Homeownership Opportunities for Texas Veterans
Since the days of the Texas Republic and Sam Houston, Texas has given its veterans land in recognition of military service. While the state no longer gives land to veterans, there are still plenty of housing opportunities such as low interest loans for land, homes, and home improvements.
After World War II, the state created the Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) in 1946 to administer a new program that would provide low-interest, long-term loans to Texas veterans for the purchase of land. Since then, more than 120,000 Texas veterans have taken advantage of this self-supporting program. (Issuing bonds authorized by voters fund the program. The veterans who participate pay for the bonds and the cost of administering the program.)
In 1983, the Legislature created the Veterans Housing Assistance Program to assist Texas veterans in purchasing a home, also funded by bonds. In 1986, the VLB expanded the Veterans Housing Assistance Program, adding the Veterans Home Improvement Program to provide below-market-interest-rate loans to qualified Texas veterans for home repairs and improvements to their existing homes. Needless to say, there's a wealth of options provided by this program alone for veterans across the state.
About the Veterans Housing Assistance Program
Texas veterans can use all three Texas veteran loan programs at one time. That means, if needed, you can receive a land loan, a housing loan and a home improvement loan. And, these special loan programs for Texas veterans are not associated with the federal Veterans Administration. So, even if you've used your VA benefits, you may still be eligible for the state loan programs.
The Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP) provides financing up to $200,000 toward the purchase of a home to qualified Texas veterans. Loans for $45,000 or less may be originated through the Texas Veterans Land Board's direct loan program.
There is no maximum sales price with the VHAP; however, the VLB can only loan up to $200,000 toward the purchase. If the purchase price is more than $200,000, the VHAP can be used in conjunction with Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA), or conventional financing. This is known as a "two-note loan" and must be originated by a participating lender.
Keep in mind that the VHAP is not a refinancing program. If you have an existing loan on your home, you can't use the VHAP to lower your interest rate, nor can it be used as a down payment on a home. It can only be used as a first lien on your primary residence.
Other housing benefits for veterans
The Land Board also offers other housing-related benefits for veterans. For example, through the Greenbuilding Program, veterans can reduce their interest rate even further (by as much as 0.3%) by using "green" materials and features in their homes. The TVLB assigns number values to "environment friendly" building materials and features that save energy and water.
Veterans who achieve a required minimum score when building or purchasing a new home, or remodeling an existing home, are eligible for the reduced interest rate. Kermit the frog was wrong - it IS easy being green (in Texas)!
There's also the Veterans with Disabilities program, which offers a half-percent interest rate reduction to those veterans who have a service-connected disability of 10% or greater (as verified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs).
Finally, the Veteran Teachers Program is for veterans or their spouses who are currently certified by the Texas Education Agency and who work as Texas teachers, or veterans who agree to become certified Texas teachers. Educate Texas' children, and you could be eligible for a half-percent interest-rate deduction.
To be eligible to participate in the Texas Veterans Loan Programs, applicants must have:
- Served no fewer than 90 continuous days on active duty (including active duty for training) in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard or United States Public Health Service (unless discharged sooner by reason of a service-connected disability), or a reserve component of one of the listed branches of service, or have enlisted or received an appointment in the Texas National Guard after completing all initial active duty training requirements as a condition of enlistment or appointment, or have completed 20 years in a reserve component so as to be eligible for retirement as a condition of enlistment or appointment, or, if currently an active duty member of a listed service or a full-time reservist, have completed the initial service obligation;
- Served after Sept. 16, 1940 (for Texas veterans who entered the armed services before Jan. 1, 1977, and who have been discharged from active duty less than 30 years, certain interest-rate incentives may be available for housing or home improvement loans);
- Been honorably discharged;
- Been a bona fide resident of Texas at the time of entry into the military or must have resided in Texas for at least two consecutive years immediately prior to filing an application; applicant must be a bona fide Texas resident at the time the application is made (a bona fide resident is someone who is living in Texas with the intent to remain in Texas). Presence in Texas due to military service alone does not establish bona fide residency); and
- Have successfully repaid any previous TVLB loan within the same loan program. A loan is considered repaid when the account has been paid in full by the original veteran purchaser or last approved assignee. Any active TVLB loans in programs other than the one for which application is being made must be in good standing.
Whether you served in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, National Guard, or any of the armed services, it's easy to take advantage of these great programs that thank you for your service to our country. For more information, contact the Texas Veterans Land Board at 800-252-VETS or CONTACT TIFFANY SHARKEY OR TONYA PEEK AT 972-977-2254 FOR MORE INFO ON VA LOANS.