VA Home Loans – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Over the last many years, millions of vets have used the zero-down, government-backed VA Home Loan program to get into homes and other types of properties. During this same time, a lot of wrong ideas have popped up about what the program can do and cannot do, along with misinformation about who is eligible and who is not. Here are a handful of the most common wrong ideas, followed by the right facts.

Wrong: It takes a long time to close a VA home loan.

Right: If you work with a lender that specializes in VA home loans, your closing can happen within 30 days, more often than not. When you work with a VA-approved lender, that lender has special flexibility to decide if you are a satisfactory credit risk.

Wrong: Overseas military members can’t get loans.

Right:  By using a Power of Attorney, members stationed overseas can designate a spouse (or someone else) to handle VA loan transactions on their behalf. This person (known as the attorney in fact) can sign for the service member, but the service member must first send correspondence giving “intent” to that particular person.

va-home-loansIt should be noted that only a spouse will be able to satisfy the occupancy rule, which states that the home must be occupied within 60 days of closing. This means that girlfriends, boyfriends, moms and dads, do not qualify for meeting this rule.

However, if the service member borrower is serving away from where the home is located, he or she may request a 12 month extension before being required to occupy the home.

Wrong: You cannot use VA loans for foreclosed or short-sales.

Right: Qualifying vets can buy foreclosed or short-sale homes, often with no money down. This gives vets a certain advantage over non-VA borrower’s who normally need at least 20 percent in cash in order to qualify for conventional loans. Look for a VA appraiser to certify value and find problems with any distressed property before committing.

Wrong: All real estate professionals are experts with VA home loans.

Right: First, there is no such thing as a VA certification for real estate agents. This means that you should not depend solely on an agent’s knowledge or advice. In some cases, it benefits an agent to talk you out of a VA loan. Your better course of action is to first read about your VA home loan benefits yourself so you know the facts, and then find a lender who works with VA loans and knows the facts. You can often find these lenders by searching for “VA Approved Lenders” online. You will find many benefits working with a VA approved lender that you will not find working with conventional lenders.

Wrong: Surviving spouses cannot get VA home loans.

Right: This one is simple: If you have a qualified surviving spouse, he or she may apply to borrow up to $417,000 (more in high-cost counties) with no money down.  In addition, surviving spouses do not have to pay the VA funding fee.

Know your VA rights. Go to the VA website and find out all about your benefits under the various Veteran’s Affair’s programs. You may be surprised at what you don’t know.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Robert Partain

Robert Partain

Robert Partain has been a professional writer for over 25 years. He spent ten years on active duty in the Army working as a medic and training NCO. While he covers any topic associated with military life, he specializes in writing about legislation that can affect active duty service members and veterans. Robert currently lives in the small town of Arab, Alabama.
Robert Partain
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