As a former sergeant in the U.S. Military, Styron Batchelor knows first-hand the challenges of adjusting to civilian life after completing a lengthy tour of duty. Styron served 16 months in Iraq and said that once he returned home, he struggled for years to understand the veterans’ benefits he was entitled to and how to go about getting them. He also knew plenty of fellow disabled veterans who shared his frustrations. As an on-air personality for local radio and television stations in Detroit, MI, Styron shared his story with several people who encouraged him to start an organization and become a “voice for the voiceless”.
And that’s how “Best for Vets” was born.
Based in the greater Detroit metropolitan area, Best for Vets provides coaching and assistance to service-disabled veterans in Oakland County who need help with basic needs, job placement, benefits, and housing. Their monthly meetings regularly attract 30 to 50 veterans.
While disabled veterans have many challenges, one of their greatest needs is access to affordable housing. Styron says many disabled veterans lack access to information, do not understand how their credit affects their ability to buy a home, and just need help with the overall home loan process.
And he says, it’s community partners like Amerifirst Home Mortgage that are making a difference. In February, Port Huron Loan Officer Mark Bynum attended the group’s February meeting and provided coaching, support and practical information on how veterans can better prepare themselves to get home-ready. This included tips on ways to rebuild credit, how to qualify for the V.A. loan, and how to put themselves in the best financial position for homeownership success.
“Our veterans have served our country. It’s exciting to get a chance to help them understand the benefits of the VA loan and help them get ready to buy their first home,” said Mark. "My team can streamline the process for them by handling the paperwork and helping them tap into community resources. We'll walk with them through each step of the homebuying process right up to the day they're opening the door to their very first home."
As for Styron, he too is excited to pursue the American dream of homeownership and is excited to work with Mark to reach his goals. “Mark is very invested in our organization,” he said. “We need someone we can trust and who knows the ins and outs of the mortgage business to help us achieve success. And we found him.”
The VA Loan
Created to help more veterans buy their first homes at an affordable cost, the VA loan packs a lot of bang for the buck. From its flexible and generous lending requirements to its low interest rates and closing costs, VA loans are one of the most popular choices among first-time homebuyers with a military background. Perhaps the biggest advantages to a VA loan are the 100 percent financing (no down payment necessary) and no mortgage insurance requirement. Both of these benefits can save you big bucks now and hundreds of dollars over the life of the loan.
Benefits at a Glance
- No down payment required – 100% financing
- Flexible credit and qualifying guidelines – you don’t need to have perfect credit to qualify
- Lower interest rates – typically well below most conventional loan options
- No monthly mortgage insurance
- Finance the funding fee – ability to roll the funding fee into your loan
- Seller can pay up to 4% closing costs
- Gift money can be used for closing costs and pre-paid items
- No pre-payment penalty - sell or refinance anytime without paying a penalty
- 100% cash-out refinance, including the funding fee: Use your home’s value and pull cash out to pay off debt, make repairs to your home, remodel or spend otherwise.
Ready to learn more? One of our friendly loan officers will be happy to sit down with you and explain your options. We're here to help!