Home-Buying Programs Help our Military Members

by Dan Lesniak

Buying a home is a cornerstone of the American Dream. There are programs and resources of all kinds to help people achieve this dream. This includes programs to help our military men and women provide a home of their own. If you are a vet or active service member along the Orange Line, be sure to check out these key resources to get you on the road to home ownership.

Perhaps the most well-known program for military members is the VA Loan Program. This has been around since 1944 and provides loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are key benefits that VA loans offer to make home ownership more accessible. There is no requirement to provide a down payment, getting you over one of the biggest hurdles toward home ownership with ease. Loans with zero to low down payments typically are required to include mortgage insurance to protect the lending institution should the loan be defaulted. This makes for a higher mortgage payment at no direct benefit to the homeowner. With VA loans this is not an issue, as no mortgage insurance is required. VA loans also have lower interest rates compared to other loans, and there are limits on the amount of closing costs that can be included in a loan. These loans also have more lenient credit requirements.

One other thing to note with VA Loans is that they are structured with the idea that the military member will be living in the home full time. Do not let this stop you from seeking a loan if you are active and with the potential to be deployed away from home. If you have a spouse and/or children who will also live in the home, often they can fulfill the occupancy requirement while you are gone. If the home-buying process is being done and you are deployed before it is finished, a Power of Attorney giving your spouse the right to sign documents for you can also be filed.

Active-duty members of the military receive a Basic Allowance for Housing. Did you know you can use your monthly allowance to help qualify for a home loan? Mortgage lenders can use your housing allowance as part of your monthly income. This can be especially helpful when it comes to buying a home in areas where homes cost more.

There is also additional help available for active-duty members after they buy a home. If you are deployed, or you are faced with a change in station, this can drastically change the dynamic of your financial situation. The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was put in place to help you protect your home and your family. You are protected when it comes to eviction, foreclosure, income tax payments, interest rates and more.

If you are faced with changes that will cause a financial burden, you can seek a cap to your interest rate during your term of service. Since the start of the SCRA, lenders are required to seek a court order before they can foreclose on any home with active-duty military members while they are in service and up to 9 months after their return. This process includes your own opportunity to work with the Veterans Affairs office to receive foreclosure avoidance protection assistance, and have a better chance to keep your home. When you are ready to buy or sell your home, myself and the Orange Line Living team, are here to provide you with our unique and specialized services, so you can turn your dreams into reality. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us directly at 571-969-7653 or at [email protected]

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