Does Your State Have Programs to Help Veterans Buy and Repair Homes?
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs famously has programs to assist veterans with homeownership, both to purchase and maintain one. While this is an invaluable resource to many, some veterans simply don’t like dealing with the VA. If they want those loans and grants, however, they often think they don’t have a choice.
Depending on where they live, they may have another choice – or more than one choice in many areas, actually. More than half of the states have their own programs that offer loans and grants to veterans seeking homeownership. Some even have programs to help with home repair and remodeling. Let’s go seek them out.
Double Duty: Homeownership and Renovations
Let’s start with the states (and a territory!) that have programs for buying and modifying a home.
The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has veterans’ programs which give out home loans to those who have served within the last 25 years, including those currently on active duty. There are also home renovation loans that are open to all Alaska residents; these may be used in combination with a veterans’ home loan.
The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) offers loans to all types of homebuyers, including the Remodel NY program, which can be combined with the Homes for Veterans Program.
The Tennessee Housing and Development Agency (THDA) has several loans and grants for low-income, elderly, and disabled citizens to buy, repair, or update a home (such as adding a modern HVAC system); these include the Tennessee Repair Loan Program, for which all veterans are eligible.
Texas’ Homes for Texas Heroes program offers loans at competitive rates; if you already have a home (or want to move into a fixer-upper), past and present military members and their families are eligible for a home improvement loan from the Veterans Land Board.
The Virgin Islands’ veteran loan program covers home loans, home repair loans, and refinancing options for veterans at risk of foreclosure. It’s open to any veteran under the condition that they were not dishonorably discharged.
But Wait, There’s More!
Didn’t see your state? There might be a backdoor option, coming from – of all places – the USDA. The Department of Agriculture Rural Development branch offers loans for emergency home repairs for low-income homeowners; seniors may qualify for an outright grant. While this program does favor rural areas, it is not geographically restricted, and is available in every state in the country from Hawaii to Maine, to Alaska to Florida.
Still no luck? Try the nonprofit Our Heroes’ Dreams program, which provides home repairs and other services to veterans, first responders, and correctional officers. Our Heroes’ Dreams is partnered with The Home Depot to provide all the necessary tools to make all necessary repairs.
The Lightning Round
Still didn’t see your state above? Don’t worry, there are a bunch of states that still do veteran home loans (or civilian home loans, or vet home loans you can spin to use for home repair). There are quite a lot of these, so we can’t elaborate on them too much, but let’s get at it:
First-time homebuyers in Connecticut can take advantage of the Military Mortgage Option to get a 0.125% lower interest rate on a home loan; this is open to current and former service members as well as qualifying surviving significant others.
The Georgia Dream program is open to veterans and civilians who are buying their first home ever or their first home in over three years.
Indiana’s Honor Our Vets program can grant prospective homeowners $5,000 for a down payment, closing costs, or relocation fees if they qualify for a VA loan.
Iowa residents who served in Desert Storm, Desert Shield, or after September 11, 2001, can qualify for the Military Homeownership Assistance Program, which will grant $5,000 toward down payment and closing costs.
The SaluteME and Salute Home Again programs in Maine both help veterans buy homes with a discounted interest rate whether it’s their first home or not (the only difference in the programs is which insurance programs they’re compatible with).
Massachusetts’ Home for the Brave program offers vets and surviving spouses competitive interests rates on loans, with some even able to qualify for down payment grants.
The Missouri First Place program for first-time homebuyers is also open to veterans regardless of whether they’ve previously owned a home. A Pennsylvania first-timers program is similarly accessible, as is the equivalent program in Delaware. Certain counties in Illinois have the same set-up.
The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority will help get you a competitive interest rate on a home loan through outside sources if you don’t qualify for a VA loan.
Nevada’s Home is Possible program grants home loans to the honorably discharged, active duty, National Guard members and surviving spouses.
The Ohio Heroes homebuyers’ loan is open to not only veterans, active duty servicepeople, and surviving spouses, but also first responders, medical professionals, and educators.
Oregon has an interesting setup: you don’t even have to live in the state to qualify for the veterans’ loan, you just have to be buying property in the state.
If you’ve served within the last five years and have never owned a home in Utah, the state will give you money outright. Its program can provide you with a grant of $2,500. To qualify, you need a certificate of eligibility from the VA, but you don’t necessarily need to get a loan through the VA.
The House Key Veterans program in Washington State offers loans for down payment assistance.
Finally, honorably discharged veterans in Wisconsin can qualify for the VALOR program (Veterans Affordable Loan Opportunity Rate) to get a better interest rate than a civilian.
We talk so much about wanting to bring our heroes home safe that we sometimes forget to make sure they have a good house to come home to. Luckily, a good many states are stepping up to ensure they won’t be left out in the cold.