Veteran home buyers can encounter several mistakes during the home-buying process, particularly if they’re new to it. That’s because the process of purchasing a home differs for veteran buyers compared to non-veterans.
The most notable difference is that veterans have access to unique loan products. These VA home loans come with their own qualifications, so it’s essential for veteran buyers to work with a lender and realtor who understands these requirements.
As a veteran-owned and operated real estate team, our realtors at Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - The Salas Team, take pride in assisting veteran buyers. We understand the intricacies of the home buying process for veterans. We will make sure you avoid mistakes along the way.
In this article, we will highlight the top six pitfalls that veterans often encounter when purchasing a home. By familiarizing yourself with these challenges, you can approach your home search with confidence and find the home of your dreams at the best possible price.
Not Being Familiar With VA Loan Qualifications
VA home loans come with their own qualifications that separate them from conventional loans. One of these qualifications is that you must have a Certificate of Eligibility, which serves as proof of your military service. To get your certificate, you’ll need to show that you have the minimum number of days of active duty service.
The exact number of days varies for veterans and current service members. For veterans, the minimum number of active duty service days depends on when they served. For current service members, the minimum requirement is 90 continuous days of active duty service. It’s worth noting that eligible spouses can also apply for a VA loan.
Another qualification to obtain a VA loan is that you must be purchasing the property to use as your primary residence. Additionally, the VA will require you to hire a VA-approved home appraiser to make sure the home must meet specific building codes and safety criteria.
After qualifying for a VA loan, the next step is to meet the lender’s requirements. Different lenders have their own qualifications, so it’s important to shop around and find one that offers the most favorable loan terms.
These terms include having a qualifying credit score, meeting the debt-to-income ratio, and other aspects of your financial health.
Not Looking Into Different VA Loan Options
There are several types of VA loans, though some are reserved for certain veterans. Others, you can only use for specific situations. Understanding your options when it comes to VA loans can help you make informed decisions and choose the right for your needs. Here are four types of VA loans to consider:
- Standard purchase loan: This loan can be used by veterans purchasing a primary residence. It offers numerous benefits, including no down payment requirement. It can also be used to upgrade your current home or acquire land for building a new home.
- Native American Direct Loan program: This loan program is for veterans who are Native American or married to a Native American spouse. It enables borrowers to purchase a new home on or make improvements to an existing home on tribal land.
- Interest Rate Reduction Refinance loan: This loan is for veterans seeking to refinance an existing VA-backed loan in order to secure a better interest rate. Borrowers have the option to lower their current interest rate or switch from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate loan.
- Cash-out refinance loan: With this type of loan, veterans can leverage the equity in their home and convert it into cash to finance home improvements. It can also be used to refinance a non-VA loan into a VA-backed loan.
Furthermore, it’s important to note you may be able to have multiple types of VA loans at the same time. If having more than one loan could benefit your home-buying situation, be sure to discuss the available options with your lender.
Not Budgeting For Home Buying Costs
VA home loans can offer substantial savings when buying a home. However, it’s important to budget properly for other expenses associated with the home-buying process. These expenses include closing costs, appraisal fees, home inspection fees, and VA funding fees.
The VA funding fee is a fee charged to support the VA loan program for other veterans, and it’s typically included added to your mortgage payments each month. It can only be waived if specific disability criteria are met.
By understanding all the costs associated with buying a home, you can create a comprehensive budget and avoid any unexpected financial surprises along the way.
Not Exploring Additional Benefits From Your Lender
A frequent oversight among veteran home buyers is failing to ask their lender if they offer any benefits for veterans. In addition to the advantages that come with VA home loans, individual lenders may offer their own benefits.
For example, waiving the fees associated with loan origination or property appraisal, or lower financial qualifications. These lender benefits are usually contingent upon meeting certain criteria.
During your search for the right lender, it is crucial to communicate your veteran status and explicitly ask about any benefits they provide for veterans. It is recommended to interview at least three to five different lenders and compare their loan terms and benefits before hiring one.
Not Working With an Experienced Realtor
One common mistake that veteran home buyers often make is assuming they can work with the first realtor they meet. But when you’re using a VA home loan, it’s crucial to work with a realtor who’s experienced helping veterans.
Using a VA home loan makes the home-buying process slightly different compared to the experience of regular buyers. Therefore, it is crucial to collaborate with a realtor who has the expertise in navigating the intricacies of VA home loans.
An experienced realtor should be well-versed in VA loan products, the application process, and the specific requirements involved. Additionally, they understand that veteran home buyers often face tight move-in timelines and may need to sell their homes quickly in the future.
Choosing Not to Have a Home Inspection
VA appraisals are somewhat similar to conventional home appraisals, in that they assess the value of a property. However, they also ensure that the home meets basic health and safety standards established by the VA. However, it is important to note that a VA appraisal should not serve as a substitute for a separate home inspection.
While VA appraisals are mandatory, home inspections are technically optional. This might lead some veteran home buyers to believe that they can skip the home inspection altogether.
But a VA appraisal does not provide the same level of thorough inspection that a professional home inspection offers. The appraiser does not assess the plumbing, electrical, or HVAC systems, and they do not check the condition of the attic or crawlspace.
Home inspections play a vital role in understanding the overall condition of the home’s structure and systems. They provide a comprehensive assessment that helps identify any necessary repairs or maintenance that may be needed.
Our Team Helps Veteran Home Buyers in Killeen, TX
If you’re searching for a home in Killeen, Texas, look no further than our team at Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - The Salas Team. As one of the top-rated realtors in Texas hill country, we take pride in being a veteran-owned and operated business.
Our first-hand experience with veterans gives us a deep understanding of the VA home loan process, so we can guide you through every step along the way. We can also recommend the best VA-friendly lenders to suit your needs.
Having assisted numerous veterans in finding their dream homes, we are confident in our ability to do the same for you. Our commitment to your satisfaction is proven by our unique buyer guarantees, which ensure a risk-free and stress-free home-buying experience. This includes our Buyer Cancellation Guarantee, which gives you the freedom to cancel your buyer’s agreement with us at any time before making an offer on a home.
To discover more about our guarantees or to learn about the exceptional service provided by our team, give us a call at 855-331-7653. Alternatively, you can fill out the form on this page to receive additional information. We look forward to assisting you on your journey to finding the perfect home.