Country singer and actor Tim McGraw announced he will continue to give away mortgage-free homes to U.S. veterans, which he has done in partnership with Operation Homefront and Chase Bank since 2012. So far during McGraw’s Shotgun Rider Tour 2015, six veterans and their families have received loan-free homes.
Since 2012, McGraw, Operation Homefront and Chase have awarded more than 100 veteran families homes, without requiring them to take out a mortgage, as most homeowners must. Before McGraw’s tour ends in September, an additional 30 servicemembers will receive such homes.
Buying a home without a mortgage requires a massive amount of cash — and there are plenty of reasons other than cash flow to finance a home purchase — but getting a mortgage isn’t easy. Since the collapse of the housing market several years ago, mortgage credit has been tight, leaving many consumers with good credit unable to obtain a loan. Even with programs geared toward helping veterans and first-time homeowners, buying a house is still a big undertaking, which is part of the reason McGraw has continued his program. “[These are] people who have given us security for a lot of years, and we’re able to do that back for them in a small way,” McGraw said in a news release.
There’s a lot that goes into buying a home, not least of which is the availability and affordability of homes in your area. If you’re able to find a house you think fits your budget, whether you can buy it depends on how much of a down payment you can afford, how much outstanding debt you have, your credit history and the interest rates available to you — the difference of a few points in your credit score or home pricing could change your monthly payment by hundreds of dollars, costing you big time over the life of the loan. (You can get your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.)
For those hoping to benefit from a little luck, why not search for homeownership sweepstakes like McGraw’s or the one associated with Lady Antebellum’s 2015 tour? (These things are more common than you might think.) Sure, winning a contest is a long shot, but you can still achieve your dreams of buying a house if you work on your financial health and credit standing. It may be tricky to get a mortgage, but there are many things you can do to improve your chances, like pay down your debts, track your credit score to improve your weak spots and look into any programs you might qualify for to make the loan more manageable.
- How to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
- Why You Should Check Your Credit Before Buying a Home
- How Much House Can You Afford?
This article originally appeared on Credit.com.