Get ready for blood-pressure spikes, agents. As much of the country returns to a seller’s market, multiple offers are back. With fingers crossed and hands clasped, buyers are doing everything possible to shine up their offers.
That goes double for VA loan offers. Although VA loans are easier to process and more seller-friendly than ever, they can still carry a bad rap.
Need to put a little spit-shine on your next VA loan offer? San Diego real estate agent Amy Ruiz works frequently with military buyers, and has excellent advice for buffing up a VA loan purchase offer.
1. Include a letter and photo with your VA loan offer.
“Humanizing” an offer helps sellers build a connection with buyers. What better way to personalize an offer than by including a photo and a letter?
“Include a cover letter from the family,” advises Ruiz. “And if possible, include a picture of the family to bring the human element to the deal.”
Buyers could include any of the following personal details in a letter to the seller:
- Why the home is a good fit for the buyer
- Connection to the local area
- Description of military service
- Current employment
2. Don’t ask for closing costs in a seller’s market.
One way to strengthen a VA loan offer? Don’t ask the seller to pay 100% of the closing costs.
“Buyers are being schooled to write cleaner offers, which sometimes means paying their own closing costs,” said Ruiz.
Granted, military buyers don’t always have cash on hand for closing costs. In that situation, lenders may offer to cover closing costs in exchange for a higher interest rate on the loan.
Obviously, a higher rate isn’t a smart move for all service members. Buyers should take a very careful look at the numbers (both short term and long term) before pursuing this option.
3. Get a personal call from the lender.
Every buyer’s agent knows the importance of a solid preapproval letter. The best buyer’s agents go one step further.
Arranging a personal call between the VA lender and the listing agent can help erase any confusion regarding the buyer’s VA loan preapproval.
“This can help to ensure that the listing agent understands VA loans, hopefully increasing your buyer’s chance of getting an acceptance, especially in a tight seller’s market like we’re experiencing now in San Diego,” says Ruiz.
4. Ask for a quick closing date.
Sellers (usually) love quick closings. In a multiple-offer situation, a quick closing date could easily move an offer to the top of the heap.
Thanks to recent improvements, a quick VA loan closing is more feasible than ever. Once onerous and lengthy, the VA loan process has undergone major streamlining in recent years. The result? With an experienced loan officer and a suitable property, VA loan buyers can usually close just as quickly as conventional buyers.
“A good VA loan officer can get the loan done in 30 days,” says Ruiz. “It’s usually not much different than other loans.”
5. Work with the right partners.
In a frantic buying climate, potential homeowners need all the help they can get. And the best help comes in the form of a skilled real estate agent and an experienced VA lender.
An agent with VA loan experience (like Amy Ruiz) knows that only certain homes will meet VA loan guidelines, and understands how to give a VA loan offer the best odds of acceptance.
Buyers in the San Diego area can reach real estate agent Amy Ruiz at 619-328-6648 or via AmyRuiz.com. Outside the sunny shores of San Diego, give Veterans United Realty (VUR) a call at 800-985-5723. VUR maintains a nationwide database of military-friendly real estate agents, and can frequently offer buyers a $250 cash rebate on the purchase of a home.
In need of an experienced VA lender? Veterans United Home Loans is the nation’s #1 dedicated VA lender, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Contact a Veterans United VA loan specialist at 855-524-7279.