Housing options limited for veterans
Finding housing can be challenging, and for some veterans they're finding it's especially hard to find homes using their benefits.
You wouldn't know the difference between that and a regular subdivision when you drive through, said Christine Stalsonburg, Cherry Wings Realty Broker.
Site condos look just like homes you'd see in a typical subdivision, but guidelines set by each homeowners association are stopping veterans from getting special Veteran Affairs mortgage loans to buy a home like this.
The bylaws weren't written to discriminate against them. That wasn't the intent at all. They were written with a good intention of being able to protect the other property owners from the developer coming in buying up 20 lots, said Randy Brown, Versatile Mortgage Broker.
In 2008 the Federal Housing Administration changed how they look at the site condos in terms of lending guidelines, but Veteran Affairs did not follow suit.
It becomes a huge challenge for our veterans that want to purchase those homes, said Stalsonburg. We found one common issue in the bylaws for most every site condominium project out there the homeowner is not allowed to rent their property out short term.
This means when veterans are looking for this type of housing, mortgage requests are often denied. This is forcing veterans to look at other housing options.
The housing is not available on a rental basis. So try to find something you can rent for a thousand dollars a month with a family of four, it's impossible in Traverse City, said Brown.
Stalsonburg has been looking into the issue for the past few years and says although the change would take time, it's a simple fix. She hopes it can be resolved so veterans can buy the house of their choice.
It does take a legislative act to change this in the V.A. system, said Stalsonburg.
Stalsonburg says Representative Dan Benishek and Senator Carl Levin are well aware of the issue, as she's been in contact with their offices trying to get their support to change these bylaws.