Flag waving at veteran's day parade
Adobe Stock/Cheryl Casey Flag waving at veteran's day parade

According to a new national survey of veterans and active duty service members, just 3 in 10 are aware of the 0% down payment benefit when buying a home.

To alleviate this issue, an alliance of real estate, media, mortgage, and veteran service organizations are launching the #MissionZero campaign, which aims to provide essential home buying information and support to those who are serving or have served our nation.

"After nearly eight decades of helping veterans and military families buy homes and build generational wealth, the VA loan benefit is more important than ever," says Nathan Long, CEO of Veterans United. "The #MissionZero campaign helps highlight how VA loans are built to eliminate obstacles and make homeownership more accessible for those who serve. At the same time, they also offer veterans the freedom to choose how and where they invest their savings."

The major advantage of VA loans is the ability to purchase a home without the burden of a down payment, but VA home loans also typically offer qualified borrowers more flexible credit terms and lower interest rates.

Data on VA loans from Realtor.com shows a greater share of issuance to those with less than perfect credit compared with other loans, making homeownership possible to a wider net of borrowers. In the past year, about 24.8% of home buyers with VA loans fell into the fair credit score category (580-669) compared with 4.7% among conforming loan borrowers.

VA loans also typically have lower mortgage interest rates, which reduces monthly costs. Between October 2022 and September 2023, the average mortgage rate for 30-year fixed-rate VA loans was 6.27%, whereas it was 6.67% for conforming loans.

"VA home loans offer many benefits, especially at times like this when affordability is such a major factor in home purchase decisions. Yet only a small portion of eligible veterans are tapping into the financial benefits they deserve for their service," says Damian Eales, CEO at Realtor.com. "We owe it to our veterans to ensure they have the information they need to make informed housing decisions. It's a small way to give back to those who have given so much, and we appreciate our partners for joining us in the cause."