It’s no secret that VA loans come with some appealing perks. Available through the loan program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), VA loans make it possible for eligible borrowers to purchase a home with 100-percent financing and attractive interest rates. Plus, they offer relaxed credit requirements and limits on closing costs, and they don’t require private mortgage insurance. All that said, keep in mind that these loans have certain rules that must be followed if you hope to get the maximum benefit. To make the process go as quickly and smoothly as possible, review our essential VA loan tips below.
Essential VA Loan Tips
Although VA loans aren’t particularly difficult for eligible borrowers to obtain or use, this program does have its quirks. Remembering these VA loan tips can help you avoid missteps as you make the leap from aspiring homebuyer to new homeowner.
1. Review Your Credit
VA loans have relaxed credit standards, but your credit score still matters. After all, would-be borrowers have to demonstrate that they qualify for the VA loan that they’re seeking by proving that they have acceptable income and credit, and your credit score is part of that calculation. A better credit score can also help you score a better interest rate.
So before you get serious about shopping for a home, take some time to review your credit. As MilitaryBenefits.info points out, many credit reports have errors, so even if you expect your credit to be perfect, it’s smart to check it by requesting a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) before you get too far into your home search. If you find errors dragging your score down, request corrections. And if your credit needs a little work, take steps to improve it.
2. Choose Real Estate Professionals Familiar with VA Loans
Arranging for a mortgage, finding the right property, and sealing the deal inevitably involves handling a lot of details. Overlooking something could slow you down, cost you money, or sink the deal entirely. To reduce missteps and avoid unnecessary headaches, Realtor.com suggests teaming up with real estate professionals who are familiar with the VA loan program. Working with a lender who knows the ins and outs of the VA loan program is the best way to get the most out of your benefits. In the same manner, choosing a real estate agent who knows the program’s rules makes it easier to focus on properties that the VA will approve.
3. Get Preapproved
Why should home shopping begin in the lender’s office? As Investopedia reports, getting preapproved for a mortgage offers prospective homebuyers real advantages. You’ll not only get a chance to learn more about your loan options but also to unearth any potential problems with your credit history. Plus, you’ll learn how much you are eligible to borrow, which can help you pinpoint your price range when shopping for a home. Finally, being preapproved puts you in a stronger position when you make an offer on a home because it demonstrates that you can get the funding needed.
4. Keep the VA’s Requirements in Mind
To secure a VA loan, both the buyer and the property have to fulfill certain requirements. Military.com encourages buyers to learn what the rules are and keep them in mind while shopping. For example, VA loans can only be used to purchase primary residences, and the property generally must be occupied as such within 60 days. In addition, any property purchased with a VA loan must be safe, sanitary, and structurally sound; in other words, it must meet the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements. Being aware of these requirements will help you avoid homes that are unlikely to meet them.
PrimeLending: Manhattan, Kansas, takes special pride in serving those who have served our country. We understand how the VA loan program works, and we would be happy to help you get the most benefit out of your housing benefits. Whether you’re buying your first home, embarking on a Permanent Change of Station, or interested in refinancing or renovating, we can help. Contact us today to learn more.