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Housing opportunities many for veterans

Veterans who buy real estate with what is known as a “VA loan” can get some real bargains.

They save on closing costs and other fees and generally do not have to come up with a down payment. The loan is not actually made by the VA — the VA guarantees the loan that is then made by a bank or mortgage company. If the veteran should default, the VA is left to pay the bank. It’s a good deal all around.

While any licensed and knowledgeable real estate agent can assist with a VA loan, several years ago a group of Realtors organized to specialize in such finances. It’s called VAREP, which stands for Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals. Pronounced “Vah-Rep,” the non-profit group reports it is dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership, financial literacy, education VA loan awareness and economic opportunity for the active-military and veteran communities.

As a non-profit for veterans as well as a HUD-approved counseling affiliate, they provide a number of services including credit, budget and financial counseling, VA loan and foreclosure prevention discussions and rental information. A spokesperson said, “Once a veteran is ready to realize the American Dream, they have a network of veteran-friendly real estate lenders and other housing specialists to help them be on the path to homeownership.”

VA loans are often a perfect method for veterans who are first-time buyers to purchase a home. Full disclosure, I purchased my first home many years ago with a VA loan. While many families from California as well as other states are moving to Boulder City and other Nevada locations, USA Today recently published a list from realtor.com of what it says are the best seven markets for first-time buyers. I can’t believe that Boulder City — or anywhere else in Nevada — is not on the list! But here it is: Grand Rapids, Mich.; Cheektowaga, NY; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Newington, Conn.; Benton, Ark.; Winterset, Iowa; and Irondequoit, NY. The list takes into consideration such things as price and affordability, ample housing inventories, shorter commutes and lively culture, among other items. (The list neglected to mention season-long freezing cold winters, high heating bills, numerous snow-packed icy roads, high property tax rates, state income taxes and few employment opportunities!)

So, any veterans in Boulder City ready to move to anyplace on the above list? I don’t think so.

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