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How Much Do You REALLY Know About VA Loans?

Federally-assisted housing programs such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s FHA loan program or the Department of Veterans Affairs VA home loan program would seem to be common knowledge. Bankers, real estate agents, government agencies and military bases all have plenty of literature, web resources and other information available to help those who could benefit from these programs. So why aren’t they as well known as we think they are?

IN 2004, an independent study on the VA loans program was finalized and delivered and eventually published on the VA official site. This report was done by a third party and intended as a complete look at the program including recommendations for areas where the study saw room for improvement. The report, “Evaluation of VA’s Home Loan Guaranty Program” revealed some eye-opening statistics.

It may surprise you to learn that a VA loan survey covering program awareness among eligible service members showed that at least 19% of those polled were unaware of the program. Imagine a bank or real estage agency learning that 19% of its eligible customers are unaware of a key product or service offered as a benefit.

The survey, aimed directly at those eligible to apply for a VA loan and with no answers listed from those unable to apply, also found another 11% thought they were ineligible for a VA loan, with another four percent reporting they did not know how to apply for a VA home loan. Add those numbers together and you come up with a whopping 34% of potential missed opportunities.

The recommendation made as part of the independent study includes, “Awareness and understanding is an important goal for all VA programs, and as such, VA should have mechanisms in place to measure at least the participants’ general awareness of each program on an ongoing basis.”

That’s the recommendation of the study group aimed at the department of Veterans Affairs. But there is plenty a real estate agent, loan officer, and those in the market for a new home themselves can do to increase their own awareness of the VA home loan program. An excellent place to begin is by reading the VA’s pamphlet VA Guaranteed Home Loans For Veterans to learn the basics of VA home loans and who is eligible to apply.

About Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association.

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