Category : Blog

VA Loans: Your Questions About VA Home Loan Requirements

One reason VA loans are popular is because their requirements are pretty straightforward. First and foremost, you need to look at the duration of your service.

You have to have been on active duty for at least 2 years. However, the rule is 6 years if you were in the National Reserve or Guard, 90 days of active duty if you were called up under U.S.C. Title 10, or 181 days of peacetime duty if you were called up under U.S.C. Title 10.

If you don’t fit into any of those categories, you may still be eligible for a VA loan. POW held in captivity for more than 90 days are eligible, as are spouses who have not remarried after his or her spouse died due to a service related injury.

Now, credit score: fortunately for VA loans, you don’t have to have the best, or even an average credit score to qualify. As long as you can provide proof that you can payback the loan at the end of every month after you factor in your living expenses (utilities, food, etc.), then you are qualified for a loan. However, that being said, VA loans require 41% or lower debt-to-income ratio. Debt includes car payments, credit card payments, student loans, alimony, or a mortgage.

Do you think you are on the edge of qualifying or want more concrete figures and estimates for your area? Don’t worry; you can contact us for more information.

Sources:
www.USMHAF.org
military.com
benefits.va.gov
www.benefits.va.gov
valoans
wikipedia.org

Your Questions About Military Housing Assistance

We know that you have a lot of questions about what a military housing assistance program can do for you, or if you are even qualified for one. So, we have answered some of the basic questions for your right here:

What is “HAP?” HAP is the Homeowners Assistance Program. It was created to help military members avoid a loss when selling their house.

How does the housings assistance program work? The Department of Defense has used $555 million from the Recovery Act funds to reimburse employees up to 90% of the price they paid for a primary residence when selling that residence in a private sale.

How do I qualify? You qualify to apply to the Pentagon’s housing assistance program if you are one of the following:
1. A military personal moving to a new base
2. A wounded service member who needs to move for treatment
3. A surviving spouse of a service member killed while deployed

Am I allowed to appeal an appraisal? Yes. However, it must be written and submitted to the executing district for review.

Is there foreclosure assistance? Yes. You will be assisted after the foreclosure and some cost may be recovered.

Do I need a good credit score? It’s always better to keep your credit score up, but there is no minimum credit score needed to receive housing assistance.

Where do I go if I have more questions? We are happy to help you out and answer more of your questions about a military housings assistance program or you can also go to hap.usace.army.mil.

We know it is all a daunting task, so please let us know what we can do to help you.

Sources:
http://hap.usace.army.mil
http://recovery.gov/news/featured/documents/HAP_Expansion_Brief_12_Nov-09[1].pdf
http://recovery.gov/news/featured/pages/HousingAssistanceForMilitaryAndTheirFamilies.aspx

Military Home Buying: What To Look For When Buy A Home

Unless you watch countless hours of HGTV, you’re not a real estate expert; even then, you are not a Military Home Buying and/or real estate expert. So, it’s normal to be nervous when starting the quest to buy a house. We want to help you calm your nerves.

First things first, look at properties in the area you want to live in.
Now look at your credit score and the type of loan you may be approved for. Do they fit together? If not, you may need to open your mind and look in other areas. If they do, then find a mortgage calculator online and do some math. What are your finances going to look like for the future?

Military Home Buying Tips

image by xliviu on flickr

Another thing to look for is expectations vs. reality. It’s a trend to buy old houses and fix them up these days; but that takes a lot of work and long-term investment of time. Be realistic and look back at projects you have taken on in the past. Will you be able to take on a whole house? Meanwhile, a fully updated and renovated house will cost a lot more on the front end than one that needs work.

You may already know a real estate agent, but if you don’t, get in contact with a few of them. Ask them questions; see if your personality will get along with their personality. Find out from your friends who have bought houses recently if they know a good one in town. It’s always better to start with who you know and then branch out.

Now, stop buying things. Yes, that’s right, stop buying anything you don’t need and put that money in your savings account. Get it up to a healthy number. It’s going to help you with your down payment and closing costs; it’ll also let you rest easy if you have extra padding in it. So, do you want your dream house? Then think long-term and don’t buy unnecessary things now.

RELATED LINKS
Military Home Buying Calculators
Military Home Buying Help

Think About An Income Property

Competition to rent is at an all time high. It seems like the average house for rent stays on Craigslist about a week or two before it’s filled. Why is that the case? People are still scared to buy a house in a weak economy, but maybe a shift in focus will change your mind.

While we understand the concern, we think that fright is irrational for most people at this point. As long as you have a clear plan in place for your house and finances, you should aim to buy a house. But, with competition for rental units so high right now, why not buy an “income property, ” i.e. a house that will bring in money.

Income Home investment

image via flickr

Income properties come in all shapes and sizes. You can buy a house with a garden level apartment or you can buy a duplex or, you can even just rent out a room in your house. It’s up to you to have the vision for properties you find in your budget.

However, there are further steps you can take to shape your vision. Check out Craigslist or Padmapper and see what rental units in your area are going for. Compare that with your mortgage and see how much an income property could help.

One thing to consider though is that you will be a landlord. That means you are responsible for keeping up the house and fixing things in your tenant’s living space when they are broken. Are you up for that challenge? If not, consider hiring a management company to take care of the dirty work.

Weigh the benefits and negatives to owning an income property and see what works best for your family. An income property could be exactly what you need.

Military Home Buying Tips

Are you thinking of getting involved in military home buying? Do you know other people who are enlisted who did? Well, if you don’t or if you are just browsing and thinking hypothetically, we have a few tips for you. There’s nothing like asking around about it on the base, but we can give you the basics from the VA.gov site:

1. Think about pre-purchase counseling. You will need to work out your emotions and thoughts during this process; therefore, we recommend you talk to someone who knows those thoughts and emotions well, and can help you rationalize them. Check with your base to make an appointment with someone who can steer you in the right direction.

2. Adaptive housing. There is such a thing and you are worth it. Talking to military home buying counselors will help you figure out what all the terms mean, as well as, what you need in a house if you have been injured. Do you need ramps? Do you need everything low? It is possible to find a house that will suite your needs, but you need to ask about it.

Military Housing

3. Get a VA loan. You are not pre-approved because you serve. Unfortunately, you still need to go through an application process to decide your eligibility and for how much. But, getting a loan through VA gives you more flexibility an options than a regular old loan directly through a bank. We recently wrote a blog about the benefits of VA Loans, make sure you read it.

4. Make a plan. Once you have done all of the grunt work, make a plan for your house. Map out your payments and your paychecks, and give us a call so that we can assist you with a closing cost grant (if you qualify). Make sure everything lines up so that you can pay on time every month. In addition, do you want to raise the value of your house? What projects can you take on to raise your house’s value?

RELATED LINKS
10 Reasons to Be Thankful You Live in America
VA Loan Calculators