Housing numbers

New homes are under construction this week along Aubree Katherine Drive in south Killeen.

An audience of over 20 — made up of veterans, active-duty soldiers and their family members, along with some real estate agents — gathered on a recent Wednesday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center to dispel mistruths about the VA home loan process.

The many existing misconceptions of this entitlement were reviewed during the seminar — from what credit score is needed, eligibility between the military branches, the amount of times a loan can be used, and whether a VA home loan results in more costs in comparison to a conventional loan. Other topics covered touched on lender relationships; what’s in the veteran’s best interest during the home buying process; bonus entitlements; non-allowables; protecting assets; leveraging military housing allowance; understanding the affect military life has on financial decisions; VA guidelines; and where and why the information gap between veterans, real estate agents and lenders exists.

The seminar is to educate, motivate and inspire, organizers said. The goal is to ensure that every veteran who has served the country has the opportunity to own a piece of it, said seminar keynote speaker Chris Cano, a military veteran and manager and co-owner of Aligned Mortgage of Texas Branch.

The ongoing Killeen seminar is fairly new — starting about five months ago — but Cano has been educating others on the VA home loan benefit for about eight years to close information gaps.

“There’s a lot of organizations out there trying to help veterans off the streets, homelessness and everything else, but there’s not really a lot of preventative maintenance to help them be educated on how to just buy homes in the first place,” Cano said.

Cano provided a striking statistic: about 85 percent of veterans don’t utilize their VA home entitlement. Many misunderstandings result in service members being deterred from attempting to access their VA home benefit or being mistakenly denied by realtors or lenders, he said.

“What we’re trying to do, as an organization, an education piece, is disrupt that mindset and get veterans thinking about things in a different way; understanding not only how easy it is to utilize their VA home loan benefit but also be motivated to utilize it ... What we are really looking to do is hit a reset button. The way we start the presentation is essentially anything you’ve heard about the home loan, erase it and come in with a clean slate,” Cano said.

The VA Home Benefit Seminar is sponsored by Aligned Mortgage of Texas and are ongoing in Killeen, San Antonio, Hawaii, San Diego, and more recently, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Over 880 families were helped last year, organizers said.

In Killeen, the free seminars are held on the last Wednesday’s of the month at Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 3601 South W S Young Drive. The next was is this Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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