5 Home Buying Tips for Texas Veterans
With one of the most robust veteran benefits programs in the nation, it’s no surprise that the state of Texas is a popular location for veterans to live in. Whether you’re a seasoned property owner or a first-time home buyer, there are various resources for Texas veterans that can help make the buying process simpler and more affordable. So, if you are someone who has served in the armed forces and looking for a place to call home, read our tips below before making a purchase.
1. Consider VA Home Loans
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, “VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with more favorable terms.” These terms include a zero-dollar downpayment, competitively low interest rates, limited closing costs, no need for private mortgage insurance (PMI), and the VA home loan is a lifetime benefit. If you are looking for a more flexible home loan, this might be just what you need. To learn more about the home buying process and the VA home loan benefits, check out the VA Home Loan Buyer’s Guide.
2. Explore the Different Resources for Texas Veterans
As a Texas veteran looking to buy a home, it is important to understand all your resources to help maximize your benefits and The Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation (TSAHC) is a great place to start. TSAHC is a non-profit organization created by Texas Legislature to help Texans achieve homeownership at affordable pricing. Some common programs for veterans include:
- Homes for Texas Heroes Program: provides access to fixed-rate mortgage financing, down payment assistance grants and mortgage credit certificates to low and moderate-income veteran households.
- Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP): provides low-interest land, home, and home improvement loans that require little or no down payment.
- Pen-Fed Dream Makers Program: offers grants for down payments to veterans who are first-time homebuyers.
3. Maintain Employment
When in the process of purchasing a Texas home, maintaining consistent employment is a key factor in qualifying for any mortgage. Why? Well, your stability and income level show a lender how much you can afford and if you can qualify for a loan. If you are in between jobs or recently quit, this can make it much more difficult to obtain a home loan without proof of stable income. That’s why it is best to hold off on switching jobs until the home buying process has been completed.
4. Find a Veteran-Friendly Real Estate Agent
Once you start looking for a home, you will want to find the right real estate agent to work with. For instance, finding an agent that has experience with VA loans compared to others is important to have proper guidance during the buying process. Due to the vast differences between VA loans compared to other mortgages, not every agent will be the right fit for you. Finding an agent who is qualified and understands buying tips for veterans will make the process much more efficient.
5. Understand Texas Tax Exemptions for Qualified Veterans
Below are some common tax emptions for veterans in the state of Texas. If you believe you qualify for one of the exemptions below, be sure to contact your local tax authority for more information, as most of the exemptions will require an official application to be considered for the tax break.
- Texas Homestead Tax Exemption for 100% Disabled or Unemployable Veterans: Veterans who receive compensation from the VA for a service-connected disability rating of 100% disabled or of individual unemployability are eligible for 100% property tax exemption on their homestead. Learn more from the Texas Comptroller.
- Texas Property Tax Exemption for Partially Disabled Veterans and Veterans over age 65: Texas offers a partial property tax exemption for partially disabled Veterans. The amount of the exemption is based on the percentage of service-connected disability the VA awarded the Veteran. Learn more from the Texas Comptroller.
- Texas Property Tax Exemption for the Surviving Spouse of a Service Member Killed in the Line of Duty: Surviving spouses of a first responder killed in the line of duty can also receive an exemption if they have not remarried since the death of the first responder. Learn more from the Texas Comptroller.
If you are a Texas veteran who currently owns a home but struggling to pay off overdue property taxes, Johnson & Starr may be able to help. We’re proud to have helped hundreds of Texans save their homes by providing fair, flexible, and easy-to-understand loans. Contact us today, and one of our helpful team members will walk you through any questions.