Six Benefits and Challenges of Homeownership for Vets
You’ve served in the military—the Army, Marines, Air Force, or Navy— and done a number of difficult things. Whichever path you chose, that’s some hard stuff and we want to say thanks, first of all, for busting your back at your specific military speciality.
And beyond that, we also wanted to look at some of the things that you may not be aware of about homeownership and share with you a few ways to further kick trash, but this time in the realm of mortgage and homeowner skills. That’s our specialty, homebuying and loans and such, so it’s possible that we might surprise you with some new information.
If you’ve thought about buying a home but didn’t know the first thing about it, keep reading! We have some very sweet benefits that you definitely need to know about. Yes, there are challenges, but there are also major benefits that you may not want to miss out on. Once you know what they are, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not buying a home is right for you.
Loan Product Availability
One of the primary complications we run into with Vets is that many of them are unaware of the loan programs that are offered solely to them. These programs are designed to give Vets the chance to get into a home despite the many challenges that only military personnel face.
We recently spoke to an older Vet who thought that VA loans couldn’t be utilized to purchase homes with higher sales prices. This is a common misconception. VA loans actually don’t have a maximum loan amount. In most cases, no down payment is required. But verification of the amount of the Veteran’s entitlement and the property’s purchase price determines whether or not a down payment is needed.
Not knowing you have loan privileges that you earned by serving your country can be a major hurdle and so getting the word out is one of our goals.
Because existing members of the military can apply for a VA loan, the question sometimes comes up, what can you do if you’re transferred while living in a home that you bought with a VA loan? This is an easy answer, so let’s talk about it now to dispel the fog.
One possibility is that you can outright sell the home and earn back some money. If you’re not ready to cash in on that equity you built or won’t make enough on the sale to make the work to do that worth it, you may also simply keep the property and rent it out. However, renting the property out does mean that you can’t buy another home using your entitlement.
The idea is that you’re not trapped forever with a home that you can’t live in when you’re forced into a position to move away, and that’s pretty good news.
In a rental, when a problem crops up—as they always do—it’s a matter of informing the landlord and pestering them to fix it, right? Depending on your mood and how quick they are to respond, that’s a fairly sweet deal. But it’s a sword that cuts both ways. Perhaps a slow response means that they’ll be super chill about you painting a room your own way or remodeling with very little interference.
That’s always nice—but having freedom to do your own thing to your home without having to ask permission is one of the many perks of buying a home. When you’re the owner, maintenance falls on you. Buying a home can be a risk, but if you plan to save around 5% of your mortgage payment per year, problems like the water heater needing to be replaced or having to pay for sudden roof maintenance due to a windstorm are less likely to catch you off guard and cut a massive swathe in your savings.
A Place of Your Own
Now you have a home that’s really your own. There’s a definite comfort that comes from knowing that an irksome landlord or property manager can’t just raise your rates and possibly kick you out for a random lease agreement violation that you didn’t remember you were bound to.
Buying a home means that you call the shots, and if you feel like it, you can paint the spare bedroom baby blue or soft pink for your new baby, or redo the tile in the kitchen or bathroom without worrying that your landlord will like it. These are some next-level bonuses that can only come from being a homeowner.
One of the bigger perks of buying a home for Vets—and for all people, really—means that you’re building equity. As you pay mortgage, a portion of it goes to the loan principal. Some goes to interest, true, but paying rent goes to nothing, so really, it’s a major bonus that you’ll see as the years go by and one that you’d never see if you were renting. If you ever sell your home, that equity pays you back and you can buy again with the money you make on selling your home. Equity can be described as saving for the future.
No one can whimsically raise your rent. So just like other bills that don’t change without your consent, the amount you pay for your mortgage doesn’t fluctuate from month to month or year to year, apart from very specific situations such as ARM loans or fluctuating property taxes and changing homeowner premiums.
Knowledge like that translates to knowing just what you need to get by and makes planning for further expenses much easier.
Many of the benefits that Vets receive from homeownership are the similar to those that civilians also enjoy, but it’s helpful to know just how they differ so that you can use them, enjoy them, and feel the appreciation from your country that you deserve.