by Freddy Groves
A VA-backed home mortgage is currently in the neighborhood of 5.5 percent for a 30-year loan, and a refi is approximately 6.63 percent.
Unless you qualify as a Native American or are married to a Native American. Then, starting in March and for the next 24 months, a home loan can be had with a mortgage interest rate of 2.5 percent through the Native American Direct Loan program (NADL). The loan can be to either buy, build, or improve a home.
The fine print has important details, of course. Native American includes Native Americans, native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders under the Native American Programs Act of 1974, which includes American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, and Guam.
The home must be on federal trust land, and the tribe must have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the federal government.
On an individual level, you’ll need the typical COE, a certificate of eligibility. You can get an application at www.va.gov Look for VA Form 26-1880. For information, you can call the VA at 877.827.3702.
To qualify for a VA home loan, you’ll need a decent FICO score, the higher the better. Somewhere between 580 and 640 should be enough, depending on the de-mands of individual lenders. You’ll have a good debt-to-income ratio.
You’ll also need to meet the minimum service requirements. Different time periods require different lengths of service, ranging from 90 to 181 days to 24 months.
You won’t need to make a down payment or pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), although you might be required to pay the funding fee. (Sometimes you can roll this into the loan amount and not pay it out of pocket.)
If you have an existing NADL and the interest rate is 3.5 percent or more, you’ll be able to refinance at the new 2.5 percent rate.
For info about the NADL, call 888.349.7541. You can also go online to www.benefits.va.gov and search for Native American Direct Loan (NADL).
Write to Freddy Groves in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org