BAM Key Details:

  • According to a new national survey of Veterans and active duty service members, only three in 10 know they can use their VA benefit to buy a home with zero down payment. 
  • Realtor.com® and an alliance of organizations has launched the #MissionZero campaign to educate Veterans and service members on their hard-earned home loan benefit. 

Only three in 10 Veterans and active duty service members know they can use their VA benefit to buy a home with zero down. 

That means 70% of them are either

  • Paying more to purchase a home—or
  • Ruling out homeownership as unattainable (at least for now)

Realtor.com®, in cooperation with media, mortgage and Veteran service organizations, aims to change that with the #MissionZero campaign. 

The home page reads, “Nothing should get in the way of home—especially a down payment. Get information about Veteran Homebuying Benefits.” 

Other organizations involved in the campaign are the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), Veterans United Home Loans, and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, as well as the New York Post and Wall Street Journal

 Read on for the highlights. 

#MissionZero

The stated goal of the #MissionZero campaign is to ensure every Veteran and service member knows they can use their hard-earned VA loan benefit to buy a home with a zero down payment—hence the name.

Their VA benefit removes the obligation of putting anything down, making a home purchase far more attainable for qualifying borrowers. 

Some of the News Corp’s most popular media properties—including the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal—have joined the effort to help get the word out. 

And the campaign won’t stop until every Veteran and service member in the country knows the power of what they’ve earned by serving their country and risking their lives on a daily basis. 

VA home loans offer many benefits, especially at times like this when affordability is such a major factor in home purchase decisions. Yet only a small portion of eligible Veterans are tapping into the financial benefits they deserve for their service. At Realtor.com®, the #MissionZero campaign was born out of the belief that nothing should stand in the way of homeownership, especially a down payment. We owe it to our Veterans to ensure they have the information they need to make informed housing decisions. It’s a small way to give back to those who have given so much, and we appreciate our partners for joining us in the cause.

Damian Eales

CEO at Realtor.com®

VA home loans help boost homeownership among Veteran households

For qualified borrowers, VA home loans typically offer the following benefits:

Those benefits make homeownership more accessible, especially for first-time homebuyers who can’t draw on equity from a previous home. 

The advantages of qualifying for a VA loan are why, according to a new Realtor.com report, Veterans are in a better position than non-Veterans in today’s market. Qualifying borrowers who know of these benefits can save hundreds of dollars a month in housing costs. 

Realtor-dot-com_Money-saved-per-month-with-VA-loan

Source: Realtor.com

Those benefits have translated into a 16.2% difference in homeownership rates for Veteran households (79.7%) vs. non-Veterans (63.5%). 

In fact, data shows Veteran homeownership rates surpass those of non-Veterans in all the top 100 U.S. metros. And by increasing awareness of VA loan benefits, Realtor.com, et al, could widen the gap even further, despite current housing market challenges. 

After nearly eight decades of helping Veterans and military families buy homes and build generational wealth, the VA loan benefit is more important than ever. The #MissionZero campaign helps highlight how VA loans are built to eliminate obstacles and make homeownership more accessible for those who serve. At the same time, they also offer Veterans the freedom to choose how and where they invest their savings.

Nathan Long

CEO of Veterans United

VA loans come with substantial savings and lower credit rating requirements

What VA loans offer that sets them apart is the option of purchasing a home without the financial burden of a down payment—which, in today’s market, is a game-changer. 

According to what Realtor.com has learned over the past year, while three out of four (75.2%) VA loans had a 0% down payment, some borrowers did put money down to reduce their principal amount—thereby reducing their monthly mortgage payment. 

The average down payment percentage for VA loans during this time period was 2.7%, which is still well under the average 19.1% down payment percentage for conventional loans. 

RDC-down-payment-percentage-with-VA-loans

Source: Realtor.com

Data on VA loans shows more leniency toward borrowers with less-than-perfect credit compared to other loans, widening the net for qualifying borrowers. In the past year, roughly 24.8% of home buyers with VA loans had credit ratings that fell within the “Fair” category (580–669) compared to 4.7% among borrowers with conforming loans

RDC-credit-scores-for-VA-borrowers

Source: Realtor.com

VA loans also typically come with lower mortgage rates, saving borrowers hundreds of dollars a month. Between October 2022 and September 2023, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate VA loan was 6.27%. Compare that to 6.67% for a typical conforming loan. 

RDC-mortgage-rates-for-VA-loans

Source: Realtor.com

All these borrower benefits stack up, putting Veteran homebuyers in a stronger financial position than non-Veterans. So, what can you do, as a real estate agent, to increase the number of Veterans and service members who know about these advantages?

Read the full report for more details. And to learn more about VA home loans and the #MissionZero campaign, visit www.realtor.com/veterans