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7 VA Loan Tips For Homebuyers in 2021

Saturday, May 1, 2021   /   by Martin French

7 VA Loan Tips For Homebuyers in 2021

Serving in the armed forces is one of the most honorable experiences many men and
women can have. Being in the military comes with a lot of perks and benefits. One of
the most overlooked benefits by both Veterans and service members is buying a home
through a VA loan.

A VA loan is a mortgage guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
issued by private lenders and available only to veterans, active-duty service members
and their eligible spouses.

Some of the advantages of buying a house through a VA loan are: low interest rates
and closing costs, $0 down payment, and the option to forgo private mortgage
insurance (pmi).

Additionally, the VA did not set a minimum credit score. However, having stellar credit
can help to attain rock bottom variable or fixed rates. For peace of mind, be sure to get
a free copy of your credit report and check for errors before applying. If you notice
anything suspicious in your report, you can hire a credit repair company to help or you
can remove the inaccurate items yourself.

Even though VA loans are more popular now than before, it is still different than a
traditional loan.

[Infographic] 7-va-loan-tips.jpg

Here are 7 VA loan tips that you need to consider if you’re thinking of buying a home
through a VA loan.

1. You can get started without the Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
-  A COE is issued by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and is proof that you
are eligible for the VA home loan benefit
-  Mortgage lenders can get the COE for you

2. Your credit score still matters, but it’s not everything
-  The higher your score, the better the deal
-   Lenders tend to be more flexible with VA loans

3. Make sure you have enough saved
-  You are still responsible for certain closing costs (i.e. application fees, insurance,
inspection fees, real estate taxes, and more)
-  A VA funding fee needs to be paid; fees amounts vary depending on whether you
are a first-time homebuyer and down payment given

4. Shop for a VA lender and get pre-approved
-  Look for reputable lenders that exclusively cater to military members, veterans,
military spouses, and their families - compare all offers
-  Although a fee is charged, by using a mortgage broker, you may compare rates
from as many as 100 lenders with just one credit inquiry

5. Find a real estate agent that’s VA-savvy
-  Contact your VA regional loan center and ask if they can recommend a VA-savvy
agent in your area.
-  Make sure the real estate agent you hire knows the eligibility criteria certain
properties must meet.

6. Choose a property that’s VA-approved
-  Properties purchased through a VA loan can’t be used as vacation homes or
investment properties; condos must meet certain requirements
-  Appraisals are conducted by someone chosen by the VA

7. Close the deal only when you’re ready to move in
-  Interested homebuyers must complete the VA’s minimum occupancy
-  For active-duty service members, spouses or dependents may satisfy the
requirement by moving in first.