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The loan process is enough to turn a normal person into a zombie. You may have retired from a stressful career in police work, military service, or sales at Oracle, but that has not prepared you for the mortgage mine field. Trust me. I was an attorney for 20 years, and I know what stress, bureaucracy, and B.S. are, and if you think working for Larry Ellison was a nightmare, you haven’t applied for a mortgage recently.
Keys in The Loan Process
The loan process can go smoothly, or it can suck the life out of you. Experience has taught me that the very first tip to save yourself from a mortgage nightmare is to hire a local mortgage broker. I’ve written several articles on why this is so important. A mortgage broker outside your market does not know the local real estate requirements for an underwriter, and they are so far away, they often put your file at the bottom of a huge stack. Do yourself a big favor: do not hire some national mortgage company that advertises like crazy. [Read Hire a Local Mortgage Broker]
The second tip is do not hire a new or inexperienced mortgage broker. That has turned into a nightmare for so many buyers, I cannot even count that high. An inexperienced loan officer doesn’t know what they don’t know, and at the 11th hour just before closing they will often hit you will new documentation they could have asked for weeks before, and this can kill your transaction or require a closing extension. A closing extension can create hardships for the buyer and seller in additional costs and rescheduling moving trucks (and sometimes that can’t be done without a mini-nightmare of its own), rescheduling airline tickets, and so on.
The third tip is hire an experienced, professional, and honest mortgage broker. This may sound like the last tip, but is is not the same. I cannot overemphasize this one. The best of the best in every profession always consists of a small percentage of people, and that is true in the mortgage business.
A VA loan can be a nightmare by virtue of the massive documentation and bureaucracy, but the loan process is especially a nightmare if you have an inexperienced loan officer, and the loan process gets even more problematic if your loan officer is not local. A VA loan also requires VA certified appraisers, which often means the appraiser is not local, and that can create another mini-nightmare as they often under-appraise properties. The parties are then thrown into a legal quagmire as the price must be renegotiated, or the parties must appoint a second appraiser, and all that will require a closing extension, and the parties might not agree on price. The transaction may be terminated, and it’s possible the parties will get into a dispute over who gets to keep the earnest money. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the loan process for a VA loan and many other loans.
I strongly recommend you connect with the best of the best when it comes to a Realtor, and the best of the best when it comes to selecting a mortgage broker. Save yourself the stress and nightmare by taking these tips from the school of hard knocks seriously. I am certain that the last thing you need going into retirement is a nightmare with the loan process.
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The appeal of a VA loan is primarily the low down payment. Most conventional loans today will require a 20% down payment, and you have to have 20% down in order to avoid the requirement of private mortgage insurance (PMI). Many veterans can afford the mortgage payment but are unable to save 20% in cash. On a $400,000 home, 20% would be $80,000. So the VA loan is alive and well for those who qualify.
Unfortunately, there is massive paperwork with a VA Loan. The bureaucrats and regulators have been having a heyday developing new and more regulations for a VA loan, and the qualification process has reached entirely new levels of extraordinary detail. The Purchase and Sale Agreement that is normally used in a real estate transaction will triple in size after you get done signing all the VA loan addendums and additional forms.
You will be required to join a conference call with a VA loan processor who will talk to your utility company, your Internet company, and your automobile insurance company to find out if you ever had a late payment over 30 days. Every aspect of your credit, your income, and your underwear size will be analyzed. These kinds of detailed inquiries will go on for weeks. We all understand the need to prevent fraud, but qualifying for a VA loan today will require extraordinary patience on your part.
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The Veterans Administration provides an array of opportunities for Americaâ€™s veterans and their families to achieve their dreams of home ownership.
The VA does not issue home loans. Instead, it guarantees them, which provides lenders with a significant degree of protection. In turn, prospective home buyers can obtain competitive rates and loan terms, among a host of other benefits.
The VA offers several types of loans, from home construction and home loans to energy improvement. Veterans considering a VA loan must first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), a document that certifies they meet the loan programâ€™s basic requirements.
Any military member who has served 181 days on active duty during peace time or 90 days during war time may be eligible, along with those who have served at least six years in the Reserves or National Guard. Spouses of service members killed in the line of duty may also be eligible.
Not everyone who is eligible will ultimately qualify for a loan. The VA will ultimately look at a veteranâ€™s credit and financial history, along with several other key indicators. But veterans with poor or even no credit history can obtain a VA home loan. So can those with bankruptcy or foreclosure in their past.
VA loans offer qualified veterans a host of low-cost and even no-cost benefits. Borrowers do not have to provide a down payment on their home or make monthly payments for private mortgage insurance. Interest rates are generally lower on VA loans than on conventional loans.
For active-duty members, the interest rate cannot exceed 6 percent. Many can ultimately switch to interest-only payments, guaranteeing that lenders cannot foreclose on the mortgage. These benefits end three months after the completion of active military service.
Loan values can be up to 100 percent of a homeâ€™s value. But the VA has strict VA loan limits throughout the country. The agency recently increased the loan limit in high-cost parts of the country to $729,000.
[We thank VA Loan Expert Jay Buerck for this contribution. Jay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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