Are you a United States veteran who is looking to purchase a house? Although there are some similarities between the traditional home buying process and the VA home buying process, there are also some important differences. A veteran that is interested in beginning the process of home ownership will want to follow each of these steps.
Obtain a preapproval
Anyone looking to purchase a house within the next year will need to first, obtain a preapproval. A preapproval is similar to applying for a mortgage loan, but it does not require as much information. The preapproval process for the VA loan is generally simpler than applying for a conventional mortgage preapproval. To begin this process, you will work with a VA loan program. This is a mortgage lender that provides VA financing.
Their team will request specific documentations to gather the approval. In the case of VA loans, they will check qualifications. To qualify for a VA loan, one must have served 181 days during peacetime, 90 days during war time, or six years in the Reserves or National Guard. The spouse of a service member who was killed in the line of duty may also qualify, but could have additional financing requirements.
Contact a professional realtor
Once a preapproval is obtained, you will have a good idea of how much home you can afford. A preapproval also will clear you to begin working with a professional realtor. It may be helpful to work with a real estate agent that is familiar with the VA loan program or the specific state VA program that you live in, such as the TX loan program. The realtor will first gather information about your home needs, such as price, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, and required square footage and yard size. They may also ask you about things like garages, basements, or other home amenities.
This process will narrow down your options and you will begin viewing houses. As you view houses, take note of things you like and dislike about each one. Eventually, the houses can blend together and you can easily forget which house is which. If you are not finding anything that you like, you may need to narrow down your options. If you find something that you like, consider putting in an offer immediately, as houses are currently selling quickly.
Wait for an offer acceptance
After your professional realtor puts in an offer, you simply wait to see if it will be accepted. Many offers result in a negotiating process. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you simply start the home viewing process over again. If you are able to come to an agreement, then you submit the information and the offer to your VA loan provider. They will run your information again and if everything checks out, they will provide you with a final approval. This letter will include your VA home loan rates and any other fees that are associated with the loan.
This process differs from the conventional loan process, because the VA loan program is set up differently. VA mortgage rates are currently as much as 50 basis points lower than those available for conventional mortgage loans. Additionally, VA loans do not require mortgage insurance and allow for 100% financing. Although this part of the process will give you further information about your loan, you will not be required to come up with down payment, because of the VA loan.
If you have never purchased a home before, the process can be overwhelming and confusing. This is true whether or not you are using a VA loan for financing. The process is made simpler by first applying for a preapproval and then working with an experienced real estate professional. It is also helpful to work with a lender that is familiar with the VA loan process.