Article source via Realtor.com – Veterans, service members, and their families believe in homeownership. In fact, the homeownership rate among veterans far outpaces that of civilians.
But the financial toll of military service can make it tough for some veterans to get a financial foothold, let alone land a home loan.
The good news is those who serve have access to a host of home-buying benefits and protections, from what’s arguably the most powerful home loan on the market to financial safeguards and more.
Let’s take a closer look.
VA loan program
Since the VA loan program’s inception in 1944, the Department of Veterans Affairs has backed more than 21 million loans for veterans, active-duty military members, and their spouses. This program has made buying a home more accessible to those who most deserve the American dream they helped build and protect.
VA loans feature many benefits that help make home buying possible, including the following:
- No down payment requirement
- No mortgage insurance
- Lower average interest rates
- Limits on closing costs
- More lenient credit requirements
VA home loans have boomed in recent years, attracting many veterans and military members who may not qualify for conventional loans, which have stricter credit requirements.
Still, many eligible buyers are unaware of the benefits of VA home loans and the protections they offer. Some buyers also make the mistake of assuming a government-backed loan comes with endless red tape and miss an opportunity to benefit.
Typically, veterans and active-duty service members are eligible for a VA home loan if they served in the following capacity:
- 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime
- 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime
- 6 or more years in the National Guard or Reserves
Some spouses of military members who died in the line of duty or of a service-related disability may also be eligible for a VA loan.
Am I Eligible for a VA Loan?
Contact a Veterans United loan specialist to find out
Call 1 855 523 4099 or Get Started Online »
Talk with a VA lender about obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility and getting a sense of your purchasing power.
Occupancy & power of attorney
VA loans are focused on getting buyers into homes they’ll live in full time. But the program makes exceptions for some veterans and active-duty service members.
For example, a spouse or children may be able to fulfill the occupancy requirement on behalf of a VA buyer. Also, a VA buyer who is deployed or otherwise unable to manage the loan process can typically assign a power of attorney to a spouse or family member to manage the loan process and sign documents.
There are two types of power of attorney: general and specific. The type needed depends in part on what loan-related documents the VA buyer can sign.
The occupancy and power of attorney options mean an eligible VA buyer’s spouse and children could buy a home during a deployment or unaccompanied assignment, helping alleviate the emotional toll of multiple moves on military families.
Basic allowance for housing
Many active-duty military members who receive a monthly housing allowance are surprised to learn that they can use this money to qualify for a home loan. Lenders can count Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) as effective income. That can help service members make the leap from renting to owning, especially in higher-cost areas.
BAH is based on several factors, including the location of your duty station, your pay grade, and your family size. The housing allowance can change on an annual basis. To calculate your BAH, refer to the BAH calculator on the Defense Department’s website.
Even after becoming homeowners, active-duty service members can face unique financial challenges. Deployment and changes of station can strain a family emotionally and financially.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides active-duty military personnel and their families financial protection involving interest rates, income tax payments, eviction, foreclosure, and more.
For example, military personnel can ask creditors—including their mortgage lender—to cap their interest rate at 6% during their term of service. The SCRA also forces lenders and servicers to seek a court order to foreclose on active-duty military members during their time of service and up to nine months afterward.
Veterans Affairs also offers foreclosure avoidance protection assistance for homeowners. The VA has a team of experts who work with lenders and servicers on behalf of struggling homeowners to find alternatives to foreclosure. Their efforts have helped nearly 500,000 veterans and service members avoid foreclosure in the past six years alone.
Check with your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance office for more information regarding the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. VA homeowners in jeopardy of defaulting on their mortgage can contact the VA loan program at 877-827-3702.
This article was written by Chris Birk, director of education at Veterans United Home Loans and author of “The Book on VA Loans: An Essential Guide to Maximizing Your Home Loan Benefits.”
NMLS 1907 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) Veterans United Home Loans is not endorsed or sponsored by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs or any government agency; does not reflect DOD endorsements. Equal Opportunity Lender. 1400 Veterans United Drive Columbia MO, 65203.
