Operation One Roof: Home-buying tips for veterans

Michael Schindler

Michael Schindler

One of the benefits earned by those who serve is the VA Home Loan. The VA provides a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to “help veterans buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for their own personal occupancy.”

Navigating the home buying process can be a bit overwhelming, sometimes stressful, and certainly a bit confusing if you don’t have someone guiding you through the process.

For those in the Edmonds market, there are many qualified realtors available to assist who have an understanding of the steps needed to take advantage of the VA benefit. Richard Bennett, an Edmonds resident, Marine veteran and expert agent, has assembled an A-team cast of agents across the state and country – the majority who are veterans – that are standing by to assist transitioning service members as well as veterans as they prepare to make one of the largest investments in their life. His goal is to help eliminate any of the confusion.

I recently met with Desiree Yuzawa, a mortgage consultant (NMLS ID  85375), and asked her to boil down, in her opinion, the top three “to do’s” before purchasing – after all, best to start the home-buying mission prepared.

Her suggestions:

  • Get pre-approved so you can understand your buying power based upon your individual financial profile. This will then allow you to put a realistic purchase plan in place.
  • Use your own real estate agent, also known as a buyer’s agent. If you use the agent who is listing the property they will be representing the seller, not you. Note that by having a buyer’s agent it does not cost you to hire them because the agents are paid by the seller.
  • Do not make any large credit purchases – like a car – during the process and also be mindful of any non-payroll deposits into your asset account(s). These may have to be documented.

One point to also note is that just because you are a veteran doesn’t mean you’ll automatically qualify for a VA home loan. You must have suitable credit, sufficient income and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan.

Bottom line: With only 17 Mondays left until Christmas, a new home may make for a great gift! As the VA website states, “VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with more favorable terms.” Go get the best terms available to you. Don’t let this benefit go unused. You earned it.

To learn more, visit: http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/index.asp

– By Michael Schindler

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

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