You’re a military family preparing to move to your assignment area; you’ve explored your options, and decided that on-base housing won’t work for your family, but with all the uncertainty in the world right now and tight budget constraints, you’re not sure if you can afford to begin the home ownership journey either. And we won’t lie to you, pursuing home ownership is not for the faint at heart. However, we’ve compiled a couple of resources specifically designed for service members and their family. Read on for more information.
1. VA loan
The most well-known resource, a VA loan is a type of mortgage for eligible servicemembers and veterans and their families that offers 100% financing, meaning no down payment, and low interest rates. This is likely the best option for service members because you’ll save money in the long run with the interest rates. To begin this process, you’ll first have to find a VA-approved lender that is knowledgeable about the VA loan process. For more information on how to navigate the loan application process, read this step-by-step guide from Military.com.
2. Special financing through private institutions
Another easy option is to check with your bank– private institutions may offer alternative loans for military families with similar terms to VA loans.
3. Assistance programs
There are also programs that exist like the Military Housing Assistance Fund, which has an experienced legal team that fight for concessions on your behalf, or Homes for Heroes, who work with service members to help them save costs on the buying (or selling!) process, and also provides discounts on services.
4. Grant programs
Some of these grant programs are similar to the aforementioned assistance programs, such as Soldier Next Door, which provides down payment assistance and up to $8,000 in grant money– money that is truly a gift and doesn’t have to be repaid. Military Housing Assistance Fund also offers “free closing costs” grants. There are many more programs that are available to give military families any leg up possible with gifted grant money, there may even be one in your local community!
5. State first-time home buyer programs & loans
Another great option, depending on your past housing situation, is to check to see if your state has a first-time home buyer program or loan. For example, Texas offers the My First Texas Home Program, which offers a 30-year mortgage with a low interest rate and down payment assistance.
These resources are a great place to start in your home-buying process, but remember, there are many, many more resources available on the internet and search engines are your friend. Good luck!