Top Strategies for Veterans Purchasing a Home

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:

  • Conventional adjustable-rate mortgages
  • FHA loans
  • USDA loans
  • VA loans


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:

  • What can you expect to get within your price range?
  • What is the best time of year to purchase?
  • How does location influence pricing?
  • Which neighborhoods are most desirable?
  • What amenities and services do the neighborhoods offer?


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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Helpful and Affordable Sleep Tips For Veterans

Helpful and Affordable Sleep Tips For Veterans


According to research, many veterans have trouble getting a good night’s rest. Some of the issues that can cause disruptions in your sleep are PTSD, restless leg syndrome, and anxiety. It can take some work but having a well-rested night is still possible with these easy-to-implement, budget-friendly tips, presented by Vets Help Center.


Utilize Health Services

According to Health Finder, you should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. Of the many benefits you can expect when you’re well-rested include a reduction in stress and an improvement in how well your body fights off illnesses. In order to reap the benefits, try to time your sleep habits nightly; our bodies are naturally programmed to get better sleep at night than in the day. If you suspect an illness may be interfering with your sleep, be sure to consult a doctor. If you’re on a tight budget, consider taking advantage of the health services offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You can access care from persons who are familiar with your specialized needs, and these services are free for up to a year after your separation from the military. 


Develop a Bedtime Routine

An effective bedtime routine can be very helpful, especially if you’re dealing with issues like PTSD. There’s no one-size-fits-all routine for everyone, so make sure you find out what works well for you. Some of the things you can try are going to bed at a particular time, trying out some calming exercises close to your bedtime and doing something relaxing like listening to music. Keeping the light low and cutting down on disruptive noises are recommended as well. If you have trouble sleeping in silence or are being affected by ringing in your ears, a white noise machine can make your quest for sleep more attainable.


Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom

An integral part of sleeping well at night is having the right setup in your bedroom. When you’re creating a sleep-friendly space, the National Sleep Foundation suggests dimming the lights and keeping intrusive noises to a minimum. You should keep the room cool and use soothing scents like lavender to help you relax. It’s also recommended that you have a comfortable mattress that’s complemented by the right pillows and bedding. You can pick up many of the things you need at affordable prices at a retailer like Target. If you decide to shop at Target online, make sure to take advantage of online deals and discounts, such as coupons and promo codes.


Document Your Sleepless Nights

While your sleeplessness can be caused by a number of factors, it’s important to keep notes if your sleep doesn’t improve after changes to your wellness routine. One of the health issues that can disrupt your nights is sleep apnea and you need to recognize the symptoms. If you’re gasping during your sleep, waking up feeling short of breath or waking up with a sore throat, you may need to talk to your doctor. To make sure you’re giving the doctor all the information they need, you should write down any issues that concern you when it comes to how you’re sleeping.


Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to many aspects of mental, emotional and physical health. When you’re being deprived of restful sleep, it can create a terrible negative cycle. To keep this from happening, make sure you develop a sleep-friendly routine and consult the professionals when you need them.


Vets Help Center offers informative content to help educate veterans on life after service.


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6 Gestures to Show Veterans and Active Duty Military Your Support and Appreciation

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.


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