Buying your first home means the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in your life, and as a veteran or active-duty servicemember, there are multiple programs in place to help you along the way. From the guarantee of a VA home loan to utilizing Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to offset monthly costs, it’s important to learn how to maximize these services and their many benefits. At Soundbuilt, we know that all of this can sometimes get a bit overwhelming, so today, we’re arming you with everything you need to know as a first-time military homebuyer.
What is a VA loan?
A VA loan is a $0 down guaranteed home mortgage option offered by private lenders, credit unions, and banks partnering with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These loans are available to veterans, service members, and select military spouses. The VA guarantees a portion of the loan against loss, allowing you to receive better loan terms. In addition, the VA does not put a limit on the amount of the home loan.
Benefits of receiving a VA loan include:
- $0 Down
- Low-interest rates
- Limited closing costs
- The ability to use the VA home loan guarantee multiple times for life
Can Active Duty Military Members Use a VA Loan?
Yes! Active duty military members are not just eligible but encouraged to take advantage of VA loans. By meeting the minimum service requirement of 90 continuous days of active duty, you can apply for a VA loan.
Are Reservists Eligible for VA Loans, Too? Who Qualifies?
According to the VA, reservists qualify for VA loans if they meet at least ONE of the following requirements:
- Have completed 6+ years of honorable service
- Are currently mobilized for active duty service for a minimum of 90 days
- Discharged due to a disability connected to service
Reservists that do not meet these qualifications could still be qualified for loans arranged through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
BAH, or Basic Allowance for Housing, provides military members with monetary compensation to apply towards purchasing or renting a home when not residing in government housing. It is intended to aid in the offsetting of private residency costs for members living off-base and can be applied towards your mortgage payments.
BAH varies depending on geographic location, pay grade, and dependency status. According to the US Department of Defense, Rates are determined by surveying the cost of rental properties in each geographic area. As a result, BAH rates in areas with a higher cost of living will be higher and lower in those where the cost of living is lower. You can check your individual BAH rates using the BAH Calculator provided by the Defense Travel Management Office.
The Washington Home Advantage Government Program (WSHFC)
Military members residing in Washington State may also qualify for below-market-rate home loans through the Washington Home Advantage Government Program (WSHFC) if they meet the program’s income and credit criteria.
Military members may qualify for a WSHFC loan if they reach the requirements delineated through the WSHFC:
- Received a certificate of completion from a homebuyer education seminar in the past two years
- Meet the income requirements
- A Commission trained loan officer confirms that you meet the eligibility requirements for a mortgage loan in alignment with the FHA, VA, Conventional, and Rural Housing Services. Contact one of our preferred lenders today!
What if I Have to Move Again?
At Soundbuilt, we’re here for you every step of the way. While we pride ourselves on quality craftsmanship and building forever homes, we know it may not be your forever home. We’ll help you sell it . . . Afterall, who’s better to sell it for you than the people who sold it to you?
Make Your Home Owning Dreams a Reality with Soundbuilt!
Soundbuilt communities like Pacific Ridge, The Landing at Spanaway Lake, and Nisqually Place are located within close proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and provide accessible price points. Soundbuilt and our VA-approved preferred lender, Veterans United Home Loans, want to be a part of your first-time home buying process.
Contact us today so that we can help you purchase the home of your dreams!