7 VA Loan Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

Serving in the armed forces is one of the most honorable experiences many men and women can have. Being in the military also comes with a lot of perks and benefits, one being a VA loan.

A VA loan is a mortgage guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued by private lenders and available only to veterans, active-duty service members, and their eligible spouses. 

Here are 3 advantages of buying through a VA loan:

  • low-interest rates and closing costs
  • $0 down payment
  • the option to forgo private mortgage insurance (PMI)

Additionally, the VA did not set a minimum credit score. However, having a stellar credit score can help you attain rock bottom variables or fixed rates. For peace of mind, be sure to get a free copy of your credit report and check for errors before applying. If you notice anything suspicious in your report, you can hire a credit repair company to help or you can remove the inaccurate items yourself.

Here are 7 VA loan tips that you need to consider if youre thinking of buying a home through a VA loan.

1. Get started without the Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

  • The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is an official document that basically attests to your right to participate in the VA Loan Guaranty program.
  • VA lenders can and often issue pre-approve loans without a COE. However, the COE is an essential step in the process and any delays or questions about the veteran’s status might delay the closing or even upend the entire process

2. Your credit score matters, but it’s not everything

  • Lenders tend to be more flexible with VA loans

3. Make sure you have enough saved

  • You are still responsible for certain closing costs (i.e. application fees, insurance, inspection fees, real estate taxes, and more)

4. Shop for a VA lender and get pre-approved

  • Look for reputable lenders that exclusively cater to military members, veterans, military spouses, and their families – compare all offers

5. Find a real estate agent that’s VA-savvy

  • Contact your VA regional loan center and ask if they can recommend a VA-savvy agent in your area.

6. Choose a property that’s VA-approved

  • Properties purchased through a VA loan cant be used as vacation homes or investment properties; condos must meet certain requirements

7. Close the deal only when you’re ready to move in

  • Interested homebuyers must complete the VA’s minimum occupancy requirement

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