Even if troops and veterans have mastered the VA-backed loan process, that doesn’t mean they know every bit of housing benefit they’ve earned from their service.
Many states offer some sort of home-buying help for those who’ve worn the uniform, though the assistance takes many forms: Lower interest rates, zero-interest loans for down payments, and other benefits. Most of these come with restrictions, eligibility requirements and other fine print that can exclude some veterans or properties.
We’ve outlined some of these programs before, and five more are listed below. The list is far from comprehensive; do your own research and consult with your Realtor to find out if another state-based program could give you a better deal, or could allow you to improve your offer in a rough real estate market.
Indiana: The Honor our Vets program gives up to $5,000 to eligible participants to help with a down payment, closing costs or relocation expenses. Beneficiaries must qualify for a VA-backed loan and are subject to income limits.
Massachusetts: The Home for the Brave Home Loan Program offers low rates for troops and veterans, as well as spouses of service members who are killed while on active duty. Income limits and other financial qualifications apply.
Maryland: Maryland Homefront offers $5,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance (in the form of a zero-interest deferred loan) to service members and veterans. The program also gives borrowers a reduced rate on a 30-year fixed Maryland Mortgage Program loan and waives the $450 Maryland HomeCredit Fee. Refinance loans aren’t eligible.
Mississippi: The Veterans‘ Home Purchase Board offers an “advantageous interest rate” for veterans, active-duty service members, and reserve or Mississippi National Guard members with at least six years of service. All participants must have a VA Certificate of Eligibility.
Oregon: The state’s veteran home loan program has paid out more than $8 billion since 1945, according to its website, assisting more than 334,000 veterans. Unlike some other state programs, the borrower doesn’t need to reside in Oregon at the time of application, so long as the property being bought is in the state. There are no income limits, but there is an eligibility process that differs from VA’s system; click the above link to see whether you qualify.
Wisconsin: The Veterans Affordable Loan Opportunity Rate, or VALOR, program may allow honorably discharged veterans to qualify for a lower loan rate. Eligible veterans must meet income and property qualifications for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority’s Advantage loan program, but the first-time buyer rule is waived. Get more details here.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.