Recent $25k price cut! Open house this Sunday from 11 am-1 pm – 82 Bolivar Street – Canton, MA
Beautiful, Fully Renovated 3/4 Bedroom Cape that is conveniently located just steps to town center & train. Features include a new cherry / granite / stainless eat in kitchen, living room with decorative columns & marble fireplace, formal dining room with wainscoting, 1st floor bedroom, 1st floor full bath with jacuzzi tub, 2nd floor bedrooms with built in drawers, fully finished lower level with family room, 2nd full bath, exercise room & office / 4th bedroom, hardwood floors, recessed lights, vinyl siding, new roof, 1 car detached garage, trex deck that overlooks a fenced in yard with amazing water views….. Everything has been done here – Nothing to do but move in!
#successrealestate #boston #realestate #forsale #cranshawrealestate – Spectacular New Construction Nantucket Colonial in Victory Estates – Easton’s newest Ultra Luxury Subdivision. This Stunning 4000+ square foot home features gorgeous finishes and a well thought out floor plan that is ideal for entertaining & casual living. Move right in to luxury at its finest with a state of the art gourmet kitchen boasting custom cabinets & large center island, adjoining fireplaced family room, a 1st floor office / 5th bedroom with private full bath, formal living room & dining room with custom detail molding, amazing master suite with octagonal sunlit sitting room, walk in closets and beautifully appointed full bath with Jacuzzi tub & oversized tile shower, 3 car attached garage, mudroom with custom built in’s and so much more. Carefully constructed by one of the areas premier builders with every desired amenity included, great attention to detail, quality craftsmanship and generous allowances.
But upon closer inspection I found this: September could be the best month all year to sign a contract to buy a home.
Why? Multiple factors are coming together to make this September unique… Read More
Best Public High Schools ranks over 14,000 high schools based on dozens of key statistics and millions of student and parent opinions. A high ranking indicates that the school is an exceptional academic institution with a diverse set of high-achieving students who rate their experience very highly. This list includes magnet, charter, and online public schools.
South of Boston and South Shore High Schools are in bold.
Top 100 Public High Schools in Massachusetts – another great resource PublicSchoolReview.com
1 – Dover-Sherborn Regional High School – Dover, MA
2 – Westwood High School – Westwood, MA
3 – Lexington High School – Lexington, MA
4 – Advanced Math & Science Academy Charter School – Marlborough, MA
5 – Brookline High School – Brookline, MA
6 – Boston Latin School – Boston, MA
7 – Weston High School – Weston, MA
8 – Wellesley Senior High School – Wellesley, MA
9 – Westford Academy – Westford, MA
10 – Wayland High School – Wayland, MA
11 – Cambridge Rindge & Latin School – Cambridge, MA
12 – Hopkinton High School – Hopkinton, MA
13 – Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School – Sudbury, MA
14 – Newton North High School – Newtonville, MA
15 – Sharon High School – Sharon, MA
16 – Acton-Boxborough Regional High School – Acton, MA
17 – Bedford High School – Bedford, MA
18 – Belmont High School – Belmont, MA
19 – Longmeadow High School – Longmeadow, MA
20 – Nauset Regional High School – North Eastham, MA
21 – The Bromfield School – Harvard, MA
22 – Newton South High School – Newton Centre, MA
23 – Algonquin Regional High School – Northborough, MA
24 – Hingham High School – Hingham, MA
25 – Manchester Essex Regional High School – Manchester, MA
26 – Sturgis Charter Public School – Hyannis, MA
27 – Lenox Memorial High School – Lenox, MA
28 – Westborough High School – Westborough, MA
29 – Cohasset Middle/High School – Cohasset, MA
30 – Duxbury High School – Duxbury, MA
31 – Medfield Senior High School – Medfield, MA
