Top Homebuying Tips for Military Families and Veterans

If you or a family member serves in the military, buying a home can bring a lot of opportunities to use the benefits that you have earned. It also is an important...

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Top Homebuying Tips for Military Families and Veterans

Posted by Eric Blackwell on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 at 8:42am.

If you or a family member serves in the military, buying a home can bring a lot of opportunities to use the benefits that you have earned. It also is an important time to make sure you get the most out of those benefits. Here a few tips that will help you maximize what you have earned.

VA Home Loan Program and Benefits.

Learn and Understand about VA home loans, its benefits and times when there are better options.

While the VA home loan program is often the benefit most people hear about, and it does provide some significant benefits, it helps some more than others. The first tips is to make sure that you understand how the program works and work with a mortgage professional who really understands the details and can help you through it. Your TREG real estate associate can help you find qualified mortgage professionals to assist you.

The benefits: VA loans require a $0, credit requirements are more flexible than many traditional loans, and do not require PMI (private mortgage insurance). Additionally, as of January 1, 2020, the caps on the size of VA loans that are offered have been removed.

The costs: There is a funding fee of 2.3 percent of the loan (currently for 2020)  that can either be paid up front or rolled into the loan. (Note: the cost goes up to 3.6 percent for the second time that you use the program and thereafter.

So because there are a number of variables to consider when deciding whether to use VA financing vs FHA financing vs Conventional financing, the best bet is to find qualified and experienced mortgage professionals that will help you get the right loan options for you.  

Be Aware of Other Benefits for Those Serving in the Military

Whether you are active duty or a veteran, there are a wide variety of other programs available to you. The key is to be able to access them and to see which will best build an overall package to provide you a great deal on your home.

One of the first places to check for veterans is the VA’s National Resource Directory. This provides location specific guidance to local programs, so you will want to have selected where you want to live so it can get the right information.

Be Credit Smart

While the credit requirements for a VA loan are looser than for an FHA or Conventional loan, being credit smart can save you money. It is always a good idea to know your credit score and if needed to build your creditworthiness. There are many good resources to help with this. Your TREG real estate associate can be a help here and can direct you to resources online to build your credit.

Another part of being credit smart is to avoid doing things that might damage your credit or would make the home buying process slow down. Avoid things like big purchases, taking on other debt, changing jobs, and other financial changes that will have to make lenders either reverify the information you have given them or which could alter their lending decision.

Be Aware of Closing Costs

One of the things that many people are surprised by when they buy a home are the closing costs. One of the best benefits of a VA loan is that the government does not all veterans to pay many of these fees that are common in a conventional mortgage.

Examples of these non-allowable costs can include document fees, underwriting fees, escrow or settlement fees, etc. With VA loans, the lender can charge a 1 percent origination fee, but is limited to that.  

Fees that you might need to pay for might be a credit report, appraisal, title insurance, recording fees or surveys. That said, the key to understanding which fees can and cannot be charged and how to get the best deal are to start a conversation with one of our real estate professionals who can help you find the best resources.

Speaking of that….

Finding a Real Estate Agent with VA Program Experience

The best tip for getting a great deal on a new home, finding the best mortgage and an overall outstanding experience as a veteran is to work with REALTORS who understand the options and programs available to veterans.

There is no substitute for working with someone who understands the process inside and out and benefiting from their expert guidance. They will be not only able to help you reduce costs, they will also help reduce stress and work to make the home buying process as streamlined and straight forward as possible. Call us today and one of our experienced VA program specialists will be happy to assist you. 

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