A VA loan will help people in the military buy a house or a primary residence. The rules and benefits were put in place to help people in the military because their jobs create situations that put them at a disadvantage compared to regular 9-5 workers. VA loans and their associated rules help to redress the balance and add a little more fairness into buying a house. VA loans are useful for people actively serving in the military, for a wide variety of military veterans and for surviving spouses. However, the VA loan process is long and can get pretty complicated, and experienced real estate agents can help make the whole process a lot smoother and easier.
Trusting Real Estate Agents – Really?
On that point, this isn’t about trusting your experience to an altruistic real estate agent. If you find a good real estate agent who knows all about VA loans, the process, VA requirements, timelines, properties and property appraisals, then it makes dealing with that person a little easier.
To make it a little clearer, imagine trying to get an eye test for your 8yr old son who has high-functioning autism. In such a case, you want an optician who understands the situation, the possible problems, the easy way to do things, and the most efficient solutions. You want this as opposed to somebody who acts incorrectly, hesitates, and possibly gives you bad advice.
Moving Forward More Efficiently
A real estate agent who knows nothing about VA loans (and the process) may give you bad advice, may make incorrect assumptions and may even hinder your progress toward getting a house. A good real estate agent who understands the VA loan process will do none of those things. A “Great” real estate agent will keep things moving forwards efficiently.
This means that all the work is done on the estate agent’s end. It also means the estate agent helps you get your COE (certificate of eligibility) and/or helps you find and scan your discharge papers to get the process moving. It means understanding which houses will pass appraisals, which types of VA loans to talk about, and which buildings are VA loan approved.
Can You Afford The Loan?
Hopefully, a good estate agent will judge your house choices based on your current budget and desired spending amount. They may even suggest you check out a VA Loan Calculator like WhatsMyPayment to see the upper and lower limits of what you can afford. The estate agent shouldn’t give you financial advice but may remind you that some VA loans cover the cost of the house and fixing up its heating systems. Perhaps to help remind you that a fixer-upper house is still a possible choice if it is in the right location.
If you are taking a loan for more than just the cost of the house, be sure to have rock-solid quotes for the work, along with taking advice from a knowledgeable estate agent. It can make the process a little quicker and smoother both when you plan and when you are dealing with an experienced agent.
Appraisals and VA-Approved Housing
The VA lenders are private companies, but they are governed by some very strict rules. The benefits of VA loans are supposed to redress the balance without giving you an unfair advantage. As a result, they cannot let you buy houses that are too broken down, or houses that are not likely to retain their value (like if a sewer works is being built next door). A good estate agent will not present houses that are unlikely to make it through the appraisal process.
VA-approved housing is a little different. Sometimes, there are complexes and housing estates built that were placed strategically. Sometimes, they were built to help keep the staff of a base close to where they work. As a result, there are estate agents who deal mostly with the military, and they make it very easy to buy a house in these designated areas.
The estate agents help you with this, but they also have added knowledge that may help you. For example, there may be a district or area in your town that often has VA loan military buyers. It may have a fairly high turnover rate as personnel do their military service and then move on. In these cases also, it is good to have an estate agent who knows the ropes. It makes the purchase and all the transitions a lot smoother.