It’s no secret that U.S. military veterans make the ultimate sacrifice for the citizens of our nation. These individuals fight to protect the rights and freedoms that all Americans enjoy, including the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s for this very reason that I feel all veterans deserve to be homeowners and live the American dream that they fought for. Many veteran first-time home-buyers, however, find that the path to home ownership appears to be mysterious and full of surprises. I recently had the opportunity to work with my long-time friend and United States Marines Corps veteran Joe and his fiancé Chelsea to help them find and purchase their first home. By taking advantage of the VA home loan program, which allows a U.S. military veteran to purchase a home with no money down, Joe was able to find his dream home and keep his savings in his bank account. Joe was gracious enough to allow me to interview him after closing on his home in order to shed some light on the home-buying process for other veterans.
What was the biggest factor that influenced you to want to make the leap into home ownership?
“As a young couple starting out in life, Chelsea and I felt like we were throwing our money away on rent. We wanted to feel like we were building equity and putting money into something that could grow and eventually be a significant asset for us. Home ownership allows us to feel like we are investing our money into ourselves.”
What were your expectations before you started the process of buying a home? Did you have any worries or fears?
“The biggest concern we had when beginning to look for a home was that we weren't going to be able to find what we wanted. We didn’t want to settle. We were patient, and we wound up being greatly rewarded as all of our needs were met in the end.”
What do you feel is the most rewarding thing about becoming a homeowner after having served in the military?
“When you serve in the military, you’re always controlled by someone else. You’re told what to do, where to be, when to be there, and what to wear. Now that I’m a homeowner, I feel like I can truly enjoy the freedoms that myself and all other veterans fought for. I can do what I want on my property and enjoy life as I please. It’s a very rewarding feeling and I have an increased sense of pride.”
Do you have any advice for other veterans who may be thinking of buying their first home?
“All veterans have a great opportunity available to them through the VA loan program. You can purchase a home using no money down, which is a really big enabler for anyone who has served. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. If you’re currently renting or living with family, know that you can use your income towards investing in an appreciating asset. Do your research, find someone reputable to work with, and go into the process with confidence.”