Purchasing a home is one of the most significant purchases you will ever make. If you are a veteran planning to take this step, consider these strategies brought to you by the Vets Help Center to prepare you for the process and inform you of veteran-exclusive options that can save you money.
Examine Your Finances
Doing your financial homework before you begin house shopping can save you time and disappointment. Start by getting a free credit check. Your score can impact your likelihood of getting approved for a loan, as well as the loan terms you may be offered.
If you discover that your credit score is not optimal, there are strategies to improve it. First, report any errors in your report. Next, prioritize paying each bill by its due date. To make sure you aren’t late with payments, employ strategies such as autopay from your bank or alerts on your computer.
It’s also important to improve your debt to credit ratio by paying off as much of your current debt as possible. If you don’t have the means to do this, you can approach it from the other direction by asking your credit card company to increase your credit line. When your credit increases while your debt remains constant, your credit score improves.
Determine Your Price Range
To set a reasonable price range for your new home, examine current income and expenditures. Then, calculate your projected monthly payments for different loan amounts, taking into account additional expenses such as utilities, property taxes, insurance, and homeowners association fees.
Consider Your Loan Options
Homebuyers have several loan options to choose from, including:
Many veterans opt for a VA loan, which is available to active duty and veteran members of the U.S. military and their families. These are excellent options for qualified individuals because they offer generous terms that aren’t available with other loan types. A VA 30-year fixed mortgage loan, for example, eliminates the need for a down payment and offers low interest rates. The interest for these rates, however, are typically for single-family residences, and they are subject to change.
In addition to determining the best loan for your situation, you should also compare offers from several financial institutions. Because details such as interest rates, loan terms, APRs, and other fees can vary, it’s wise to shop around for the best deal. Also, apply for a loan pre-approval because it puts you in a better position for negotiating.
Use a Real Estate Company
Contact a real estate company early in the search process and let them know your budget, the type of home and neighborhood you are seeking, and which items on your wish list are must-haves. These professionals can educate you on the housing market:
Once you find the perfect home, your agent can use your pre-approval to move quickly, negotiate the price and closing costs, and set a closing date. At the closing, both sides sign all the necessary paperwork, and then you officially become the owner of a new home!
If you are looking forward to purchasing a new home, make sure you are fully prepared. By following several simple strategies, you can increase your confidence and be better positioned for the house-hunting process.
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This article will discuss how veteran substance abuse hurts our troops when they return home. And we will discuss the way that we can help them overcome their substance use disorders.
6 Gestures to Show Veterans and Active Duty Military Your Support and Appreciation
Are you looking for ways to support the veterans and active duty military in your community? The members of the United State Armed Forces and those who have served have sacrificed so much for our freedom and security. So, it makes sense to show your respect and gratitude for that sacrifice. You may already remember the military and veterans in your prayers, but how else can you support the people who have given so much? Well, you can start with one of these actions recommended by Vets Help Center, to show your appreciation and help veterans in need.
Pursue a New Career in Social Work
If you really want to go the extra mile for veterans, you can think about working toward a Master of Social Work. Several universities offer online programs which also require about 900 to 1,200 hours of field work to fully complete. Once completed, you can use your degree to help veterans and soldiers with anxiety and depression or assist with major transitions in their life, such as separating from service or adjusting to life with a new family.
Help Senior Veterans Access Healthcare
It’s no secret that figuring out the VA healthcare system can be a challenge, but when Medicare is mixed in, veterans can become completely lost. It’s difficult for senior veterans to access the healthcare they need, but you can make it easier by offering your help to a vet who is struggling. You can help them make sense of their options (advantages and disadvantages to enrolling, late enrollment fees, etc.), and help them choose the coverage that will provide the care they deserve. One option is having them sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. Advantage plans have additional benefits for dental and vision care and prescription drugs.
Donate to Charities Dedicated to Veterans
Sometimes, it’s easier to donate cash rather than time to help veterans in need, and that’s okay. Every little bit helps when it comes to improving the lives of those who have served and are still serving our country. There are several reputable charities you can donate to, but be on the lookout for scams involving veteran causes. Even seemingly supportive organizations may not use those donations correctly, so be sure to research charities online before donating.
Send a Care Package to Deployed Soldiers
When active duty service members are deployed overseas, they often lack access to the comforts of home. You can provide that comfort by sending a care package to a deployed loved one or friend, and then packing it with items they can actually use. Non-perishable snacks, lightweight books, and toiletry kits are always a good choice, but adding more personal reminders of home are always appreciated too. Don’t know anyone who is deployed? You can send a care package or letter to a soldier through groups like Soldier’s Angels.
Invite a Service Member Over for Memorial Day
Care packages are a great way to help soldiers who are thousands of miles from home. To help the active duty service members in your own community, think about inviting them over for your Memorial Day celebrations. Although this is a day to honor fallen heroes, providing a home-cooked meal for a soldier or veteran is always a gesture that will be appreciated. Just be sure to keep your celebrations thoughtful since many service members have lost friends, loved ones, and fellow soldiers in combat.
Thank Service Members and Veterans for Their Service
Making a difference in the lives of America’s true heroes can take action, but know that your words matter as well. So, if you see a man or woman in uniform or meet a veteran, be sure to offer your thanks for their service. It’s such a simple gesture that will be so greatly appreciated by the recipient of your kind words. Better yet, back up your words with a thoughtful gesture, such as paying for a meal or coffee for veterans and service members in uniform or taking a veteran out to get a free meal on Veterans Day.
We owe a debt to the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. You can repay that debt with something as simple as a “thanks” or as grand as a career in social work to help veterans who need it most. So, show your support in a way that feels right to you.
Looking for more information about assisting veterans? Head over to Vets Help Center for helpful links, articles, and videos.
Photo Credit: Pexels
SKILLSAW: A portable cutting tool used to make boards too short.
BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, ‘Oh shit’. Will easily wind a tee shirt off your back.
DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.
CHANNEL LOCKS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
HACK SAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
VISE GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for igniting various flammable objects in your shop and creating a fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.
TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity. Very effective for digit removal!!
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to cut large pieces into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge. Also excels at amputations.
TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of all the crap you forgot to disconnect.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
PVC PIPE CUTTER: A tool used to make plastic pipe too short.
HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit. Also very effective at fingernail removal.
UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door. Works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use. These can also be used to initiate a trip to the emergency room so a doctor can sew up the damage.
SON OF A BITCH TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling ‘Son of a bitch’ at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.
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