ByAli Sahabi of Optimum Group, LLC
President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter
Nearly a century ago, thousands of Baldy View region residents swarmed Ontario City Hall and shut down the entire downtown to honor the memory of Ontario resident Ralph T. Kingery, who was the very first of nearly 3,400 California servicemen to die serving their country in World War I. Today, we honor all of those who have served their country in a great many ways – including those seeking to one day attain the American Dream of homeownership
For instance, America helps those who have served in our nation’s military through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) Loan Program, which assists those who served to attain the American Dream of homeownership.
The V.A. Loan Program (also known as known as V.A. loans) does not always require a down payment and is available to military veterans, active military members and eligible surviving spouses. Because the loans are made through private lenders and are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, they do not require mortgage insurance and there is no minimum credit score requirement.
The program is a loan guarantee benefit which also assists qualified veterans to buy, build, repair, retain or adapt a home for their personal occupancy. As I mentioned, V.A. home loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, but because the V.A. guarantees a portion of the loan, these lenders are able to provide qualifying veterans with more favorable terms.
To learn more about V.A. loans, start by visiting the department’s www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans website and see if you meet the requirements. The loan candidate must have:
* Served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime, or
* Served 181 days of active service during peacetime, or
* Completed more than six years of service in the National Guard or Reserves, or
* Been the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
If interested veterans or surviving spouses meet the above requirements, they must then obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the V.A. The COE certificate verifies that the applicant’s length and character of service make them eligible to use the V.A. home loan benefit.
To begin the process, V.A. Loan applicants can apply online or fill out V.A. Form 26-1880 which can be downloaded from the V.A.’s website, http://benefits.va.gov/benefits, and mailed directly to the V.A. at Atlanta Regional Loan Center, Attn: COE (262), P.O. Box 100034 Decatur, GA 30031.
While applicants interested in the V.A. Loan 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. Additionally, the V.A. requires that borrowers maintain a certain amount of income left over each month after all major expenses are paid.
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 Native American trust lands (providing the applicant’s tribal organization participates in the V.A. direct loan program) and Adapted Housing Grants which assist 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 or all of these programs, visit the V.A.’s www.va.gov website and see all of the opportunities available to assist Americans who have served their country to attain homeownership or to make their existing homes more available, affordable or comfortable.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity 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.