Even if troops and veterans have mastered the VA-backed loan process, that doesn’t mean they know every bit of housing benefit they’ve earned from their service.

Many states offer some sort of home-buying help for those who’ve worn the uniform, though the assistance takes many forms: Lower interest rates, zero-interest loans for down payments, and other benefits. Most of these come with restrictions, eligibility requirements and other fine print that can exclude some veterans or properties.

We’ve outlined some of these programs before, and five more are listed below. The list is far from comprehensive; do your own research and consult with your Realtor to find out if another state-based program could give you a better deal, or could allow you to improve your offer in a rough real estate market.

Georgia: The Georgia Dream program offers assistance to first-time buyers, those who haven’t owned a home in three years, or those purchasing homes in certain “targeted areas.” While most applicants can receive $5,000 in down-payment assistance in the form of a zero-interest loan, active-duty service members, first responders and some other groups can get up to $7,500. This brochure (PDF) and this FAQ outline a variety of restrictions, including location-based price caps and income limits.

Florida: The Florida Housing Finance Corporation offers the Florida Military Heroes loan to service members and veterans seeking affordable housing. Loan-users may also qualify for down payment assistance or other FHFC programs that can be used concurrently with the Military Heroes program. Restrictions apply; use the program’s online wizard to determine specific rates and eligibility rules for your home’s location.

North Carolina: Not all state programs focus on buying a home — this one will help veterans keep what they’ve purchased. The NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund offers zero-interest loans up to $36,000 for up to three years to help veterans discharged after Jan. 1, 2008, meet their mortgage payment while undergoing job training to prepare for life out of uniform. Veterans who remain in their home for five years will have the loan amount reduced; those who stay put for 10 years don’t have to repay the assistance. Get details here.

Pennsylvania: The Keystone Home Loan Program offers low interest rates and fees targeted at first-time buyers, but discharged veterans can qualify for the program regardless of previous home-purchasing history. Location, price and income restrictions apply; head here for details.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

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