As the nation continues to see rising home prices, low inventory and frantic buyers, the military community is feeling it all right along with the general public. With all of this in mind, it was important to sit down and have an honest conversation with a VA Home Loan lender and someone with ties to the military community working in the housing industry.
Michelle Crumley is Caliber Home Loans’ Military Client & Community Liaison and Valery LaPlant an Executive Assistant with MilHousing Network. It was important to both of them to dig into all of the issues, worries and things military families need to know during this challenging homebuying season.
Crumley started with highlighting how things were for the typical VA Home Loan buyer prior to the market explosion we’ve seen over the past six months. “You could find the home you wanted, get approved with your lender and close within five to six weeks. That is from wanting to buy a house to here are the keys,” she explained. “Now, it might take you six weeks just to find a home and get an offer accepted. I have a client who is on their 28th offer.”
It’s a reality for most home buyers in the current housing market but made even more difficult for the typical military family seeking a home. With the majority utilizing VA Home Loans, their offers are often skipped over or rejected for buyers offering cash payments well over the home value to get the deal.
“It’s a huge decision and if you truly know this is something you want to do, be prepared because it’s not going to happen overnight or be magic,” LaPlant explained.
Both advised military families to begin their search at least six months before their scheduled departure or PCS date. Having preapproval and lender commitment in hand before you make an offer was also encouraged as it eliminates time that many families are already short on.
“When the offer is finally accepted and you are under contract you can typically close within 30-45 days with minimal stress,” Crumley said.
She acknowledged that having that window of time for closing is the ideal situation, but not always the norm especially for military families. But this is where planning ahead an beginning the home search early can weigh in your favor, Crumley explained.
“Sometimes we don’t know for sure where we are going yet, or have orders in hand until three months out,” LaPlant added. “But if you know you plan to buy regardless of where you are going, that preapproval can save a lot of time and stress.”
Crumley agreed, adding that although it may feel like overkill to start so early in the end it will save a lot of time, headaches and frustration. With military families already facing challenges, minimizing the home buying process stress is a win for everyone.
Recognizing that some things like the actual home search or inspections could take longer will help prepare military families as they begin the home buying process. The advice from both is clear in that starting early and ensuring that preapproval and credit is ready can make all the difference in the world in terms of offers being more readily acceptable.
Written by: Jessica Manfre
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