Courtney Messenheimer and Michael Stearns faced a number of hurdles when purchasing their first home, a condominium in Reading. A Marine Corps sergeant who had helped to reinforce the U.S. Embassy in Cairo during the Arab Spring, Stearns had initially hoped to use a VA loan. But because they were unmarried and were purchasing a condominium in a three-family property, they did not qualify.
That's when they learned about MassHousing's Operation Welcome Home program, which helps members of the military, veterans and Gold Star families purchase a home with no downpayment.
"It definitely helped to have a reassuring support system behind us," said Messenheimer. "We felt that David DeBonis and his team at Mortgage Financial, and MassHousing wanted this as badly for us as we wanted it for ourselves. When we were unable to obtain a VA loan, MassHousing was gracious enough to let us participate in this wonderful program. We're really overjoyed to be a part of it, and we're happy to be moved into our first home."
Operation Welcome Home combines a traditional 97% LTV MassHousing Mortgage loan with a zero-interest deferred downpayment and/or closing cost assistance loan of up to 3%. Like all MassHousing loans, the program offers affordable interest rates and no hidden fees. Loans insured by MassHousing feature MI Plus, which helps pay a borrower's mortgage in case of job loss or deployment. Operation Welcome Home is less restrictive than VA loans, for both borrowers and lenders.
"We're going to be able to offer it to more people, with more choices, and more financing arrangements than they can currently get through the traditional VA program," said Gov. Charlie Baker in announcing the program.
"Our staff had this idea to put this program together, and they would not be turned away from it, "said MassHousing Executive Director Tom Gleason. "They did it because the men and women who served in our military deserved more than what the market was providing."
I would definitely recommend this program to any veteran out there who lives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," said Stearns. "It's a great opportunity."