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The Book on VA Loans

Buying a home is one of the biggest investments veterans and service members will ever make. But studies and surveys show that homebuyers either overestimate their mortgage knowledge or think the lack of it doesn’t matter.

Many veterans and service members dive into the process without fully understanding the power of what they’ve earned. The historic VA home loan benefit is arguably the best loan option on the market.

The Book on VA Loans helps veterans and military members harness that power.

The book is a complete guide to the VA loan program and the homebuying process, filled with helpful tips and expert advice from national VA loan expert Chris Birk.

This in-depth and indispensable resource gives veterans the education and confidence they need to get the most from their hard-earned VA loan benefit.

Featuring simple, straightforward language and the voices of previous VA borrowers, this book walks veterans through every step on the road to homeownership, from how to get your credit and finances ready, to getting preapproved and under contract, to moving through underwriting and onto your closing day.

The Book on VA Loans has 300+ pages of tips, advice and explanation.

Here’s a brief overview of what you’ll learn:

Preparing Your Credit & Finances

Chapter 2 focuses on helping you get your credit and finances ready for homeownership. This chapter also gives you a solid understanding of the different types of home loans and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Key lessons include:

  • How credit scores are determined
  • The type of credit you need for VA loans
  • How to improve your credit score
  • Upfront costs of homebuying
  • Home loan basics

VA Loan Eligibility

Chapter 3 takes a closer look at who’s eligible for VA loans and what kinds of properties you can purchase with your benefit. You’ll also learn about how VA loan entitlement works and how to reuse your benefit over and over again.

Key lessons include:

  • Eligibility guidelines for Regular Military and Guard/Reserve
  • How to get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
  • What VA loan limits mean
  • Types of homes you can’t buy with a VA loan

Preapproval & Getting Under Contract

After reading Chapters 4 and 5, you’ll have a solid understanding of what it takes to get preapproved for a VA home loan and why preapproval is such a critical first step. You’ll also learn tips for choosing and working with a real estate agent and gain strategies for making an offer on a home.

Key lessons include:

  • What you need to get preapproved for a VA loan
  • How lenders look at income, debts and employment
  • Tips for touring homes and choosing properties that meet VA guidelines
  • A closer look at VA loan closing costs

VA Loan Underwriting & Closing

Chapter 6 takes readers through the underwriting and closing portions of the VA loan process. You’ll have a clear sense of how underwriting unfolds and what lenders are looking for once you’re under contract to purchase a home. Readers learn about the VA appraisal process and how it protects veteran homebuyers. You’ll also get a look at some of the key paperwork and documents involved in your loan closing.

Key lessons include:

  • A closer look at the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements
  • Tips for keeping your loan on track
  • What to expect on closing day
  • How to keep healthy financial habits after closing

Reusing Your VA Loan Benefit

Chapter 7 breaks down one of the biggest misconceptions about VA loans — that they’re a one-time benefit. This is a lifetime benefit you can use over and over again. Readers will learn how to purchase multiple properties with VA loans and get a clear look at the two major refinance options.

Key lessons include:

  • How to sell your current home and buy again with your VA loan benefit
  • How to keep your current home and buy again with a VA loan
  • The differences between the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and the VA Cash-Out refinance

About the Author

Chris Birk

Chris Birk VA Home Loan Expert

Chris Birk is the Vice President of Mortgage Insight for Veterans United Home Loans and the author of “The Book on VA Loans: An Essential Guide to Maximizing Your Home Loan Benefits.”

More than 290,000 people follow VA Loans Insider, his interactive VA loan community on Facebook.

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