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Homeownership a new reality for Idaho veteran


Tom is a 66-year-old Vietnam War veteran, who always dreamed of owning a home. “You never quite feel at home if you don’t own it,” he says. Tom’s dream of homeownership eventually become a reality this past year after qualifying for a home loan through Idaho Housing and Finance Association.

Growing up, Tom put his country first when he enlisted in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. After three years of combat, he left the military and ended up moving from state-to-state until he eventually found his way to Idaho.

Once in the Gem State, Tom says he had a “little help in the rental area.” One of his good friends owned about a dozen rental houses and he spent years living in them and helping to fix them up so they could be sold. Rathdrum was where Tom’s lifelong dream of homeownership would eventually become a reality, but not before a struggle to secure a home loan. “It was a dream for a long time, but eventually I just gave up. I had hit a wall too many times,” Tom said. “Houses were getting so expensive, and I didn’t have twenty or thirty thousand dollars to put down on a house.”

Making homeownership dream a reality

While helping a friend move, he was put in touch with Valerie Cheyne at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Although Tom was familiar with the housing industry, he had never actually been through the home buying process. He signed up for IHFA’s Finally Home! First-Time Homebuyer Education program. The program consists of both online and statewide in-person classes that teach first-time buyers about the home buying process to help them reach their end goal of homeownership.

“I simply didn’t know anything about the process,” Tom said. “The instructors were very good, very qualified people. By the time I left, I didn’t have any questions. I highly recommend that everybody take homebuyer education.”

Tom’s next step was qualifying for a home loan. Valerie was able to get Tom approved for an IHFA VA home loan. The low-interest VA home loan not only made buying his first house possible, but also affordable. IHFA’s VA home loans are 100% finance and require $0 down, which significantly reduces all upfront costs for the homebuyer.

“I told them to do it and they worked their magic and it happened,” said Tom. Today, this veteran no longer has to move around the country – he’s planted his roots in the Gem State and couldn’t be happier.