The good news is that U.S. military veterans have access to home loan programs that can save them thousands of dollars over traditional home loans, as a reward for serving their country.
The bad news is that too many veterans don’t know about the program or have misconceptions about it.
Now the Veterans Administration is out to reverse that lack of knowledge and dispel misconceptions about what is available to current and former members of the country’s military branches.
“We’ve made major steps over the past few years in trying to build a program that veterans can be proud of,” said John Bell III, executive director of the Loan Guaranty Service for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Still Work To Do
A May report by the Navy Federal Credit Union and Operation Homefront highlighted the value of VA loans. Operation Homefront is a national nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive — not simply struggle to get by — in the communities they have worked to protect, according to its website.
A survey of 1,001 veterans found that many of them had misconceptions about the administration’s programs that prevented them from realizing some or all of the benefits.
The findings included:
- 49% of active duty military and 31% of veterans believe that they can only use a VA loan once
- 49% of active duty military and 22% of veterans believe that VA loans have higher interest rates
- Only 32% of veterans know that no down payments are required for VA loans and 49% believe that they have to put down 20%. An additional 37% believe that a 30% or more down payment is required.
- 59% of veterans believe that VA loans have longer processing times and 49% believe that they are inferior to conventional loans.
- Despite the misconceptions, 80% of those who have used a VA loan rated their satisfaction at 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 7.
Regardless of the overall lack of knowledge, Veterans Administration officials said that in fiscal 2021 the VA’s loan guaranty service set another record, registering more than 1.4 million VA-guaranteed home loans. The market share of VA loans has also risen from 1% to 10% in the last 10 years, officials said.
While the VA did not participate in the survey, Bell said the results will still help them see where they need to continue to improve veterans’ knowledge about what’s available to them..