Bringing the American Dream of Homeownership to Veterans

 Photo by  Michael Browning  on  Unsplash

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by Phillip B. Burum, Executive Vice President, Diversified Pacific,

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

*Due to a glitch, an early working version was posted. Updated: Aug 8, 2018 at 8:46am*

As Americans, we should all be thankful for those that serve in our armed forces and we should take great pride in the work they do, supporting them however we can. In the Baldy View region, we have paid tribute to and laid to rest many fallen heroes, including the first California soldier to die fighting in World War One – Ralph T. Kingery, who lived in Ontario when he was entered the service in 1917. When his body returned home, Ontario honored him with a full military funeral and a shutdown of the entire city on the day of his services.

     The pride we all share in the history of our region and in the military men and women that protect our freedoms today is clear even as we drive our local streets. Many of our cities express our pride by adorning street lights citywide with banners depicting the faces of those currently in service. We should be proud and we should strive to show that pride and appreciation every day.

     You may not have known about Ralph T. Kingery’s ties to our region and his significance to World War One and you probably don’t know that it was in the wake of that war that President Hoover created the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.).

     Among the important roles that the V.A. plays in the lives of our veterans today is to assist military servicemen and women and eligible surviving spouses in the attainment of the American Dream of homeownership. Because the VA offers so many benefits, those seeking information on these loans should first visit the VA’s www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans website and the new www.ebenefits.va.gov homepage.

     The V.A. Guaranteed Home Loan Program is a program that provides an opportunity for qualifying veterans to purchase their primary residence without the absolute need for a down payment.  V.A. Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks, savings and loans, and mortgage companies. What makes these loans unique is that the V.A. guarantees a portion of the loan. In many cases, this guarantee can be the difference between qualifying for a loan and not qualifying. For others who might otherwise qualify, it provides the security necessary for banks to offer more competitive rates and fees for home and home improvement loans.

     To qualify for a V.A. Loan there are specific service conditions each borrower must meet. If interested veterans or surviving spouses meet the prescribed requirements, they must pursue and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the V.A., which is available at the www.ebenefits.va.gov website. The COE certificate confirms the applicant’s length and character of service, making them eligible to use the V.A. home loan benefit with their chosen lender.

     While applicants are not required to reach any kind of income threshold to use their home loan benefits, they are expected to have stable, reliable income that will cover monthly expenses including their new mortgage payment. 

     The V.A. Loan Program is one of several programs offered by the V.A. including The Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) which can lower the interest and reduce the monthly payment on the existing V.A. guaranteed loan; the Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program which helps Native American Veterans purchase, construct, improve, or refinance a home on participating Native American trust lands and Adapted Housing Grants which assists veterans with certain total and permanent disabilities related to their military service to obtain suitable housing with either a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant.

     For more in-depth information on any of these programs, visit the V.A.’s www.va.gov  website and see all the opportunities available to assist Americans who have served our country to attain homeownership or to make their existing homes more affordable or comfortable.

     If you are among the millions of Americans that have cause to visit the V.A. website and are eligible for any of the V.A.’s benefits, thank you.

     The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity for all to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.

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