Veterans, as they should, have certain advantages when it comes to buying and selling real estate, especially on the financing end. But they also often face a lot more red tape than non-veterans. If you’re a veteran looking to buy or sell, we’d like to provide a little help.
Check out this Veteran’s Guide to Buying and Selling Real Estate in Shoreline, Washington.
Buying Real Estate
Veterans buying real estate (and selling real estate in Shoreline, Washington, too) should begin by understanding VA loans. These are mortgage loans available to veterans and provided by private lenders, but backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
VA loans provide an affordable way for veterans to buy real estate by offering:
- No down-payment requirement
- Looser credit requirements than traditional mortgages
- No private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement
You do need to be aware, though, that VA loans will be accompanied by funding fees that aren’t typically included in standard mortgages. In 2020, this fee was 2.3% of the total loan amount for the first use and 3.6% for additional uses. The fees can be paid upfront or rolled into the loan.
VA loans can be a great option for veterans who don’t have the cash for a down payment or have less-than-sterling credit. But just because you can get a VA loan, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Most real estate pros recommend looking into other types of mortgage loans as well. You might find that an FHA loan or a USDA loan is a better fit.
While VA loans have looser credit requirements than traditional mortgages, you still need to keep an eye on your credit score, trying to get it as high as possible. And, as is the case when applying for any other mortgage loan, you should avoid making any large credit purchases and make sure to maintain your employment.
And don’t forget to factor in closing costs. Although with a VA loan, closing costs are limited, they still exist.
First Time Home Buyer – VA Loan Success Story
Selling Real Estate
Veterans selling real estate in Shoreline, Washington usually have questions about how VA loan financing will affect their ability to sell. They typically want to know if there will be any restrictions.
“For an outright sale of the property, the answer is no. And there are no restrictions on whom you can sell to, either. Veterans can sell to non-veterans, active duty personnel can sell the home to civilians, etc. VA homeowners who are looking to sell their property can market it to any potential buyer and accept any kind of financing.”
It’s a different matter, though, when selling real estate in Shoreline, Washington by having the buyer assume the VA loan. In this case, the rules change.
“Any VA loan closed after March 1, 1988, and offered on the market later on as a loan assumption purchase requires the buyer – the person assuming the VA mortgage – to have their qualifications reviewed and approved by either the lender or the Department of Veterans Affairs. That typically means meeting credit, debt, income and other requirements necessary to show lenders you are a safe bet. In addition, not all lenders and servicers allow for VA loan assumptions.”
If, however, the VA loan originated before March 1, 1988, then you, the seller, won’t have to contact the VA for a release of liability (as would be the case with loan origination after March 1, 1988). Still, the Department of Veterans Affairs recommends contacting them in the case of loan assumption and possibly getting a release of liability anyway.
Why You Need a Veteran-Friendly Agent
One thing veterans buying or selling real estate in Shoreline, Washington should definitely do is to use an experienced, veteran-friendly real estate agent.
“The home-buying journey can be uncertain, full of twists and turns you don’t see coming. Even if you’re using a Veterans Affairs loan – and taking advantage of the unique benefits that come along with it – you could still run into some big roadblocks along the way. That’s why you need a savvy real estate agent to guide you. And while any agent technically can help with a VA purchase, an agent who’s particularly experienced with military buyers can help you better navigate the process.”
So let’s see exactly how such an agent can assist you as a veteran buying or selling real estate in Shoreline, Washington.
UNDERSTANDING OF VETERANS’ UNIQUE NEEDS
An agent experienced in working with veterans can help them “find the right home, with a special eye toward a veteran’s specific situation. For instance, a VA-savvy agent can help disabled veterans find housing grants or a home with adaptive renovations so that they can live independently in a barrier-free environment.
AGILITY TO HANDLE AN ACCELERATED TIMELINE
The right agent will also be able to handle the accelerated timeline that can occur when veterans are buying or selling real estate in Shoreline, WA. Active-duty service members stationed in Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County near Tacoma, WA or Naval Station Everett in Everett, Washington often have to relocate quickly when those orders come in. A good agent can expedite the buying and/or selling process to accommodate their needs.
While many lenders offer VA loans, a good portion of them don’t really understand “the special circumstances or documentation required.” When your agent has experience in this area, she can help you navigate the process and fill in what knowledge and experience the lender lacks.
UNDERSTANDING OF THE APPRAISAL PROCESS
When it comes to appraisals, an experienced agent can be a boon for veterans buying real estate (as well as for those selling real estate in Shoreline, WA.
“[T]o qualify for a VA loan, the house must meet a set of VA-designated Minimum Property Requirements. While most buyers – and sometimes even agents – are focused on a home’s bells and whistles, a VA specialist has an eye for spotting the red flags that might need to be addressed before a VA loan can close, from broken window panes and rotten exterior wood, to torn flooring or missing light fixtures.”
It should be pretty plain, then, that for veterans buying/selling real estate, a veteran-friendly, veteran-experienced real estate agent is nearly a necessity. And we have the agents you need. So if you’re a veteran buying or selling real estate in Shoreline, WA, contact us today at (206) 578-3438.