For over 78 years, Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans have provided millions of veterans with the opportunity to purchase homes of their own. If you or a loved one have served, it’s important to understand this program and its benefits.
Here are some things you should know about VA loans before you start the homebuying process.
What Are VA Loans?
VA home loans provide a pathway to homeownership for those who have served our nation. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs describes the program like this:
“VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.”
Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan Program
In addition to helping eligible buyers achieve their homeownership dreams, VA loans have several other great benefits for buyers who qualify. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs:
- Qualified borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment.
- Many other loans with down payments under 20% require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). VA Loans do not require PMI, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.
- VA-Backed Loans often offer competitive terms and mortgage interest rates.
A recent article from Veterans United sums up just how impactful this loan option can be:
“For the vast majority of military borrowers, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market. These flexible, $0-down payment mortgages have helped more than 24 million service members become homeowners since 1944.”
John Bell, Acting Executive Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Loan Guaranty Service, also explains why this program is so powerful:
“It provides early ownership for many people that would not have that opportunity to begin with. Since there’s no down payment, it allows people to hold their wealth and it gives them the ability to have long term financial security by being able to own a house and let that equity grow.”
Homeownership is the American Dream. Our veterans sacrifice so much in service of our nation, and one way we can honor and thank them is to ensure they have the best information about the benefits of VA home loans. Thank you for your service.
For more information about loans, visit “Buying” on my website.
With higher mortgage rates, you might be wondering if now’s the best time to buy a home. While the financial aspects are important to consider, there are also powerful non-financial reasons it may make sense to make a move. Here are just a few of the benefits that come with homeownership.
Homeowners Can Make Their Home Truly Their Own
Owning your home gives you a significant sense of accomplishment because it’s a space you can customize to your heart’s desire. That can bring you added happiness.
In fact, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows making updates or remodeling your home can help you feel more at ease and comfortable in your living space. NAR measures this with a Joy Score that indicates how much happiness specific home upgrades bring. According to NAR:
“There were numerous interior projects that received a perfect Joy Score of 10: paint entire interior of home, paint one room of home, add a new home office, hardwood flooring refinish, new wood flooring, closet renovation, insulation upgrade, and attic conversion to living area.”
And as a homeowner, unless there are specific homeowner’s association requirements, you typically won’t have to worry about the changes you can and can’t make.
If you rent, you may not have the same freedom. And if you do make changes as a renter, there’s a good chance you’ll need to revert them back at the end of your lease based on your rental agreement. That can add additional costs when you move out.
The Responsibilities of Homeownership Give You a Greater Sense of Achievement
There’s no denying taking care of your home is a large responsibility, but it’s one you’ll take pride in as a homeowner. Freddie Mac explains:
“As the homeowner, you have the freedom to adopt a pet, paint the walls any color you choose, renovate your kitchen, and more. . . . Of course, along with the freedoms of homeownership come responsibilities, such as making your monthly mortgage payments on time and maintaining your home. But as the property owner, you’ll be caring for your own investment.”
You’re not taking care of a living space that belongs to someone else. The space is yours. As an added benefit, you may get a return on investment for any upgrades or repairs you make.
Homeownership Can Lead to Greater Community Engagement
That sense of ownership and your feelings of responsibility can even extend beyond the walls of your home. Your home also gives you a stake in your community. Because the average homeowner stays in their home for longer than just a few years, that can lead to having a stronger connection to your local area. NAR notes how that can benefit you:
“Living in one place for a longer amount of time creates an obvious sense of community pride, which may lead to more investment in said community.”
If you’re looking to put down roots, homeownership can help fuel a sense of connection to the area and those around you.
Is someone you know planning to buy a home? There are incredible benefits waiting at the end of the journey, including the ability to customize your home, the sense of achievement homeownership brings, and a greater connection to your community. Call me today. I’d be honored to start you on the path that’s right for you.
As you set out to buy a home, saving for a down payment is likely top of mind. But you may still have questions about the process, including how much to save and where to start.
If that sounds like you, your down payment could be more in reach than you originally thought. Here’s why.
The 20% Down Payment Myth
If you believe you have to put 20% down on a home, you may have based your goal on a common misconception. Freddie Mac explains:
“. . . nearly a third of prospective homebuyers think they need a down payment of 20% or more to buy a home. This myth remains one of the largest perceived barriers to achieving homeownership.”
Unless it’s specified by your loan type or lender, it’s typically not required to put 20% down. According to the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median down payment hasn’t been over 20% since 2005. There are even loan types, like FHA loans, with down payments as low as 3.5%, as well as options like VA loans and USDA loans with no down payment requirements for qualified applicants.
This is good news for you because it means you could be closer to your homebuying dream than you realize. For more information, turn to a trusted lender.
Down Payment Assistance Programs Can Be a Game Changer
A professional will be able to show you other options that could help you get closer to your down payment goal. According to latest Homeownership Program Index from downpaymentresource.com, there are over 2,000 homebuyer assistance programs in the U.S., and the majority are intended to help with down payments.
A recent article explains why programs like these are helpful:
“These resources can immediately build your home buying power and help you take action sooner than you thought possible.”
“It is a common misconception that homebuyer assistance is only available to first-time homebuyers, however, 38% of homebuyer assistance programs in Q1 2022 did not have a first-time homebuyer requirement.”
There are also location and profession-based programs you could qualify for as well.
Saving for your down payment is an important first step on your homebuying journey. Connect with a local real estate advisor and trusted lender today to begin exploring your options.