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Giving veterans a break on mortgages

When Tony Dias and his wife purchased their first home in 2001, their financial lender never asked if either of them had ever served in the military. Dias had, as a communication electronics technician for the U.S. Marine Corps. He ended up with an FHA loan. It wasn’t until he entered the mortgage industry in 2003 that he learned about the benefits of VA loans for veterans.

“If I had a VA loan, I could’ve saved almost $20,000 and gotten a lower monthly payment,” says Dias. “Once I found out, I decided my mission in life was to tell people about this; to help veterans better understand the benefits of the VA loan so they don’t look back later and say, ‘I wish I had known.’”

Dias opened his own company, VA Loans Hawaii, before joining a national company, Veterans United. He began speaking to veterans and Realtors about VA loans. “In 2003, veteran loans made up about 1.87 percent of the total transactions in Honolulu. In 2010, that number rose to over 10 percent. In 2015, it went over 20 percent and it’s around 21.5 percent now,” Dias says.

After turning 50 in 2016, Dias decided to open a new loan company, Aligned Mortgage, based out of Honolulu and San Antonio, where his business partner is located. He still hosts free bi-monthly seminars for veterans to learn more, and a website (asktonydias.com) where anyone can ask questions about VA loans.

“They could be living in Hawaii or Florida, I just want to answer their questions,” says Dias. “My father served 25 years in the Marine Corps. He died at 66 at Tripler Army Medical Center in 2016 and didn’t own a piece of the country he defended. I want veterans to know.”

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