More and more veterans are taking advantage of a great deal from the VA. That deal is the VA Home Loan Program where many eligible veterans don't have to make a down payment when buying a home.
JR Martinez is a happy homeowner in Bee Cave and the name may sound familiar. He's an actor and done some reality television but it wasn't his celebrity that helped him make his home a reality.
Martinez is an Army veteran who was hit by an IED in Iraq. He was honorably discharged and was eligible for the Home Loan Program. He wants to spread the word to fellow vets.
"My advice to vets is to not be discouraged when you hear VA Home Loan. Most importantly it's about who you work with to help you through the process. It's all about the individuals you decide to work with," Martinez says.
Martinez worked with Chad Bowman of Veterans United Home Loans which is the largest VA lender in the country.
Bowman says, "Not having a down payment is one of the biggest things. Not having to save up and then credit. I've seen on TV where they say you need 20 percent and perfect credit to buy a house. Well with the VA you don't need perfect credit."
The VA, according to Bowman, backs up part of the loan and that saves the veteran big bucks.
"If you don't tell a vet about the VA program and they go with FHA it's a roughly $20,000 difference over 10 years. So that vet is paying $20,000 more on the FHA loan vs. the VA loan they could have had."
Bowman says vets can also use the program more than once and stresses that the program is equal to all.
"I've had the question before of did my rank matter. Does it affect my down payment eligibility? Does a colonel get a better deal then a private? It's not the case once you're eligible you'll get the full benefit," Bowman says.
Martinez took advantage of the full benefit and now he's got a home and so much more thanks to his service.
"The freedom it's created for my family to be able to own a home and how easy to some degree it was, but most importantly to have the freedom to say the VA Home Loan gave us this luxury to be able to do this with our money," Martinez says.
In addition to the VA Home Loan Program, Texas veterans have another option for help when buying a home. That's the Texas Veterans Land Board which also offers eligible Texas veterans reduced interest rates and smaller down payments.