As a member or former member of the U.S. Armed Forces, you’ve served our nation well — and perhaps you even continue to serve. Now it’s time to build a life for yourself and your family. Many veterans and active duty military personnel assume that the best they can hope for are modest accommodations. However, for those who are eligible, a government-backed VA loan may make it possible to have much more than just a place to hang your uniform. With proper planning and the right builder, you may be able to finance and build your dream home using a VA loan. And when you choose to work with Lowder New Homes, you become eligible for additional perks, such as $1000 toward closing or moving costs and $5000 worth of upgrades for qualified homes. Let’s walk through how to build your dream home with a VA Loan.
What is a VA Loan?
Contrary to how it might sound, a VA loan is not money lent by the government. It’s a loan made by a private lender like a bank or mortgage company that is backed and guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Financial and credit requirements are fairly generous, there is usually no down payment, and many current and former military personnel can qualify easily. The VA loan is a special benefit offered only to eligible members of the military, and in some cases their spouses.
Who Is Eligible?
You can qualify to receive a VA loan if you meet any of the following criteria:
- You served for 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime
- You served for 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime
- You served at least 6 years in the National Guard or reserves
- You are the spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or due to injuries/illnesses related to service
The VA loan isn’t just for former military, either. As an active-duty service member, you are eligible as soon as you complete 90 consecutive days of service (the military currently considers us to be on “wartime” footing).
Benefits of a VA Loan
Why is it better for an eligible current or former service member to get a VA loan as opposed to a conventional loan? Here are just some of the advantages:
- Fairly easy to qualify. VA loans are intended to help as many military personnel as possible, not to exclude them. Income and credit requirements are accessible for most, and many servicemen and women qualify for a VA loan more easily than for a conventional loan.
- Low interest. Interest rates for VA loans are typically lower than that of their counterparts, keeping payments lower.
- Little or no down payment. In almost all cases, qualified veterans pay no money down, which puts more money in their pockets for improvements or extras.
- Limits on closing costs. Military personnel using a VA loan generally pay less in closing costs.
- Loan is good on both existing homes and new constructions. Whether you are buying an existing home or building one from the ground up, a VA loan can cover either.
The combined result of these advantages is basically that a VA loan gets you into a home more easily, PLUS keeps more money in your pocket for add-ons, improvements and extras, if you wish. In short, a VA loan helps you get more home for your money.
Using a VA Loan to Build Your Dream Home
Since VA loans give you more money to work with, you can generally afford more home than you could with a conventional loan, which means you have the freedom to work with a builder to customize and create your dream home! Here are some tips to help your money go as far as possible:
- Settle in an affordable housing market. We’re partial to Montgomery, Alabama, of course, but the fact is that Montgomery offers some of the most affordable real estate in the country — meaning you can build a bigger house on more land for less money.
- Look for special builder incentives. Many builders offer special rebates for working directly with them that can be used for add-ons and extras.
- Work with a builder who offers additional military incentives. Here at Lowder, we honor the service of our military men and women with an additional financial incentive that can be used for moving expenses or closing costs, giving you even more buying power.
At the end of the day, a dream home isn’t simply about having a bigger home — it’s about having the freedom to build the home according to your needs and wants. A VA loan, in combination with an affordable housing market and a flexible builder, enables you to build the home you both want and deserve for your family. To learn more about how we can help you build the home of your dreams, call Lowder New Homes at 334-270-6789.