Most veterans are familiar with VA home loans, which are backed by the United States government and allow veterans to take advantage of significant benefits such as no down payment, competitive interest rates, and generally more flexibility and leniency with regard to credit scores and past foreclosures or bankruptcies. However, VA mortgage assistance is not the only option for veterans looking to buy a home.
Home to nine military bases and more veterans than any other state, Alaska was named the number one state for veterans according to an August 2018 “Best States for Veterans” survey.
The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation offers several loan programs for veterans, including the State Veterans Interest Rate Preference, which allows qualified borrowers to receive a 1 percent interest rate reduction on the first $50,000 of their original loan amount.
Alaska also offers a property tax exemption on the first $150,000 of their home value for veterans with a military disability of 50 percent or more. In addition, veterans have an opportunity to purchase auctioned land before the general public—at fair market value—under the Veterans Land Sale Preference.
The Maine State Housing Authority offers veteran assistance for first-time and non-first-time home buyers through its Salute ME and Salute Home Again programs, which promise a 0.25 percent discount for veterans on top of the already low fixed-rate mortgages offered through the First Home Loan Program.
Also in the Pine Tree State, some veterans (as well as un-remarried surviving spouses) may qualify for a $6,000 property tax exemption, provided they meet certain criteria. Paraplegic veterans and qualifying spouses may be eligible for up to a $50,000 property tax exemption.
With the lowest veteran unemployment rate in the country and the lowest number of veterans living in poverty, Nebraska offers a lot of opportunity for veterans. In terms of housing assistance, the state’s Military Home Program helps qualified veterans and their spouses secure home loans with lower interest rates than conventional loans. And unlike active duty service members, veterans are not required to be first-time home buyers.
The Nebraska Homestead Exemption also provides property tax relief for qualified veterans, including those who are totally disabled, paraplegic or multiple amputees. Un-remarried spouses may also qualify if the veteran died during active duty or as the result of a service-connected disability.
The North Dakota HomeAccess Program offers competitive-rate mortgage loans for veterans. In order to be eligible, veterans must have served in and been honorably discharged from the U.S. military. First-time buyers may also be eligible for down payment and closing cost assistance through the Start Program , also offered through the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency.
Veterans living in North Dakota may also benefit from the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Credit, under which eligible veterans and surviving (un-remarried) spouses may qualify for a deduction of $6,750 of the taxable value of the home.
The Homes for Texas Heroes program has a lot to offer qualified veterans, including a 30-year, fixed-interest-rate home loan and down payment assistance (up to 5 percent of the loan amount) for home buyers. A big advantage to this program is that it doesn’t require veterans to be first-time home buyers or live in the home for any specific period of time. A free mortgage credit certificate is also available for eligible “Texas Heroes,” a definition that includes veterans and active duty service members.
The Lone Star State also offers property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and un-remarried spouses—up to $12,000 from the value of the property—based on the veteran’s disability rating.
What about here in Arizona?
Under the Arizona HOME Plus Home Loan Program, which provides down payment assistance for some home buyers, qualified veterans and active duty service members may receive an additional 1 percent of down payment assistance. In addition, state property tax may be waived for eligible widows, widowers and disabled individuals. Veterans are encouraged to contact their local county assessor’s office for more information.
All of these programs have one thing in common.
In order to take advantage of the benefits offered by state-assisted home loan programs, veterans must provide proof of service and honorable discharge from the military, and that means showing a copy of your DD214.
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