SAN ANTONIO – Marisol Deck met the love of her life in the Air Force.
She served for nearly four years and Master Sgt. Christopher Robert Deck served for 22 years, until his death a year ago.
“The last two years before he died, that’s all we were talking about. We want to go to Texas, we’re going to retire, we’re finally going to own a house,” Deck said.
Two months ago, she realized this dream for her four children, in honor of their father.
She’s done this through the VA Loan Program, which offers the lowest average interest rates on the market, the option of no down payment, and some breathing room for those who don’t have top-tier credit. .
The VA Loan was created in 1944 as part of the original GI Bill of Rights that President Roosevelt signed into law.
The program will be 80 years old in the coming years and has helped more than 25 million veterans get home loans over the years.
“VA lending has seen incredible growth over the past 15 years. This was historically around 2% of the mortgage market. Today it’s about 12%,” said Chris Birk, vice president of Mortgage Insight for Veterans United Home Loans.
Birk said that despite the incentives, the market over the past two years has been tough for veterans.
“We’ve seen so many door-to-door sellers who won’t even accept a VA offer. They’re looking for cash deals, they’re looking for conventional deals,” Birk said.
He said this is due to a lack of knowledge on the part of civilian sellers and real estate agents.
“A big part is breaking down misconceptions and myths about this product. They think it will take forever to close, or that veterans aren’t well-positioned buyers who won’t be able to close,” Birk said.
However, he said VA loans are actually more likely to close than any other type of loan.
“So they’re actually an incredibly safe bet for home sellers and their realtors,” Birk explained.
Although VA loans don’t require down payments, Deck still put one in to stay competitive and it worked in its favor.
“I was nervous. There were three other offers on this house and I was very lucky,” Deck said.
Birk said recent rate hikes have actually helped veterans use these loans.
“Especially in the last few months, this has led to a slight drop in demand,” he said.
This is useful for the continued growth of a specific population of veteran owners: women of color.
Veterans United reports that from 2018 to 2021:
VA home loan usage for African American and Black veterans increased 23% from 2018 to 2021
VA home loans among female veterans increased nearly 35%
Homeownership rates for Hispanic and Latino veterans are more than 18 percentage points higher than their civilian counterparts
“Feels good. A proud Latina, you know, I did it myself and I served my country,” Deck said.
“We are seeing a generational shift for veterans and military families of color,” Birk said. “They use this advantage to become homeowners and create generational wealth for their families.”
Deck said the loans level the playing field for the most deserving Americans and she hopes more of her military peers will take advantage of them.
“A lot of people don’t know that. Go out there and get the information and educate yourself on your benefits,” she said.
Veterans United has information about the VA loan program and eligibility on its website.
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