You’ve served your country, and now you’re looking for a little place in the country to call your own. If the process looks daunting, don’t worry. As an armed services veteran, there are special resources available to you in your search.
Here are 4 things to keep in mind as you shop for a place for you and your family.
1. You’ll need a budget
“What lenders are looking for is stability. When you’re sitting down to prepare for a home purchase, it’s important to consider your timeline and set some goals,” says Kate Shulaw with Real Living CCR in Lima, Ohio.
You’ll need at least a 5 percent down payment for a conventional home loan, though some loan types require less – including no down payment for VA loans.
You’ll also need to sock away some earnest money, or a deposit that’s sent along with a purchase offer. Homes need to be appraised and should be inspected before closing.
You’ll also be expected to pay some closing costs on the property – these can range from attorney’s fees to credit reports. Many times buyers can negotiate for the seller of the property pick up the tab for these costs.
“No matter what kind of property you’re looking at, lenders want to make sure that you’re paying your bills on time and living within your means,” Shulaw says.
2. You have loan options
The Veterans Administration oversees a special VA Home Loan program. Loans under these programs are offered by private lenders like banks or mortgage companies – not the government. The VA guarantees a portion of the loan, which frees your lending institution up to offer better terms for the loan.
Some of these terms include not needing a down payment or private mortgage insurance, strict limits on the amounts you can charged for closing costs, and even assistance if you run into trouble making your payments. This program is open to all veterans, so even if you already own a home you can use a VA loan for your next purchase.
Veterans aren’t required to use a VA loan, so shop around. An FHA loan or conventional mortgage loan might work better for your situation, so check with your lender.
3. It’s best to have a military-friendly real estate agent
Having a real estate agent who understands the unique needs of service members and veterans will big a huge help as your approach one of the most important financial decisions of your life.
“Our agents understand the unique requirements of the VA loan program, and they want to give back to those heroes who’ve given so much for our country,” Shulaw says.
An agent experienced in working with veterans can navigate some of special requirements of a VA loan, such as minimum property requirements and special appraisal needs. They also have the knowledge and insight to help you find the right home for your specific needs.
4. Most everything is negotiable
After all the work of getting your finances ready, shopping for a home should be the fun part! But there are a couple of things to keep in mind if you’re using a VA of FHA loan. The home will need to be in a move-in ready condition, and the VA has guidelines on the types of properties for which they’ll back loans.
“It’s important to shop around,” Shulaw says. “Have your agent show you many different options in the area. If your first choice falls through, you won’t be starting from square one.”
The final step of the process – closing – has costs of its own. Don’t forget, though, that you can often negotiate these, and that VA loans will also limit the amount that you’ll have to pay.
If you’re a veteran looking to purchase a home, the agents of Real Living CCR can guide you through your search every step of the way. With offices in Lima, Indian Lake and Wapakoneta, Real Living CCR is ready to work for you through every step of your real estate process in order to make it a memorable experience.
For more information, visit them online at RealLiving.com/CCR-Realtors or call 419-222-0555.