• Sheena Saydam

How Buying a Home is Different for Military Service Members and Veterans

Buying a home with a VA loan often means a bit more complexity; but, the benefits for

current military members and veterans are substantial.

We (Sheena and Han) have gone through the process personally more than once as a result of Han’s military service. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of working with several military families in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

Federal programs provide active military service members, veterans and their surviving spouses (under certain circumstances) with competitive loan terms and benefits — including 0% down-payment options and often including lower interest rates than with other loans. Here’s what else you need to know:

Getting pre-approved is critical. Be prepared for quite a bit of paperwork. A pre-approval will also help you understand exactly how much home you can afford. Along with your pre-approval, ask for a "Good Faith Estimate," which is a detailed, written statement of closing costs associated with your loan.

So, where do you start? Credit unions often offer better, more personal customer service and sometimes have even better rates or lower fees than banks, so it’s worth it to check with your credit union when applying for your home loan. Remember that even if a bank caters to military members, that institution's mortgage department might not provide the same level of service as their financial department. Ask us for our least and most favored lending institutions for VA loans.

Unfortunately, there are some myths among sellers that persist and should be cleared up. Some sellers believe it costs them more to work with VA loans or VA buyers. While there are a few things VA loan buyers don’t pay for, including a termite inspection and some lender-required repairs, the overall cost tends to be comparable to working with a buyer using any other type of financing. In addition, sellers should know that there’s no such thing as a “VA inspector” or “VA appraiser." The appraiser does have to be VA-certified, but that doesn't tend to make getting to closing any more challenging.

If you have questions about VA loans or the military buying or selling process, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ve been there, and we’ll bring a team of qualified professionals to get you to the finish line.