Ceremonies throughout Virginia will honor Veterans Day this Wednesday. They include a special program at George Washingtons Mount Vernon estate, with free admission for service members and veterans and performances by an all-veteran barbershop chorus and the Air Force String Orchestra.
But the nation has found a way to thank our veterans throughout the year with the G.I. Bill of Rights. Signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in June 1944 at the height of World War II, it is celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2009.
Its benefits include the Veterans Administration home loan guarantee: The government backs 25 percent of the mortgage, eliminating the need for down payments. With a foreclosure rate that reached 5.5 percent this year, its no wonder that this popular program has covered more than 15.3 million loans worth more than $560 billion since it began.
While the national maximum home price is $417,000, the rules were amended last year for Alexandria, Fairfax and other higher-cost areas, where the ceiling was raised to $812,500.
A charming house in Belle Haven shows how much that can buy in Alexandria. Priced at $799,000, it leaves more than $12,500 left over for all those purchases that new homeowners naturally make.
At the top of the stone pathway, mature trees surround this distinctive dwelling, with its white stone faade, peaked slate roof and mullioned bay window. The front door opens into the living room, which displays the hardwood floors that continue throughout this house except for the tiled kitchen and bathrooms. Crown molding graces the main level.
Behind the front bay window, the fireplace stands between the door leading to the front screened porch and the archway framing the rear dining room.
An elaborate traditional cut-glass chandelier enhances the dining room and will remain with the home. To the right, the kitchen includes a door to the rear yard, while the breakfast area features mullioned windows overlooking the garden.
The kitchen also provides the powder room and the door to the unfinished basement, which includes the laundry area and an entrance to the one-car garage. Three more parking spaces are available on the driveway. In addition, the kitchen adjoins the front study, which faces the living room across the stairway landing.
At the top of the stairs, the bedrooms on the left and right share a hallway bath with retro black-and-white tiles on the walls and floors. A curtain in the same colors will remain with the home. The master suite has a private bath plus an entrance to the deck, which faces a towering tree and overlooks the garden, enhancing the charm of the home.