligible for special benefits when purchasing a home. Reaching as far back as President Herbert Hoover, the programs have helped veterans and their families find and purchase affordable housing. As a veteran or active-duty service member, here’s what you need to know.
How do I qualify?
Income, credit history and length of service are all used to determine eligibility. In some situations, spouses qualify, if the veteran or service member is deceased or missing in action. Apply online, through your lender, or directly through the Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as the VA.
What kind of home can I buy?
New and existing single-family homes and condominiums are eligible, as well as manufactured homes and lots for veterans and active military members. The program can be used to purchase and immediately make improvements to a fixer-upper. In some cases, the money can be applied to upgrades, like installing energy-efficient materials. You can also use the program to refinance a current home for a lower interest rate. However, the veteran (or qualified surviving spouse) must live in the home as a primary residence.
What are the benefits of using this program?
Using a VA-backed loan gives lenders the opportunity to present you, as a home buyer, with more beneficial financing conditions. The down payment and private mortgage insurance requirements are waived. The VA also places limits on closing costs.
Other details for veterans and active military.
VA-backed loans are not limited to one-time use, nor are they exclusive to first-time buyers. Using the VA program to refinance, you may be able to roll existing debt like student loans into your mortgage, with your primary residence as collateral. This program applies to all active and retired and/or honorably discharged service members who meet the criteria. The Department of Veterans Affairs website gives all necessary information on specific qualifications.