The Home Buyer's Korner

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April 17th, 2015

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Veterans Gain Assistance for Home Improvements

For some veterans, coming home can be overwhelming as servicemen try to sort out issues like housing. Some servicemen find themselves disabled after duty and in need of a home that is adapted for their conditions. Fortunately, Veterans Affairs has several options beyond a VA home loan designed to help out servicemen once they return home.

The Home Improvements and Structural Alterations Program with Veteran Affairs offers eligible veterans to receive a grant to change their home to suit their disability needs. For some, this could mean adding entrance and exit ramps, handrails, improving access to kitchen and bathroom counters, lowering electrical switches and outlets, improving plumbing and access to the lavatory and improving pathways and driveways. For disabled veterans, this grant can be extremely helpful in adapting their home in order to treat their conditions and improve access throughout their home.

Recently, the VA raised the grant amount for both service- and non-service-connected veterans. For service-connected veterans, the grant amount can be up to $6,800 for home alterations and veterans with a non-service-connected condition have a grant allowance of up to $2,000. Veterans are responsible for paying any costs that exceed the grant amounts, and some might want to consider using an FHA 203K or USDA zero down mortgage loan to purchase or refinance their home with the grant.

The HISA grants will not pay for walkways to outdoor buildings, spa, hot tubs or jacuzzis, widening of driveways and exterior decking, but an FHA 203K or USDA Zero Down Home Loan could.

Remember, grants don’t have to be paid back! It’s all about thinking outside the box when assisting veterans, so be sure to bookmark this post just in case you meet a soldier who’s made an incredible sacrifice for you and return the favor with a little knowledge.

Veterans are considered eligible for the grant when home alterations are deemed medically necessary or appropriate. Pre-authorization is required before any changes begin on the home. In order to get approved, veterans must submit a statement from their doctor, a letter documenting their physical disability and description of the planned work that is requested, as well as a drawing of the planned work, a completed application, an itemized cost list and documentation from a licensed contractor, all of which is already completed with doing an of the home improvement loans we discuss in our blog.

Demand is booming. There are now an estimated 22 million veterans and many of them with eligibility for VA loan benefits. In an era that has been plagued with extremely tight credit and underwriting in most segments of the marketplace the grant program looks like an extended hand up.

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