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22 Navy | Summer 2017 GUEST COLUMN M ilitary service opens the door to significant savings when buying a home. In addition to the financing options available to other buyers, millions of service members and Veterans have earned the right to use the VA Home Loan. It is one of the most powerful home loan programs on the market for military homebuyers, and for more than 70 years it has made home- ownership possible for the men and women looking to experience a piece of the American Dream they fought to defend. Here are four signature benefits of the VA Loan: No Money Down VA Loans allow those who serve our country to purchase a home with $0 down. is means VA borrowers don't have to spend years scraping together money for a big down payment. Most conventional loans require a 5 percent down payment, while FHA loans come with a 3.5 percent down payment requirement. No Mortgage Insurance Even with the $0 down payment benefit, VA loans don't require mort- gage insurance, which can eat into your purchasing power. Conven- tional borrowers who can't put down 20 percent typically get stuck paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI) each month. FHA buyers pay both an upfront and an annual mortgage insurance charge, with the latter lasting for the life of the loan. Flexible Credit Requirements Many homebuyers who have served our nation can struggle to estab- lish a strong credit history, which can make mortgage qualification difficult. e good news is VA Loans have less stringent credit qualifi- cations, not just in terms of credit score but also for derogatory events like bankruptcy, foreclosure and short sales. Lowest Average Rates VA loans have had the lowest average interest rate on the market for the last 30+ months and counting. Lenders can offer more competitive interest rates because VA Loans are backed by a VA guar- anty and carry less risk. Article courtesy of Chris Birk, Director of Education, Veterans United Home Loans. He is the author of "e Book on VA Loans." 4 Key Benefits of VA Home Loans VA loans were created as a benefit program to help Veterans and military families get a foothold in the housing market. More than seven decades later, they're still fulfilling that original mission. ISTOKCPHOTO

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