Buying During a Deployment: Power of Attorney and VA Loans

When it comes to achieving the dream of homeownership, active duty military members don’t have to miss out because they’re proudly serving our nation abroad.

Service members who are deployed to other parts of the world can purchase a home without actually being in the country, let alone doing a walk-through.

The key is Power of Attorney.

Using POA

Most military personnel and family members are at least somewhat familiar with the concept of Power of Attorney. It basically means that you’ve given legal authority to a trusted person who can sign legally binding documents in your stead.

There are certainly situations where a service member can’t be on hand, let alone on the same continent, when the time comes to sign purchase agreements or closing documents.

Lenders and real estate attorneys don’t exactly give a wink and a nod to spouses and allow them to sign for their deployed husband or wife. Lying, misrepresentation and forgery on federal loan documents is a felony. Probably not something you want to be facing while your better half is half a world away.

General v. Specific

It’s important in the early stages to determine whether your potential lender requires its own unique power of attorney documents. Don’t just assume that a generic, catch-all POA is going to work when the time comes to secure home financing. In many cases, you will need a specific Power of Attorney that covers a single property in question, giving a date and price range and an address.

For VA loans, the agency requires the lender to verify the veteran or service person is still living and not missing in action. Lenders must also have the borrower’s written consent, which makes sense, considering the service member is ultimately on the hook for the mortgage payments.

Be sure to get these questions nailed down with your loan officer or your attorney before proceeding on a home purchase.

Photo thanks to The U.S. Army via Flickr Creative Commons