VA Home Loan Dos and Don’ts
VA loans can be used for a variety of different real estate purchase options. A VA loan applicant can apply for a typical suburban home, but one of the big “Don’ts” of VA home loans is assuming that you’re limited to such traditional options. VA loans for condos, town homes, mobile homes and even farm homes are possible under the right conditions.
Some of the big “Do” items for first time home buyers considering buying a home with their VA home loan benefits include taking a look at all the options they might be considering, whether it’s a unit in an approved condominium project, purchasing a fixer-upper home or buying a new construction property. To have the most success with your VA home loan experience, it’s best to consider the following “do” list:
–DO start planning for a VA home loan at least 12 months in advance. This advice is usually given for people with credit and budgetary issues in mind, but it may also take you longer than you realize to decide what type of real estate is right for you once you know what all your options might be.
–DO consider your home purchase as a long-term investment, taking into account how your future plans could be affected by marriage, children, military job changes, and other variables. The small two-bedroom home you consider today could be too small in five years under the right circumstances. Consider a home that you can grow into, not out of.
–DO treat your VA home loan application process as a major investment and take advantage of first-time home buyers counseling, the advice of real estate experts and other industry professionals.
–DO examine your long-term career options and pay prospects when looking at the type of VA home loan you’re interested in. Some loans may be more appropriate for earners who can see predictable career moves, pay raises and other factors that affect the ability to pay a variable rate mortgage, graduated payment loan or other types of real estate loan products.
When considering your first VA home loan, remember some important items on the “Don’t” list, too:
Don’t waste time considering the purchase of “unimproved land” with no specific plans to build a home or place a manufactured home on the property. VA regulations don’t allow the purchase of land alone with no intent to put a home there on a specific date. (It’s true that, in the current housing market climate at the time of this writing, many lenders have opted not to offer construction loans, but this advice can also apply to purchasing land for a modular or manufactured home.)
Don’t waste time considering the purchase of an investment property–VA rules don’t allow you to buy a home you don’t intend to live in as your primary residence.
Don’t take out other major lines of credit such as a car purchase while you’re applying for a VA home loan.
Don’t take the first home loan rates and terms offered–shop around for your VA lender to insure you get the best possible interest rates and terms.