A tenet of living the American Dream is the ideal that every US citizen should have an opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, sacrifice and perseverance. When it comes to the different aspects that make up this dream, what might be considered one of the biggest is homeownership. Who better to check this off their list than our brave military veterans? The men and women who earn the honor of being called veterans have served us as a nation, and it is important that they and their families reap the benefits of such a selfless job.
As the son of an Air Force veteran—and being raised in a family steeped in military service—it is my privilege to share information with this important group of individuals.
Veterans are eligible for loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which means they can benefit in unique ways. Home mortgage rates have remained at historic lows and are expected to remain steady through 2015 making this especially good news for veterans looking to buy a home.
Some of the benefits available to veterans looking to purchase a home include:
- No money down – One of the biggest benefits to veterans looking to purchase a home is the fact that they are not required to make a down payment on their loan. For non-veterans, the average down payment ranges from 3.5 percent to 20 percent of the purchase price depending on the type of loan they choose. When looking at a $200,000 loan, that number will range from $7,000 to $40,000.
- No PMI required – As an added benefit, veterans are not required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is a special insurance paid in monthly installments to protect the lender in case a homeowner defaults on his/her loan and is no longer able to make their payments. In contrast, a non-veteran who is unable to make at least a 20 percent down payment on their purchase is required to pay for PMI.
- No property tax required for disabled veterans – Eligible resident veterans with VA certified service-connected disability of 10 percent or greater are entitled to a $5,000 property tax exemption. A veteran must establish the exemption with the county tax official by providing documentation of his/her disability. Also, a surviving spouse who (1) has not remarried, and (2) who on the date of the disabled ex-service member's death had been married to the ex-service member for at least five years, is also entitled to this exemption.
As you can see, there are a number of benefits available to veterans and we encourage veterans to contact a qualified real estate professional who can help answer questions and provide accurate information.
As a veteran looking to purchase a home, finding a Realtor® who has earned the Military Relocation Professional certification (MRP) is key. This certification recognizes Realtors® that have displayed the desire and knowledge to work with active-duty buyers and sellers, as well as veterans.
Thank you for your service!