Personal Story: Air Force Veteran Howard Lovely, Jr. of Greeley, Colorado uses VA loans to manage a portfolio

The “Great” VA Loan Program

If ever there were a fan club for VA loans, Howard Lovely, Jr., surely would be a member.

He might even be club president.

Lovely, 51, likes VA loans so much he’s used them for his home, business and even retirement plan.

“The VA loan system is a great program if you take advantage of it and utilize it,” Lovely says.

Guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA loan offers eligible, qualified borrowers an opportunity to buy a home with no down payment, no mortgage insurance, a competitive interest rate and flexible lending guidelines.

“Jet Mech” Buys In Greeley, Colorado

Lovely purchased his home in 2007 through the VA’s Vendee Financing Program, which sells homes that are owned by the VA.

The program isn’t restricted to military veterans, but Lovely happens to be one. He served as an Air Force aircraft mechanic — a “jet mech,” he says, — from 1985 to 1991.

Today, he works part time as a mobile notary, authenticating real estate contracts and other documents.

The home Lovely bought is an 810-square-foot split-level residence with three bedrooms, one bathroom and a one-car attached garage on a 6,200-square-foot lot.

It cost $92,950, and it’s located in Greeley, Colo., about 40 miles north of Denver.

“Yes, You Can Bid On This House”

Before he bought the property, Lovely had never been to Greeley. He’d owned a home in Mt. Vernon, north of Seattle, and shared a rental home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He’d also gone through a bankruptcy, was coping with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and his credit rating was, to use his words, “in the dirt.”

“I needed for emotional health reasons to stabilize my housing,” Lovely explains. “I didn’t know anybody here. I simply moved here for the house.”

“I picked the best one that I could find in the price range that was affordable to me, I spoke to the VA, and they said, ‘Yes, you can bid on this house.'”

His disability income was no barrier.

“People had always said, ‘You can’t buy a house on disability.’ I believed that, too, until this happened,” he says.

VA Streamline Refinance With Energy Credits

Lovely now plans to use the VA streamline refinance program to use to lower his interest rate from 3.875 percent to 3.25 percent and finance a replacement furnace and new air-conditioning system for his home.

The streamline refinance, also known as the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) or VA-to-VA refi, offers easy qualifying guidelines and minimal paperwork and helps VA borrowers get a new loan with a lower rate and payment.

The loan amount can be increased by up to $6,000 for home energy-efficiency improvements. Closing costs can be added to the loan amount or offset by a slightly higher interest rate.

To qualify, borrowers must certify that they currently occupy the home or previously lived there.

This refi won’t be Lovely’s first.

Last year, he did a cash-out and used the money to buy the house next door to his. The home is 1,000 square feet and has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage.

It cost $133,000 with a $129,000 mortgage that Lovely assumed from another veteran.

“I put $3,000 in (the seller’s) pocket, and I was able to acquire that property for $5,772.85,” Lovely says. “I did the numbers for them, and they came out a little better by walking away and letting me assume it.”

Lovely estimates that the two homes together are now worth approximately $250,000. His two mortgage payments, including principal, interest, property taxes and homeowner insurance, total $1,594 per month.

As a rental property, the larger home brings in $1,175, paying for the mortgage and more.

Using VA Loans For A Retirement Plan

Lovely has no plans to sell either of the homes. In fact, he’d like to purchase a few more for his real estate investment company, Lovely Real Estate Investments, LLC.

“If I can find two more properties that are owned by veterans and they no longer want the home, I can acquire those properties via the assumption process. Or I could buy another home on my own with a VA loan, move out of this home and rent this home out,” he explains.

Why does Lovely want to own so many houses? They’re his retirement plan.

“In 20 years, I will be 71,” he says.

“These properties will be almost paid for. They will have appreciated. Whether I am capable of doing part-time work or not, the houses will be bringing in money to pay for food, medical bills and whatever.”

The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.


What a fantastic way to transition / end the current year and begin the new year of 2015…! I am damn pleased with my progress…! My nervous system is holding up fantastically and my coordination of all the different movements (right to left brain communication) and breathing is starting to flow together. My swim instructors & staff have been outstanding at helping me get to this level of swimming in such a short time…!

On a another note,…this is a very personal example of the power of self-limiting beliefs that kept me from trying to learn to swim for many decades because I was told long ago that I couldn’t do it. I even took up the charge and told myself repeatedly that I couldn’t learn to swim! I would tell anyone that asked me about my ability to swim,…”I can’t swim,…I sink like a rock”. With the right learning technique applied by very well trained instructors at least 18 – 27 years my junior,…and,…an adjusted [Can-Do] attitude on my part,…I ‘m swimming as you can see in my videos! For me this is a major achievement that has profound implications in terms of what I,…or anyone else can potentially accomplish with a little shift of belief system from a state of [I can not],…to,…[I can]. My thoughts directed my actions in either case,…and my subsequent actions got me a corresponding result in either case. Whether I believe I [can not],…or whether I believe that [I can] achieve a goal,…is clearly by this example largely dictated by my belief system. In either case I can argue for or against my limitations and be validated [right],…by my end results as [proof]. Life does really continually provide opportunities for the adult version of the childhood phrase “do-over!”. I or you can give ourselves permission to choose a “do-over” belief shift at any moment,…and get a virtual instant and different result that brings us joy and fulfillment much like my swimming has done for me. In 30 – 45 days I went from I can’t swim,…to I’ll sign-up for class,…to I’m swimming…! That’s fairly instant for a 50 year old Man who waited 42 years (15,330 days excluding leap years) to experience the joy of swimming! At this point my goal is to live to age 92 or beyond,…which will give me an unguaranteed approximate 15,330 days to choose to live a life of joy and fulfillment in whatever ways possible,…no matter what! Care to join me in the challenge?!

So,…if there is something that you desire,…a goal,…a dream,…a fantastic amorous relationship, a dream job,…etc.,…now is all you or I have. So try altering your belief about any subject matter that is important to you and check to see if your actions shift toward behaviors that produce your desired result. Look for an out-come that brings joy and fulfillment into your experience of life. Happy belief-shifting! 😉

P.S. The above mentioned concept is not new and is mentioned in many Sacred Texts & Traditions / Religions around the world dating back thousands of years.

Howard Lovely, Jr.


This side view video was taken tonight at swim class two days before the New-Year. Enjoy!