Nicholas Desantis' Blog
We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who don’t have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.
Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.
So, in today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not it’s a good financing option for you and your family.
VA Loans FAQ
Who is eligible for a VA Loan?
VA loans aren’t just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.
How long do you have to service to be eligible?
The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.
Who are VA Loans offered by?
Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.
Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?
If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.
Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?
Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.
Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?
Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.
What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?
The VA doesn’t have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.
If you recently submitted an offer on a house and received a "Yes" from the seller, you likely will need to schedule a home inspection in the next few days or weeks. Ultimately, an inspection can make or break a house sale, so you'll want to plan for this evaluation accordingly.
Fortunately, there are several steps that a homebuyer can follow to plan for an inspection, and these are:
1. Find an Expert Home Inspector
All home inspectors are not created equal. And if you make a poor selection, you risk missing out on potential home problems that could prove to be costly and time-intensive down the line.
Before you schedule a home inspection, evaluate the home inspectors in your area. That way, you can find an expert home inspector who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assess a residence.
Reach out to a variety of home inspectors and ask for client referrals. Then, you can contact home inspectors' past clients to better understand whether a home inspector can match or exceed your expectations.
Furthermore, a real estate agent can help you find a qualified home inspector. In addition to helping you buy a home, this housing market professional can put you in touch with top-rated home inspectors in your city or town.
2. Make a Home Inspection Checklist
When it comes to preparing for a home inspection, it usually pays to be diligent. Thus, you'll want to put together a checklist beforehand to ensure that you know exactly which areas of a house that you want to examine.
A home inspection checklist may emphasize looking at a house's roof, heating and cooling system and much more. Also, it may be worthwhile to include questions to ask a home inspector in your checklist. This will ensure that you can receive comprehensive support from a home inspector throughout your house evaluation.
3. Consider the Best- and Worst-Case Home Inspection Scenarios
Although you'd like to believe that a home that you want to buy is in perfect or near-perfect condition, an inspection may reveal a wide range of problems. However, if you prepare for the best- and worst-case home inspection situations, you can increase the likelihood of staying calm, cool and collected in even the most stressful post-home inspection scenario.
If a home inspection reveals that there are no major issues with a house, you're likely good to go with your home purchase. Next, a home appraisal may need to be completed, and you'll be on your way to finalizing your transaction.
Conversely, if various problems are discovered during a home inspection, you may need to reconsider your home purchase. In this scenario, you may want to ask a seller to perform home repairs or request a price reduction. Or, you can always walk away from a home purchase as well.
If you need extra help preparing for a home inspection, you can always reach out to a real estate agent too. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the assistance that you need to conduct a successful home inspection.
Buying a townhome or selling a property is a delicate process you should undertake with the utmost care possible. Selling a house you have lived for many years is a hard thing to do. So is trying to buy a property about which you are not sure. You don't know what went wrong with the former owners or why the property is listed. Therefore, you should be careful to find professional help.
If home buying or selling is possible, you require a knowledgeable real estate agent. You should be sure the agent is one that can help you. To ensure you get the best out of the agent representing you, there a few questions you should ask. Their response will let you know what to do.
- Can I contact your most recent clients? When you ask real estate agents to let you speak with past clients, they know you want to test their credibility. If they grumble or reluctantly give you the contacts, they might not be the best people to represent you. Even if they give you the contacts willingly, go ahead and reach out to the clients, relate with them and find out how the agent treated them. You can be sure they will let you know what to avoid in dealing with the client.
- How long have they been a professional real estate agent? Another thing you should find is how long your agent has been helping people sell or buy property. Their answer to the question will let you know if they have the experience to help you or not. However, note that even the most experienced real estate agents were once inexperienced.
- How long will it take to find my home or sell my property? Ensure you get a definite answer or at least a reasonable time frame from the agent. That way you will know if the agent is worth your time or you should look for another agent to help you.
- Transparency is a virtue, ensure your agent has it.
- Can you see other listings they have? You should also learn if the agent has other listings so you can see how they market homes and how long they take to sell. Always go with a real estate professional for best results.
Anyone can buy a home – all it takes is hard work and diligence to evaluate your home financing options. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the process of finding the financing that you'll need to pay for a residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine how you will afford a house.
1. Take a Look at Your Current Financial Situation
Put together a monthly budget that outlines your current spending patterns. This will enable you to review how much you earn, what you're paying for housing and other pertinent financial information.
After an in-depth review of your current financial situation, you'll be better equipped than ever before to determine how much you can pay for a house. Then, you can create a homebuying budget to help you move closer to acquiring your dream residence.
2. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report
In all likelihood, a lender will receive your credit score to determine whether you are a viable candidate for a mortgage. If you request a copy of your credit report today, you can learn about your credit score and take steps to improve it before you apply for a mortgage.
The three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) provide one free copy of a credit report annually. If you submit a request for your credit report, you can gain unprecedented credit insights in no time at all.
Furthermore, if you find errors on a credit report, don't hesitate to contact the reporting bureau. This will enable you to fix any credit report mistakes prior to applying for a mortgage.
3. Reach Out to Local Lenders
Banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you and discuss a variety of mortgage options. These lenders are available in cities and towns nationwide and can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.
Ultimately, lenders can explain the home financing process and ensure you can avoid any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have mortgage concerns or questions, lenders are available to respond to them at any time.
If you need extra help prior to kicking off a home search, you may want to contact a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house and can help you plan accordingly.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then can ensure you won't have to break your budget to afford a terrific residence.
If you want to buy a home but have limited finances at your disposal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. Or, if you are searching for a mortgage but don't know where to begin, a real estate agent can put you in touch with top lenders.
Work with a real estate agent, and you can improve your chances of acquiring a first-rate house at an affordable price.
For homebuyers who want to do everything possible to discover their dream residences, it generally is a good idea to attend open houses. These events make it simple to analyze residences and determine whether they match or surpass your expectations.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to attend an open house, and these include:
1. You can get a first-hand look at a home.
A home listing often provides a great starting point for homebuyers. However, a listing alone fails to empower buyers with the information that they need to fully analyze a house.
By attending an open house, you can get an up-close look at a residence. An open house allows you to walk around a home and view each section of a residence at your convenience. Plus, an open house usually is stress-free, and if you don't like a residence after the event, you can simply continue your search for your dream home.
2. You can receive comprehensive home insights.
During an open house, you can gain home insights that you may struggle to obtain in a home listing. Therefore, homebuyers may want to prepare a list of questions before they attend an open house to ensure they can obtain deep insights into a home's condition.
Moreover, an open house may help you determine whether there is substantial or minimal interest in a residence. If an open house is attended by dozens of potential buyers, you may need to act quickly to submit an offer to secure this residence. Comparatively, if you are the only person to attend an open house, you may be better equipped than ever before to negotiate a home's price with a seller.
3. You can envision what life might be like if you purchase a residence.
When it comes to deciding whether a home is right for you, attending an open house is paramount. In fact, an open house enables you to envision what life may be like if you purchase a residence. And if you feel comfortable with a home after you attend an open house, you can always submit an offer to help transform your homeownership dream into a reality.
If you plan to attend open houses in the foreseeable future, there is no reason to attend these events alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you prepare for open houses and ensure you can discover your dream residence.
A real estate agent is a housing market expert who can teach you everything you need to know about buying a home. This housing market professional first will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. Then, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open houses, offer homebuying insights and do everything possible to help you find a home that you can enjoy for years to come.
Reach out to a real estate agent today. By doing so, you can start attending open houses and boost the likelihood of a successful homebuying experience.