Despite their incredible growth and success in recent years, VA loans still get a bad rap among some real estate agents and home sellers.
Lingering myths and misconceptions about these loans and how they perform in the market push some sellers to reject VA offers entirely.
That isn't just a disservice to the Veterans and military families who've earned this benefit through service to our country. Plenty of sellers and real estate agents are turning their backs on the best-qualified buyers on the market.
Over the last six years, VA loans have a higher average closing success rate than conventional mortgages, according to data from Ellie Mae.
Getting to closing day is the goal for sellers and listing agents, and there isn't a safer bet than a VA buyer. But bad assumptions and misconceptions keep some home sellers from even entertaining VA offers.
Let's take a closer look at why home sellers should consider offers from VA buyers.
We mentioned it above, but this stat bears repeating: VA buyers are more likely to get to closing day, at least on average, than any other buyer on the market.
Part of accepting offers is feeling good that the buyer has what it takes to close on the loan. Preapproved VA buyers are as strong a buyer as you can find in the current lending climate.
There are certainly other considerations worth thinking about, from purchase price and closing costs to how long it'll take to close. But at the end of the day, home sellers want offers from buyers who can get to Closing Day without hiccups. Nobody does that better than VA buyers.
There's a long-held misperception among some real estate agents that VA loans are littered with red tape and bureaucracy and take forever to close. The VA loan program has invested heavily in technology over the last decade, which has helped ensure VA loans keep pace with other loan products.
To be sure, every buyer's situation is different. But on average there isn't a huge delay in time-to-close between VA and conventional loans.
Over the last two years, the average conventional purchase loan closed just three days faster than the average VA purchase loan, according to Ellie Mae.
The VA appraisal process is two-pronged and involves both the valuation and a broad assessment of certain property conditions, known as the Minimum Property Requirements, or MPRs. During normal times, VA appraisals typically come back in just under 10 days nationwide, although the wait may be longer in more remote parts of the country.
There's also a lot of myth and misunderstanding surrounding VA appraisals. For sellers, your home doesn't have to be in perfect condition to pass the appraisal. If the appraiser does flag property condition issues, buyers may be able to obtain an exemption from the VA. And if an exemption isn't granted, then the seller isn't required to pay for the repair -- it's possible for the buyer to do so in order to keep the deal moving forward.
Some home sellers won't accept VA offers because they (mistakenly) believe they'll have to pay all of the buyer's closing costs.
The VA does limit what closing costs Veterans can pay, which is a huge benefit for those who've served our country. But sellers are not required to pay any closing costs on behalf of a VA buyer, including “non-allowable” fees that Veterans aren’t allowed to pay.
Who pays what in closing costs is always a matter of negotiation between buyers and sellers. There is no requirement that a seller pay a dime toward a VA buyer's bottom line.
Home sellers hold all the cards when it comes to deciding from whom they’ll accept purchase offers. They’re under no obligation to open the door for prospective VA borrowers. But it certainly makes sense on a few fronts.
First, why not cast as wide a net as possible? It's not like sellers are required to accept any offer they receive.
Second, VA borrowers have proudly served our country. The least we can do is give them the opportunity to make a strong offer to purchase your home.
And, finally, VA buyers are flat-out great candidates to make a strong offer and get to closing day.
Please don’t let institutional myths and misconceptions keep you from giving Veterans, active service members and military families a fair shot at the dream of homeownership. If you have any questions about VA loans, don’t hesitate to reach us night or day at 855-524-7279 or start your journey online today.
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