Home Buying Help for Veterans

Veteran Energy and Habitat for Humanity

At Veteran Energy, we’re always seeking ways to better serve our Texas veteran and military community. So, when we recently had the chance to sponsor a veteran home build through Habitat for Humanity, we jumped at the opportunity.

In the last eight years of its Veteran Build program, this incredible organization has partnered with more than 4,500 veterans (and their families) across the U.S. to improve their housing situations—through newly built homes or renovations. And we’re excited to take part.

For this build, we were able to give back $70,000 to Houston Habitat for Humanity. The new home site, located in Houston, was acquired some time back, and the home’s foundation has already been poured. The rest of construction is slated to begin at the end of February and will take several months to complete. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on their progress through blogs and regular posts on social media.

Below, we’ve included a few resources for veterans and military members seeking help with home buying, renovations and volunteering—starting with more information on Habitat for Humanity.

Houston Habitat for Humanity

The Habitat for Humanity Veterans Build program focuses on five areas: It builds and restores homes, employs veterans, provides volunteer opportunities, educates on financial literacy and pays tribute to veterans through different events throughout the year.

To receive a Habitat for Humanity home, you’ll need to demonstrate a need for safe, affordable housing. And if you’re chosen, you’ll have to be willing to have a hand in building your home or homes of others in the program. Sweat equity, as they call it, can also be performed through volunteering and attending home ownership classes. Click the link above for more information about Houston Habitat for Humanity’s Veteran Build program, or give them a call at (713) 671-9993.

VA Loans

VA  direct and VA-backed loans, in general, are two of the best options for veterans, service members and their surviving spouses when looking to purchase a home, build, refinance or make improvements.

Typically, VA loans have lower interest rates—and monthly payments. And there’s no requirement to put money down, though it’ll certainly lower your payments if you do. There’s also no mortgage insurance premiums with VA loans, and, in many cases, your loan will qualify for 100% equity cash-out—pays you the difference between the balance of your mortgage and what your homes is worth, provided you have some equity built up.

The federal government has also lifted loan limits in 2020. You’ll still have to show you meet income and credit requirements, and VA-backed lenders may still have their own in-house loan limits.

If you currently have active VA loans or if you’ve defaulted on loans in the past, limits will still apply. In Texas this year, the max for limited loans is set at $510,400.

Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) and Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) Grants

Falling under grants issued by the VA, Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) and Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grants help veterans with certain service-related disabilities buy or adapt a home to meet their needs.

The two grants are similar—both require you to already own the home or show that you will, and both require that you have qualified disabilities. Where the grants differ is in the specifics of the disabilities and how much they can potentially pay out.

Qualified applicants can receive grants of either type up to three times. With SAH loans, you could currently get a total (with three grants) of up to $90,364. With SHA loans (with three grants), you could currently get a total of up to $18,074.

Homes for Our Troops

Since 2004, this organization has been donating specially adapted homes to veterans with injuries such as amputations, paralysis and traumatic brain injury (TBI). After the home is given over, Homes for Our Troops offers ongoing education on financial planning and homeownership, as well as a peer mentoring group.

Texas Veterans Land Board

Texas veterans can get low-interest mortgage loans (at or below market) with little or no down payment for land, homes and home improvements through the Texas Veterans Land Board Veterans Assistance Program.

Dream Makers Program

Veterans and military members can get help with down payments and closing costs through the Dream Makers program, organized by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. You don’t have to be a member of the credit union to take part, and Dream Makers offers a 2-to-1 match up to $5,000.  The program accepts VA, FHA and Conventional loans.

To qualify, you must be a first-time home buyer or someone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years or who has lost a home through a divorce or disaster. You’ll have to show a financial need, as well. Your gross yearly income has to be less than 80% of your area’s median income, adjusted for household size. And you’ll also have to show a pre-approval letter or mortgage prequalification from your lender.

United Service Organizations

Formed in 1941, United Service Organizations (USO) is one of America’s best-known veteran and military support organizations. The USO offers an array of different services, including help applying for VA loans.

At Veteran Energy, we believe all our heroes deserve a place to call home. We hope this blog gets you off to a great start—and stay tuned as we bring you more information about our Houston Habitat for Humanity build in the upcoming months.