Are you dreaming of buying a home? Want to apply for a VA loan but want to know what to be aware of? Here are five tips for the VA loan process so you can go from overwhelmed to “Oh, that was easy.”
“She Doesn’t Even Go Here!”
As obvious as this one might sound, it’s essential to check that you qualify for the VA loan. On the whole, active-duty military members, with 2-years of active service, are approved. Still, when it comes to Veterans, National Guard members, and those in the Reserves, you will need more paperwork to prove your eligibility.
Alongside making sure you are eligible comes getting your paperwork together. As frustrating as it can be to look for all the pieces you need, like tax returns, bank statements, and W-2s, it will save you headaches in the long run. You will also need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which you can apply for on the Veterans Affairs website.
“Cash or Credit”
Although a VA loan can create a difference in accessibility in owning a home for military families, you still need a good credit score and proof you can repay the loan. An extra tip is to avoid making big purchases like cars, boats or doing anything drastic repayment-wise as you go through this process so your credit will be as stable as possible when checked.
“You think we need one more? You think we need one more. Okay, we’ll get one more.” You don’t have to stop at one regarding owning a home or VA loans. But a tip many people need to learn is that the second time you use the loan, it needs to be a home you will be living in as your primary residence. Armed Forces Bank can help you find alternative loan options to invest in a rental property or business location.
“Show me the money!”
One of the biggest benefits of a VA Loan is you are not required to place any down payment. However, is it wise to save up money for any potential settlement costs that may be part of the transaction with 3rd party companies, as well as setting up accounts for Homeowner’s Insurance and Property Taxes. Armed Forces Bank Loan Officers can provide additional advice on how a seller can pay these items for you! The more you can pay initially will help cut your costs overall and give you more bargaining power for your interest rate.
“Ah, gotta be quicker than that!”
In today’s market, houses go quickly, so when applying, think two steps ahead and get pre-approved for a loan so you know the true price range you qualify for, and should shop within. By being proactive, when the perfect house comes around, you can be ready to jump on it, knowing after inspections are approved, you won’t be holding up the process of getting loan approval while hoping they don’t take someone else’s offer first.
“Not all heroes wear capes.”
Did you know not all Mortgage Lenders are VA-approved? Take time to ask around to different lenders to compare fees, terms, and experience with working with VA loans. Taking the time to ask questions now can ensure you feel supported through the process and won’t get any undue surprises.
Armed Forces Bank is here to assist you in navigating the process of exploring VA loans and home purchases. Recognizing that every person and situation is unique, they will connect you with an expert who can guide you through the necessary steps to secure your VA loan.
This article is sponsored by Armed Forces Bank, a full-service military bank committed to serving those who served since 1907. Armed Forces Bank provides a vast array of affordable and easily accessible financial products to both active and retired military and civilian clients in all 50 states and across the world. When you’re in the military, your needs are different, and your banking should be too. That’s why no matter where you are stationed in the world, Armed Forces Bank strives to make banking solutions and financial advice convenient for you with numerous services, including online and mobile banking (Message and data rates may apply) tools that help you get what you need when you need it.
Written by Aj Smit
Aj Smit is the author of the book Red Thread: Weaving an Embodied Life of Joy, speaker, glitter enthusiast, and professional weaver of Joy. She is a military spouse in S. Korea with a pup and houseplants galore. Aj has led various Red Tents, retreats, and workshops internationally over the last ten years to help others discover how to weave creativity and curiosity into their lives. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @TheJoyWeaver and TheJoyWeaver.com