Tuesday, December 23, 2014 / by Rummy Dhanoa
Few Home sellers don't want to deal with would-be buyers who plan to get a loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But those sellers could be shooting themselves in the foot.
VEts who fail to look into add-on programs offered by their states, and sometimes by their local governments, could be leaving money on the table.
The basic advantage of VA-guaranteed financing is that borrowers don't have to put any money down. The agency does not set a cap on how much can be borrowed to finance your home, but there are limits.
While there's an ample pool of former servicemen and women who easily qualify for VA financing, many sellers still believe that there's too much paperwork or that approvals are too slow.In most places, vets can borrow up to $144,000 without putting up any cash of their own. But the limit is higher in some places — sometimes much higher.
What may have been true years ago just isn't anymore. To set the record straight, here are five myths about VA loans that no longer hold water."Most home sellers have major misconceptions about veterans and active military, so they don't even try to market their homes to this large population," says Wanda Petty, president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals. "As a result, they are missing out on a huge consumer market."
Slow to close. According to the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals, VA loans close as much as two days faster than conventional mortgages. Forty-eight hours isn't much, but it could be if you are in a hurry.
Out of reach. Few neighborhoods are too expensive for VA loans.Tough to qualify. Buyers know the loan parameters upfront, so there are few, if any, surprises. And if sellers know the rules, too, the qualifying process will go that much smoother, Petty says.
Poor credit. The minimum credit score required by the VA varies by lender, but the average is 525. That compares favorably to the 600 needed for most conventional loans. Yet foreclosures on VA loans are far less frequent than on conventional mortgages.
Few buyers. There may not appear to be many military families living in your community, but they are everywhere. According to the National Association of Realtors, which is stepping up efforts to educate members about the VA home loan program, fewer than 12 percent of the 16.4 million active-duty service members and military veterans with a mortgage have a VA loan.
According to Inside Mortgage Finance, a trade publication, the VA loan program is among the fastest-growing sectors in the mortgage market. At last count, the agency owns nearly 25 percent of the primary insured-loan market, easily outpacing the Federal Housing Administration, the government's other main housing finance agency.
But if borrowers need a little bit of extra help, most states and many localities offer additional benefits over and above what Uncle Sam provides.