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Loans for military personnel and veterans
Loans for military personnel and veterans | BraunS/E+/Getty Images

Loans for military personnel and veterans

If you have served in the military, Uncle Sam could help you buy a home.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs home loan program is open to current and former military personnel, and their surviving spouses, says Meagan Lutz, department spokeswoman.

VA mortgages allow as little as $0 down, with no geographical limitations, says Lutz. Assuming no other debts, applicants are allowed to budget up to 41% of monthly income on housing.

What you need to know: Barring service-related disabilities, you (or your spouse) must have served a specific number of days, and received a discharge other than "dishonorable."

Also, the home must pass inspection by a VA-approved inspector, and standards are more rigorous than they are for conventional loans, says Renee Behr, broker/associate with The Platinum Group, Realtors.

For instance, a home can't have peeling paint, she says.

Also, some sellers -- fearing that a government-backed loan will take longer to close -- will refuse VA financing or give preference to buyers with other types of loans, says Justin Knoll, president of Madison & Co. Properties.

In truth, VA loans can be easier to get and quicker to close than some conventional mortgages, he says.

RATE SEARCH: Comparison-shop for a VA loan today.

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