Real Estate Report

(March 1, 2019) According to the National Association of Realtors, active duty service members tend to buy at a younger age and purchase larger homes with a higher median price than non-military buyers.

This data is derived from NAR’s annual Veterans and Active Military Home Buyers Profile.

Most people are familiar with the VA Loan, which is a loan program through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

These loans are available to veterans and active-duty military members and they offer no down payment requirements, no mortgage insurance, lower than average interest rates, limits on closing costs and more lenient credit requirements than traditional financing.

To qualify for a VA Loan, you need to have served 90 consecutive days during wartime, 181 consecutive days on active duty during peacetime, six or more years in the National Guard or Reserves.

Also, some spouses of military members who died in the line of duty are eligible for to apply for a VA Loan.

VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide the home buyer with more favorable terms.

In addition to the service eligibility requirements above, home buyers must also have satisfactory credit, sufficient income to meet the expected monthly obligations, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) on the property.

The COE verifies to the lender that you are eligible for a VA backed loan, and it can be applied for online, or through your lender who will use a web-based application system called the WebLGY that can generate an answer within seconds if the VA has enough current info on the applicant.

Generally, all veterans using the VA Home Loan Guaranty benefit must pay a funding fee. The funding fee is a percentage of the loan amount, which varies based on the type of loan and your military category, if you are a first-time or subsequent loan user, and whether you make a down payment.

You have the option to finance the VA funding fee or pay it in cash, but the funding fee must be paid at closing time.

– Lauren Bunting is an Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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