32 – Amherst Regional High School – Amherst, MA
33 – Concord Carlisle High School – Concord, MA
34 – Masconomet Regional High School – Topsfield, MA
35 – Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School – South Hamilton, MA
36 – Norwell High School – Norwell, MA
37 – Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School – Devens, MA
38 – Milton High School – Milton, MA
39 – Marthas Vineyard Regional High School – Oak Bluffs, MA
40 – Oliver Ames High School – North Easton, MA
41 – Marblehead High School – Marblehead, MA
42 – Needham High School – Needham, MA
43 – Lynnfield High School – Lynnfield, MA
44 – Natick High School – Natick, MA
45 – Tahanto Regional High School – Boylston, MA
46 – Littleton High School – Littleton, MA
47 – Braintree High School – Braintree, MA
48 – Shrewsbury Senior High School – Shrewsbury, MA
49 – Ashland High School – Ashland, MA
50 – Holliston High School – Holliston, MA
51 – Reading Memorial High School – Reading, MA
52 – Burlington High School – Burlington, MA
53 – Nashoba Regional High School – Bolton, MA
54 – Groton Dunstable Regional High School – Groton, MA
55 – Monument Mountain Regional High School – Great Barrington, MA
56 – Northampton High School – Northampton, MA
57 – Minnechaug Regional High School – Wilbraham, MA
58 – Andover High School – Andover, MA
59 – Frontier Regional School – South Deerfield, MA
60 – Barnstable High School – Hyannis, MA
61 – Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School – Upton, MA
62 – Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School – Worcester, MA
63 – O’Bryant School of Math & Science – Roxbury, MA
64 – Community Charter School of Cambridge – Cambridge, MA
65 – Winchester High School – Winchester, MA
66 – Foxborough Regional Charter School – Foxborough, MA
67 – North Andover High School – North Andover, MA
68 – Boston Latin Academy – Dorchester, MA
69 – Grafton High School – Grafton, MA
70 – Rockport High School – Rockport, MA
71 – Foxborough High School – Foxborough, MA
72 – Newburyport High School – Newburyport, MA
73 – Scituate High School – Scituate, MA
74 – Wachusett Regional High School – Holden, MA
75 – Medway High School – Medway, MA
76 – Ipswich High School – Ipswich, MA
77 – Georgetown Middle/High School – Georgetown, MA
78 – Harwich High School – Harwich, MA
79 – Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School – Hyde Park, MA
80 – Hanover High School – Hanover, MA
81 – Hudson High School – Hudson, MA
82 – Oakmont Regional High School – Ashburnham, MA
83 – Salem Academy Charter School – Salem, MA
84 – Boston Preparatory Charter Public School – Hyde Park, MA
85 – Mt. Greylock Regional High School – Williamstown, MA
86 – Nantucket High School – Nantucket, MA
87 – Beverly High School – Beverly, MA
88 – Old Rochester Regional High School – Mattapoisett, MA
89 – Franklin High School – Franklin, MA
90 – Tantasqua Regional Senior High School – Fiskdale, MA
91 – Danvers High School – Danvers, MA
92 – Swampscott High School – Swampscott, MA
93 – Silver Lake Regional High School – Kingston, MA
94 – Shawsheen Valley Technical High School – Billerica, MA
95 – Nipmuc Regional High School – Upton, MA
96 – North Quincy High School – Quincy, MA
97 – West Bridgewater Middle/Senior High School – West Bridgewater, MA
98 – Malden High School – Malden, MA
99 – Framingham High School – Framingham, MA
100 – Arlington High School – Arlington, MA
Represented Seller – Unique custom post and beam 3-4 bedroom, 2.5 bath home on a cul-de-sac in one of Hanson’s most desirable neighborhoods. 1.79 acres – 2,508 sq feet – 2.25% to buyer’s agent. Custom Red Birch kitchen with granite, marble, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Akco and Jenn-Air appliances. Fireclay farmer’s sink. Master bedroom with a wood stove, skylight, and full bath. 3rd floor with 2 additional rooms. Cedar lined closets, Soapstone and Carrara Marble counters in bathrooms. Maple, Cherry, Wide-Pine wood floors