GUEST BLOG By Money.com: 2021 VA Loans Guide: Tips for Veteran Homebuyers

Dedicating one’s life to serving your country is one of the most noble commitments a US citizen can make. And while this life can be dangerous, actively participating in the US armed forces can be met with numerous rewards. One way the Department of Veteran Affairs thanks its veterans and active service members is through a Veteran Administration Loan.

VA loans offer veterans interest rates and financial benefits unmatched in the market. Sure, there may be some more hoops to jump through, but Home Sweet Legal will guide you every step of the way to ensure our active military personnel and veterans receive the best legal protection available when homebuying this 2021.

What is a Veteran Administration Loan and Do You Qualify?
A VA loan is a mortgage insured by the US Department of Veteran Affairs and issued by private lenders like banks or credit unions. They can only be obtained by veterans, active-duty service members and qualified spouses.

It is estimated that less than 12% of veterans and active military personnel utilize their VA loans. A little known fact is that and possible reason for this low percentage is that any veteran, no matter their age or number of times they have qualified for a VA loan, is still eligible for a VA loan. Whether it’s been 5, 15, or 30 years since you served, you still qualify as long as you’re borrowing for your primary residence.

Condominiums are somewhat of a gray area. As condos differ from buying a multi-unit property or single-family residence, the VA has to approve the specific condo in order for a veteran or military service person to purchase a unit.

To see if you qualify, you must first obtain your DD Form 214. A qualified VA lender then requests your VA Certificate of Eligibility for you, or you can request it directly from the VA’s eBenefits website.

The more money you can put down, the faster you’ll be able to pay off your house. And it’s important to know how much house you can afford to develop a feasible working budget for you and your family.

VA Loans and Achieving Good Credit
Yet another benefit is that the VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score needed to obtain a loan. It should be mentioned that having fair to positive credit can help you attain a fixed interest rate or rock bottom variable. The three major credit bureaus now offer free access to check your credit report on a weekly basis. This offers you with a hands on approach to your credit score; providing you with insight on how positive and negative spending practices quickly affect your financial well-being.

Consistently paying bills on time and living within your means also makes you more attractive to all lenders. This will come in very handy when applying for a home equity loan to improve future home or for any emergencies that may arise.

VA Loan Tips
Here are VA Loan tips 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

2. Your credit score still matters, but it’s not everything
–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)

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

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.

How to Find the Best VA Loan
While the federal government insures all VA loans, they do not actually loan you the money for your future house. Applying for a VA loan still requires working with a bank or lending institution. And as with all government loan programs, sometimes the paperwork can be tedious. Fortunately, the team at Home Sweet Legal can guide you through this process seamlessly and make sure you are protected legally.

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