Our Real Estate Blog
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There are a number of programs, government-sponsored and otherwise, that are designed to help aspiring homeowners find and get approved for a mortgage that works for them.
Among these are first-time homeowner loans insured by the Housing and Urban Development Department, mortgages and loans insured by the USDA designed to help people living in urban and rural areas, and VA loans, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In today’s post, I’m going to give you a basic rundown of VA loans, who is eligible for them, and how to apply for one. That way you’ll feel confident knowing you’re getting the best possible deal on your home mortgage.
What is a VA Loan?
VA loans can provide soon-to-be homeowners who have served their country with low-interest rates and no private mortgage insurance (PMI).
If you’re hoping to buy a home soon and don’t have at least a 20% down payment, you typically have to take out private mortgage insurance. This means paying an extra insurance bill on top of your monthly mortgage payments. The downside of PMI is that it never turns into equity that you can then use when you decide to move again or sell your home.
Loans that are guaranteed by the VA don’t require PMI because the bank knows your loan is a safer investment than if it wasn’t guaranteed
VA loans may also help you secure a lower interest rate, or give you some negotiating power when it comes to discussing your interest rate.
Finally, VA loans set limits on the number of closing costs you can pay in your mortgage. And, if you’ve ever bought a home before, you’ll know how quickly closing costs can add up.
Who is eligible?
There are some common misconceptions about who can apply for a VA loan? So, we’ll cover all the bases of eligibility.
If you meet one of the following criteria, you may be eligible for a VA loan:
You’ve served 90 consecutive days during wartime
You’ve served 181 days during peacetime
You’ve served six or more years in the Reserves or National Guard
Your spouse died due to their work in the military
There are some restrictions to these eligibilities. For example, your chosen lender may still have credit score minimums.
Applying for a VA Loan
There are two main steps for applying for a VA Loan. First, you’ll have to ensure your eligibility. You can do this by checking the VA’s official website. Be sure to call them with any questions you may have.
Next, you’ll need a certificate of eligibility. The easiest way to acquire one is through your chosen lender. If you haven’t chosen a lender, you can also apply online through the eBenefits portal, or by mailing in a paper application.
Once you have a certificate, you can apply for your mortgage and you’ll be on your way to buying a home.
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When it comes to adding your residence to the real estate market, it is always better to err on the side of diligence.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to become a diligent home seller, including:
1. You can price your house competitively from the get-go.
For those who want to become diligent home sellers, it is paramount to set a competitive price from the get-go. By doing so, a diligent home seller can stir up plenty of interest in his or her house and boost the chances of a quick home sale.
A diligent home seller will allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about the real estate market. As such, this home seller will have no trouble establishing a competitive price for his or her residence from day one.
In addition, a diligent home seller will examine the prices of available houses that are similar to his or her own. With this housing market data in hand, a diligent home seller can establish a price range for his or her residence.
2. You can identify home improvement opportunities.
A diligent home seller likely understands that his or her residence has various pros and cons. At the same time, this property seller recognizes home improvement opportunities.
To learn about home improvement opportunities, a diligent home seller usually will conduct a home appraisal. This appraisal enables a property inspector to evaluate a residence and provide the home seller with an in-depth report about the house's condition. Then, the home seller can use these property insights to streamline his or her home improvement efforts.
Completing a series of home improvements can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers. In fact, a diligent home seller will prioritize home improvement projects and finish assorted home interior and exterior tasks to transform an ordinary residence into a stellar one.
3. You can keep your cool in stressful negotiations with a homebuyer.
Let's face it – no home seller wants to worry about stressful negotiations with a property buyer. Fortunately, a diligent home seller will know what it takes to remain calm, cool and collected as home selling negotiations proceed.
A diligent home seller will understand the true value of his or her house. Thus, this home seller can enter negotiations with actionable data to help him or her make informed decisions.
Plus, a diligent home seller will maintain an open approach throughout negotiations. This approach will enable a home seller to listen to what a homebuyer has to say at all times. And if a home seller maintains an open approach, he or she increases the likelihood that all parties involved in negotiations will get the best possible results.
If you ever need extra assistance as you prepare to list your residence, you can always reach out to a real estate agent too.
Even a diligent home seller will collaborate with a real estate agent to get home selling guidance. That way, a diligent home seller can move one step closer to optimizing the value of his or her residence.