Owning a house is part of the American dream, at least to some people. Some of our crew here would rather have a cozy little apartment in proximity to a liquor store and a shooting range, but that’s something of an aberration. The program covered here is one method some veterans and their families have been able to buy a home.
A program to help with VA home loans
BLUF: it’s counseling and assistance for qualifying veterans who wish to buy a home but are unable to do so. Typically this is for prior issues with debt to income issues but could be other issues as well (including difficulty understanding/surmounting some of the steps of the VA home loan process. The program is run by Veterans United, a lending institution that specializes in veteran home loans.
Veterans United Lighthouse Program
An ISR Overview
The program essentially a focused and individualized assistance program for qualifying veterans (and family members) attempting to purchase a home. The company explains the background thusly:
“Military service can cause unique financial strains. Some prospective borrowers might have a bankruptcy or foreclosure in their past. Others may have fallen behind on credit card or mortgage payments. None of this automatically precludes you from obtaining a mortgage. But each of those can inflict major damage on your credit score and make the road to loan approval more difficult.
VA loans have more flexible and forgiving credit score requirements than other loans types. But even the 620 score benchmark that’s common among VA lenders can be difficult to hit for some veterans, service members and military families.”
What VU does, then, is take someone who is unable to prequalify for a VA home loan and help them unfuck their finances. This could take anywhere from a couple of months to more than a year.
As of this writing, nearly 20,000 people have successfully purchased a home after engaging Lighthouse Program assistance. That’s nearly 20,000 people who now have an excuse to set up their own home front battlestations.
Lighthouse Program Reviews
As with almost anything with that many people involved, there is a wide range of reviews. In the case of Veterans United Lighthouse Program Reviews, those seem to be almost exclusively positive. “Note: we have no first-hand knowledge of Veterans United or the Lighthouse Program we’re simply culling what we can find on the interwebz. If you want to start with a review of VU’s loans first, start with the REFT blog article, Veterans United VA Loan Review.
“My first interaction with Veterans United was a rejection. The minimum credit score for a VA home loan with Veterans United was 620 and my score was in the neighborhood of 540. So I was referred to an in-house service called the Lighthouse Program, which is run by Veterans United. The program is free and signing up doesn’t commit you to purchase or any type of contract through Veterans United.
Essentially, Lighthouse provides free counseling to help you identify and correct errors on your credit report that might be bringing down your score. In addition, Lighthouse works closely with you to develop a plan to strengthen your credit score and design highly personalized objectives to help you reduce your debt.
In my case, an incredibly energetic woman named Sara asked my permission to perform a “hard pull,” an in-depth review of my credit. When I gave her permission, she ran simulations to see what would be the fastest path to a 620 credit score.”
Who will benefit from the Lighthouse Program?
You will if you’re not an assclown unwilling to take some advice. RE Factor Tactical breaks it down in their Veterans United Lighthouse Program article from January.
“You want to buy your first home, you’re serving or served in the United States Military, but you don’t have a qualifying credit score. Or, you do have a qualifying credit score, but it’s low and you’d like to raise it, in hopes of getting a better interest rate on your home. Because lower interest means lower payments.
If this is you, the Lighthouse Program, offered through Veterans United will help you work toward raising your score. They do this by looking over your credit report and seeing where you have room for improvement. Then, they give you advice on how to make those improvements.
For example, let’s say that you have a low credit score, and a derogatory mark saying that your credit usage is too high. To make this a little easier, you have three credit cards: A Visa, Master Card, and an American Express. Your visa has a credit limit of $10,000, your Master Card has a limit of $2,000, and finally, your American Express has a credit limit of $6,000. That’s a combined credit limit of $18,000. Of that $18,000, you’ve maxed out your Master Card, spent $4,000 on your American Express and your Visa, you’ve spent $5,000 of that. That’s a combined $11,000 out of your total $18,000 that you’re limited too.
Now, you might be thinking, okay, so I still have another $7,000 I can use! I make my monthly payments on time for each card, so there shouldn’t be a problem. Well, this is where someone from the Lighthouse Program might tell you-you’re wrong. Instead, they might tell you to start paying your credit cards down, until you’ve only spent 20% of your limit, instead of over half.”
So there ya go. Maybe they’ll help ya. Maybe you’ll buy a house. Maybe then you’ll have an excuse to read our homefront articles!
Learn more at: https://www.veteransunited.com/credit-building/.
Monitor this frequency for more information on this and similar topics: http://bit.ly/REFTveteransblog.
Update: more at https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/58726/lighthouse-veteran-centered-api-program-va/
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