Hero loan helps veterans buy home

Published: May 16, 2007 | 6220th good news item since 2003

After more than nine years in the military, Scott Ziegenhorn, his wife, Janel, and their five young children are looking forward to buying their first home.

The couple has been rebuilding its credit, talking with various financiers, as well as looking over the housing market – all the while renting a small apartment.

“We figured we wouldn’t be able to afford this,” Scott Ziegenhorn said Tuesday of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom ranch-style home with a swimming pool in Roanoke.

But thanks to a new $15 million state pilot program unveiled on Tuesday, the Ziegenhorns are getting help and hope to be into that new house this summer.

The mortgage program, called the G-I Loan for Heroes, targets veterans and active military personnel, offering them the chance to secure low-interest mortgage loans and giving them help with closing costs.

For the Ziegenhorns, that’s translating into a 4.75 percent interest rate on 80 percent of the mortgage loan and an interest-free second loan on the remaining 20 percent. As for the closing costs, they’ll get a grant of up to $2,500 to pay for that.

That’s compared to about a 7 percent interest rate, said Ziegenhorn, a sergeant in the Marine Corps stationed in North Carolina.

“Hundreds of veterans a year visit our agency’s field offices to apply for a certificate of eligibility for a home loan, indicating a real demand for home ownership among veterans,” said Tammy Duckworth, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. “Our veterans and active duty service personnel deserve more options.”

Applicants must contribute $1,000 of their own money toward the down payment. Income limits vary from county to county, but in Peoria County a family of three or more cannot make more than $76,590 and the purchase price of the home can not exceed $237,000. Free home ownership counseling also is required. Loans are provided through private banks.

Published in Community
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