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  • Veterans Bill Brings Some Big Changes to the VA Home Loan Program

    Veterans Bill Brings Some Big Changes to the VA Home Loan Program

    A veterans omnibus bill now on its way to the president’s desk contains some key changes and updates that will extend housing benefits to more surviving spouses and allow military dependents to fulfill the loan program’s occupancy requirements. The U.S. House passed the “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act” on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after a unanimous vote in the Se…

  • Shopping For Home Loan Rates and Terms Won't Kill Your Credit

    Shopping For Home Loan Rates and Terms Won’t Kill Your Credit

    Prospective homebuyers often get a crash course in credit scores, which reflect your willingness and ability to repay debt. One of the earliest lessons is that applying for multiple forms of credit can actually harm your score. That's one of the reasons credit experts warn consumers against trying to open five new credit cards to improve their score. Whenever a company -- be it a financial institution, a bank …

  • How to Start the VA Home Loan Process

    How to Start the VA Home Loan Process

    Deciding you're ready to start seriously considering a home purchase is a great feeling. But there's almost always an undercurrent of fear and uncertainty, which only feels natural, right? For most people this is the single largest purchase they'll ever make. The time to start your VA loan is now. But one of the first questions people have is: How and where do I start? I've written before about the chick…

  • Real Estate Expert Jessi Hall: How to Make an Offer on Your Dream Home

    Real Estate Expert Jessi Hall: How to Make an Offer on Your Dream Home

    We've talked a lot about VA home loan eligibility, the importance of good credit and how to get prequalified for a mortgage. But that's only half the battle when it comes to getting your dream home. There's also that little matter of negotiating a contract with the seller. But how exactly do you do that? We talked with Veterans United Realty blogger Jessi Hall about the ins and outs of how to make an off…

  • Purchase Peace of Mind With a Home Inspection

    Purchase Peace of Mind With a Home Inspection

    The VA's appraisal process often gets a bad rap. Sellers, real estate agents and even some veterans bemoan what they see as a nit-picky process hung up on small details. The reality is the VA appraisal process is one of the big reasons VA home loans are the safest mortgage product on the market. Beyond establishing a property's value, the VA appraisal evaluates health and safety conditions that could impact ve…

  • Energy Efficient Mortgages Can Cut Utility Costs for VA Borrowers

    Energy Efficient Mortgages Can Cut Utility Costs for VA Borrowers

    Longtime homeowners know that old windows, inefficient heating systems, poor insulation and other energy drains can take a significant — that is, expensive — toll on your annual utility costs. Investing in upgrades and technologies that boost energy efficiency can save homeowners a healthy chunk of change in the long run. Like other lending options, VA borrowers can obtain an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM…

  • How Lenders Can Approach Appraisals and VA Refinance Loans

    How Lenders Can Approach Appraisals and VA Refinance Loans

    We've seen some questions and confusion recently about appraisals and VA refinance loans. The uncertainty is usually because of that gray area between what the VA requires (or doesn't) and what lenders want to see. The VA has two major refinance options. There's the Streamline, or the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), and the Cash-Out Refinance. The first one allows qualified homeowners with an e…

  • Let’s Make a Deal: Seller Concessions on a VA Loan

    Let’s Make a Deal: Seller Concessions on a VA Loan

    When it comes to the current housing market, the buyers are in charge. Sellers often make concessions to sweeten the deal, which is allowed when you’re buying property with a VA loan. Think of a seller concession as a gift of sorts—something of value that the seller offers to bring a buyer to a final offer.  The Department of Veterans Affairs define them as “anything of value added to the transaction…

  • How Compensating Factors Can Boost Your Chances of Securing a VA Home Loan

    How Compensating Factors Can Boost Your Chances of Securing a VA Home Loan

    VA lenders take a long, hard look at a prospective borrower’s credit, debt and income when evaluating a loan application. There isn’t a credit score requirement to participate in the VA loan program. But many lenders want to see a score of at least 620 in the current climate before moving forward. On top of that, prospective borrowers have to meet VA standards regarding their debt-to-income ratio and th…

  • Small Business Income and VA Loans

    Small Business Income and VA Loans

    Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. And studies and surveys have shown consistently that, when given a choice, a vast majority of consumers would rather patronize a veteran-owned business over a civilian-owned one. There are more than 3 million veteran-owned small businesses nationwide. Despite the tough economy and credit crunch, veterans in communities across the country are starting ne…