The incredible benefits offered by VA loans come with a few unique guidelines. Guidelines that can, logically or not, make sellers hesitant to accept VA offers.
But experienced military-friendly agents have learned a thing or two about working with VA buyers — and the crucial VA loan advantage. From their knowledge, we’ve culled five great tips to get your next VA purchase offer accepted.
1. Don’t pick a home in poor condition.
VA loans are not designed to finance fixer-uppers. All homes financed by VA loans must be move-in ready and in-line with the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).
Although rooted in good intentions, MPRs can make sellers nervous. Some sellers (and sellers’ agents) are wary of VA loan requirements, particularly when marketing a home in need of renovation. Out of fear that a home won’t live up to VA standards and a deal will fall through, some sellers bypass VA purchase offers altogether.
The bottom line? Aim for homes in good condition, and make sure you have a good understanding of VA appraisal guidelines.
2. Do be cautious with distressed properties.
Buying a foreclosure or short sale with VA financing can be extremely challenging. Most banks want to sell properties “as is,” and have no patience for VA-ordered repairs.
But exceptions are certainly out there. Some distressed properties are impeccably maintained, and won’t necessitate a single repair. And some markets are so flush with distressed properties that buyers can consider little else.
Simply utilize caution, and be aware that buying a distressed property with VA financing could be a rough process.
3. Don’t ask for the sun and stars.
Every market, home, and offer are unique, but every real estate deal shares this characteristic: a seller can only be pushed so far.
Just as you would for a conventional offer, use your knowledge of the market to make your VA offer competitive and attractive. Are those cosmetic repairs really necessary? Is the closing timeline reasonable? Consult with your lender to determine if the seller need to cover all closing costs, or if you are comfortable covering some or all of them.
4. Use your resources.
VA loans are unique. Once you’ve worked with a few military buyers, you’ll become more experienced.
Until you’ve reached that comfort level, seek out educational opportunities like the Did You Serve? Agent Certification and talk to other military-friendly agents in your area. Discover what works for your market, and incorporate that knowledge into your future VA loan purchase offers.
5. DO include a preapproval letter.
There’s one thing that makes jumpy sellers even more nervous: an offer WITHOUT a preapproval letter.
Make sure that your buyers are preapproved, and always include a VA loan preapproval letter with your purchase offers.
…And please help educate buyers, sellers, and agents!
The VA loan process, once cumbersome and disorganized, has undergone dramatic changes in recent years. Those streamlining efforts have made VA loans simpler and easier to process than ever before.
But not everyone is aware of the VA loan’s makeover.
As agents, we can all take time to educate our buyers and sellers about the VA loan program. Start by asking every buyer “Did you serve?” It can open up the door to educating them on benefits they may not be aware of. You can also sift through the blog for VA loan tips and advice. Work with a VA approved lender who can answer all your VA funding questions. Share your knowledge with clients and fellow agents.
Let’s give our service members a fair shot at the housing market. They’ve certainly earned it.