Buying a home is a significant financial undertaking. In many cases, it is the largest amount of debt someone will willingly undertake and is what many people strive toward as they work to make more money, get rid of debts, and improve their credit score.
The Home Buying Process for Veterans
For veterans, the home buying process is a little different as a result of the resources available to them. Debt management is still critical, especially for those who have experienced psychological trauma during deployment, as this can often lead to unsafe spending habits. Here’s what veterans interested in home ownership need to know.
Veteran Home Loans
Veteran home loans are designed to make home-ownership easier and more attainable for veterans. The va home loan interest rates are nominal and the program can be used to by an approved primary residence that is proven to be safe — both structurally and in terms of the area. As veteran home loans do not require homeowners to pay mortgage insurance, it is the most affordable way to own a home.
In some cases, your veteran home loan can be used to refinance an existing property. That depends on a lot of different criteria and should be discussed with the professionals. To be eligible, you must have reached the minimum required time of active duty or overall service. There are a lot of variances and loopholes, depending on the approach you take, so talk to your advisor to find out the best route for you.
Home Ownership Costs
Unfortunately, aside from the mortgage, your home-ownership costs are going to be on par with everyone else’s. When you become a homeowner, you no longer have the luxury of calling a landlord and reporting a problem: you are your own landlord. Maintenance will be the most significant stressor in your life as a homeowner. You will also have to account for utilities, property taxes, and house insurance.
When buying a home, most people have to contend with a down payment, legal fees, inspection fees, and more. As a veteran using a veteran home loan, you may not be required to pay a down payment. You will have to deal with the same nuances of finding the right home and going through the sales process, the only difference is the eligibility and financing.
Finding a Real Estate Agent
One of the cost considerations that won’t vary from the civilian experience is working with a real estate agent. Speak with a few agents to find one that you feel comfortable with and who keeps your needs in mind. If you can find a transitioned veteran who now works as a real estate agent, all the better.
You may be required to sign a contract with an agent when you start working together. Make sure to ask questions and take the time to comprehend what is required of you in regards to paying commissions, etc. Know the difference between a buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, and dual agent. Don’t sign anything until you’re comfortable with the information.
While you will still have legal fees in association with buying a home, you can work with your agent to negotiate having your closing fees covered by the seller. Keep that in mind when the time comes.
If you have struggled with debt control since your transition to civilian life, don’t hesitate to ask for help in creating and sticking to a budget. The veteran home loan programs are built to give you room to combat debts and become successful in your future endeavors, whether that means becoming a full-time civilian or returning to active duty. Look at the resources available to help manage debt and use them to become a happy, healthy homeowner.
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