Utah is proud to have a strong military, veteran, and retiree presence in its communities. 

    That’s why Wasatch Peaks Credit Union is honored to offer VA loans to eligible members. We’ve created a guide to help military buyers use their VA and military benefits to buy a house. We’ll also explain the difference between VA, FHA, and conventional home loans, as well as offer helpful tips on using homebuyer assistance programs.


    Most people think of Veterans Administration (VA) loans as the primary benefit available to veterans and active duty service members to buy homes. However, the benefits don’t stop there! State and federal benefits and assistance are available to help military personnel and military families become homeowners.

    Here are some brief explanations of each.

    Utah VA Loans

    VA loans are granted by private lenders and are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. In order to take out a VA mortgage, you will need to find a lender in your state who is licensed to issue them.

    The benefits of a VA home loan include:

    • No down payment required or mortgage insurance premiums (PMI)
    • No prepayment penalties and low closing costs
    • Lower interest rates than conventional home loans
    • No set minimum credit score required

    Please note that while VA borrowers in Utah are not subject to VA loan limits, they are still subject to Utah loan limits, or how much they can borrow without needing a down payment. 

    Learn more and find out about eligibility for veterans, active duty, National Guard and Reserve, and surviving spouses in Utah here.

    Utah Veterans First Time Home Buyers Grant

    There is additional help available to eligible service members, veterans, and spouses who are interested in buying a house with military benefits.

    Eligible veterans who have separated from military service in the past five years and service members (active duty, National Guard, and Reserve) may apply for a grant of up to $2,500 toward purchasing their first home. Find out more here.

    Military Housing Allowance

    Let’s not forget about the military housing allowance for active-duty members stationed at Hill Air Force Base! 

    The Department of Defense adjusts the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for service members based on housing costs where they are stationed so that you can afford to live in the area where you’re stationed.

    When shopping for homes, make sure your monthly mortgage payments will be under BAH so that you can afford utilities and other expenses. If you live on base, however, while your utilities are usually covered, all of your BAH goes toward rent.

    Find out more about BAH here.


    You may be wondering how a VA loan is different from other types of mortgages. Here are a couple of other common home loan options to compare to the VA loan features mentioned above. 

    FHA Loans

    Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans are backed by the FHA. Like a VA loan, an FHA loan offers low closing costs. Unlike VA loans, however, they do require down payments. Fortunately, those down payments tend to be low, as little as 3.5% of the overall purchase price.

    Find out more about FHA loans here.

    Conventional Mortgage

    VA and FHA loans are guaranteed by the government. Conventional loans, however, are not.  They are offered by most lenders and can come with more flexibility than a loan that’s guaranteed by the government.

    For example, you can use a conventional home loan for a wider variety of properties, whereas most loans backed by federal agencies tend to have requirements about the type of home you can buy. 

    Learn more about conventional home loans here.


    Military life comes with enough unknowns. Buying a home shouldn’t be one of them. 

    If you’re a veteran, service member, or surviving spouse of a deceased service member, you have options available to you that can take some of the stress off of purchasing a home.

    Wasatch Peaks is proud to offer our members who have served or are serving in the military a way to make affordable homeownership a reality. You’ve done so much for our country, so it’s our privilege to do something for you.

    What’s more, no matter what type of loan you get, when you get preapproved for your mortgage, you can house hunt with confidence. You’ll know the amount you’re qualified for, which means lenders will sincerely work with you to find something in your price range.

    Interested in finding out more about mortgage pre-approval? 

    Why You Should Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval

    Wasatch Peaks

    Written by Wasatch Peaks