Some of our clients had the opportunity to tell their stories during our segment on "Designing Spaces," airing on Lifetime.
These stories show how important it is for Veterans and their families to “make it home.” We asked some of our customers what home means to them.
For Veterans, the phrase “make it home” can conjure thoughts of longing — for loved ones halfway around the world, for certain foods you can only get at home, or for the safety and security that home provides. Home can be the reward — and motivation — to get through a hard day.
While the journey to a new home is different for everybody, most agree that the best thing about homeownership is that it’s yours. You and your service to our country are unique, and your road to homeownership won’t be exactly like anyone else’s.
Personal attention is what sets Veterans First apart. Any approved VA lender can process your application, but are they willing to go the distance with you, and make it as easy as possible? To some Veterans, choosing the right mortgage lender is as important as finding the right home. A VA lender who listens, can handle tough situations, and will step you through any challenges that arise — is the lender that you want on your side.
Each of the stories featured in our video ends with an approved VA loan and a new home for a beloved member of our military community. But it’s not just about the loan or the house. It’s also about the journey and the lasting relationships formed along the way.
Home Is a New Start for a Surviving Spouse
Patricia, pictured here holding her husband’s service portrait, is a surviving spouse who found it a great challenge to overcome the loss of her husband, David. She married David, a Marine Veteran, twice. The first time, he had PTSD episodes that Patricia didn’t understand. Then VA counseling gave David a way to manage his PTSD, and the couple got a second go at marriage.
After David’s death, Patricia moved six times in seven years, never really knowing how to grieve the loss of her beloved husband. Then one day, Patricia visited her his grave at Arlington National Cemetery and finally wept as she wasn’t able to do before.
With the burden finally lifted, Patricia could move on and use the home loan benefit her late husband had earned for her. She bought a home with no down payment and the VA funding fee waived — building a life on her own. For Patricia, home means a much needed new start.
Home Is Love for an Air Force Veteran
Alvin, a Veteran of the Air Force, is pictured here celebrating in his new home with his real estate agent. He believed that his debt-to-income (DTI) ratio was too high to qualify for VA loan approval. His Veterans First loan officer, Celeste, saw through the challenge by digging deeper into Alvin’s situation. As the member of a lending team that specializes in serving Veterans, Celeste had the training and expertise to ask more detailed questions to get to the bottom of Alvin’s DTI problem. In the end, it was a matter of following the paper trail.
After sorting out Daniel’s debt file, Celeste showed that his DTI ratios were in check after all. Alvin was approved, and he bought his new dream home with a VA loan. Alvin named his new home, affectionately, Celeste. For Alvin, home means love.
Home Is Familiarity in a New Town
Chanda married her brother’s best friend, Daniel, who had served with her sibling in the U.S. Air Force. After they were married, Chanda and Daniel were serial renters for over a decade, until an opportunity changed everything.
Chanda got promoted to work as an exchange administrator in the IT industry, and her new job took them to another state. The family had to move fast. If it weren’t for the low rental inventory in their new town, Chanda and Daniel would likely have rented again. But this time they considered homeownership.
In their new town, the housing options happened to be much better for buying. They had an infant son and two dogs, so a home of their own was sounding better and better. The only problem was that they had to move in less than 30 days in order for Chanda to start her new job on time.
Recognizing the urgency, their Veterans First loan officer, Andrew, acted swiftly to get them to the closing table with time to spare. For Chanda and Daniel, home means family.
Home Is Knowing Your Aging Parents Are Close By
Vernon is a U.S. Army Veteran who served in the Korean War. He and his wife, Linda, are getting up in years. Robbin, pictured above, is their doting daughter. As you can see, Robbin is a real cake boss, and her cake-decorating business keeps her very busy. Robbin’s aging parents lived in a mobile home 30 minutes from Auburn, Alabama, where Robbin lived. But the distance was becoming a problem.
“When your parents get older, things can happen and they need you,” said Robbin. This loving daughter drove the one-hour round trip daily to check on her parents. Sometimes it meant Robbin would have to put off a cake-decorating job until she got home late at night. It was time for a change.
Then, the home next door to Robbin went up for sale. Robbin immediately saw the opportunity for her parents to be closer, but they knew they’d have to sell their mobile home first to free up funds.
That’s where the expertise of a seasoned VA lender came in handy. They worked with Ben, a loan officer at Veterans First, who became a friend by their side through their complicated journey. The mobile home was not an easy sale. The family had to get the property up to U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards, which meant some serious structural upgrades, many of which they did themselves in the Alabama summer heat to save money.
After a lot of sweat equity, Vernon and Linda were able to sell the mobile home and buy the house next to Robbin. Today, Robbin walks next door when her parents need her, or whenever she wants to treat them to one of her cakes. For Robbin, home means peace of mind.
For all of these Veterans, homeownership means so much more than a house. And they couldn’t be happier with their VA loans from Veterans First.