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Brett Dupree

A photo of Brett Dupree

Operation Welcome Home borrower Brett Dupree with Residential Mortgage Services' Elise Bare

At only 24, Brett Dupree bought his first home thanks in part to his five years as a member of the Army Reserves and MassHousing's Operation Welcome Home loan program for Veterans.

Joining the Reserves right out of high school, Brett first looked at using a VA loan to buy a New Bedford home through a short sale in lieu of foreclosure but the VA required six years of Reserve service to qualify for one of its loans.

Elise Bare, a sales manager at Residential Mortgage Services in Dartmouth, worked with Brett on other financing to bring the sale under agreement. However, the process of getting the lien holders on the property to sign off on the sale dragged on too long for Brett and he did not renew the purchase contract.

He then found another property he was interested in buying. By this time, MassHousing had announced its Operation Welcome Home program. Elise realized that although Brett would not qualify for a VA loan, the MassHousing loan was a great new option.

"When he was under agreement on the first home, the Operation Welcome Home program had not come out yet so ironically everything worked out," said Elise. "He got a better house and a better loan program."

Operation Welcome Home offers up to 100% financing for a single-family home or condominium for Veterans, active duty members of the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserve members and Gold Star families.

The program provides a first mortgage of up to 97% of the purchase price and a second, zero-percent, deferred mortgage of up to 3% to allow for 100% financing. The second mortgage does not have to be paid back until the home is sold or refinanced.

Because Brett put 2% down on the first mortgage, bringing the loan to value (LTV) down to 95% from 97%, he ended up with a smaller loan amount and a lower monthly mortgage payment as well as a lower monthly payment for his mortgage insurance. He initially planned to put 3% down on the first mortgage but holding back 1% allowed him to keep money he then used for property repairs.

"They were awesome," Brett said of RMS. "Elise was very nice and informative. I got a better interest rate and saved having to put down $6,000 toward the down payment, which is a lot of money."

Brett is a wastewater treatment operator and works at former military bases on Cape Cod testing and cleaning groundwater that became contaminated through military use.

While his new house needed some improvements, which he dove into right away, Brett said it was a great feeling to be a homeowner.

"I was very excited," he said. "It's a great investment. I'm very happy with it. When I first moved in, I got the floors done and the electrical system redone. I was doing a lot of work the first week."

Elise said Brett was an easy customer to work with and a bit of fate reminded her of his Veteran status during their efforts to purchase the second home.

"If he had not pulled out his USAA credit card while sitting at my desk I wouldn't have been reminded about his Reserve status," she recalled. "We had talked about it when doing the first loan but he did not have VA eligibility and Operation Welcome Home had not come out yet. Only when he came in for the second home did I recall that conversation of his military status but now I had Operation Welcome Home to use."

It also helped that Brett that was prepared to be a homeowner.

"He's a smart, hard-working young man and I give him a lot of credit for recognizing he wanted to own something versus paying rent," said Elise. "He saved his money and he asked all the right questions so everyone was able to guide him into his home."