Home ownership is a common goal for many American families—but it can be tough on your wallet. According to Forbes magazine, buying a home is one of the five expenses that will consume 50 percent of your lifetime earnings, which is why many home buyers will apply for a mortgage to break up the total purchase price into smaller, more manageable monthly payments.

Like most loans, mortgages come with interest rates, and those rates have been trending upward since 2011. In the fall, federal mortgage loan company Freddie Mac announced that mortgage rates had hit a seven-year high of 4.94 percent, causing some potential buyers to pull out of the housing market altogether.

Bottom line? Now is a good time to be a veteran, especially if buying a home is on your to-do list.

One can argue that VA home loans are among the top benefits of being a United States veteran. Unlike conventional loans, VA home loans are backed (or insured) by the U.S. government, which means the private lenders that provide them can offer more favorable terms—including competitive interest rates—but still be protected in case the borrower defaults on the loan.

On average, interest rates for VA home loans are 0.5 percent to 1 percent lower than those associated with conventional home loans, which can add up to significant savings over time

According to Veterans United, the difference between paying a 4 percent and 4.75 percent rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate $250,000 loan can mean approximately $40,000 in savings over the life of the loan. Which means right now, with mortgage rates higher than they’ve been in years and many people wondering if they missed their chance to refinance or get a good rate on a new home, veterans can still come out on top with the benefit of VA mortgage assistance. To learn more about eligibility and how to apply for a VA home loan, read our blog Are You Eligible for VA Mortgage Assistance? 5 Big Benefits of VA Home Loans.

Have your DD214 handy before you start the application process.

Like most benefits for veterans, government-backed mortgage assistance will require you to show proof of service early on in the application process. If you meet the initial eligibility requirements, the next step is submitting your completed Certificate of Eligibility (COE), along with your DD214 showing the character of service (item 24) and the narrative reason for separation (item 28). Making sure you have a copy of your DD214 in hand before you start your search for a new home is a smart idea.

Veteran-owned DD214Direct helps you get the documents you need, when you need them

Our cutting-edge technology platform and keen knowledge of government protocol and procedure allow us to deliver your documents faster than competitors. We physically stand in line at the records repository and manually coordinate your order, freeing up your time and easing your worries about whether or not you will get your DD214. Much like paying a small fee to have your taxes done by a professional, DD214Direct provides the service and convenience you’ve been hoping for, plus we make it a lot easier.

Instead of having to download, print, sign and fax your document request form, you can submit your order directly through our website with the ease of e-signature technology from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Once we locate your DD214, we will email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers.

Ready to get started? Click here to begin the order process.