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Pros, Cons to VA Mortgages

Veteran home loans could be overlooked, misunderstood

April 18, 2016

By TAYLOR TOMPKINS Victoria Advocate - Tribune News Service

Crossroads veterans are using a Department of Veterans Affairs home loan that is some times over looked or misunderstood, mortgage professionals said.

Loans guaranteed by the VA allow military members to put no money down with no mortgage insurance and no income limits, but sometimes lenders and sellers are leery about selling to a veteran with these loans because of concerns about red tape or stricter appraisal guidelines, said Caleb Shaw, a veteran and real estate agent.

"The VA loan itself is a little more strict in its appraisal guidelines, right off the bat -- sometimes sellers, sometimes because of misconceptions, but oftentimes it is because of misconceptions, but then oftentimes it is a little more difficult of an appraisal," Shaw said. "Sellers are some times leery about accepting VA loans because they think it's going to be a much harder sell. But most of the time, with the right lender, it still works out just as smooth."

While the loan may be good for some veterans, it may not be for everyone, said Traci Green, manager of Wallick and Volk, a lending company.

"A VA loan is 100 percent financing, so there's no down payment. It's good for a veteran who doesn't have a lot of money to get into the home," Green said. "If they are going to put a significant amount of money down, that may not be the best option."

Many times, though, veterans don't know about the VA loan, said Keith Gumbinger, vice president at, a consumer loan website that has a landing page specifically for veterans.

"If you're someone who is interested in buying a home, maybe you're not active military anymore, you're not necessarily even living in a place with a high military concentration, you don't have a lot of contacts anymore that are military-oriented, you walk into a local bank and say, 'I'm thinking about buying a home,'" Gumbinger said. "They say, 'Oh, well, you know, we've got this program, that program and the other program,' and VA may never come up. They may not even think about it."

Shaw and Green work with Homes for Heroes, a program that helps military personnel connect with professionals who will offer discounts during the home buying process. Many of the veterans they help through that program use a VA loan.

Before looking at homes, veterans need to make themselves aware of their home buying options, Shaw said.

"Start the process first before you do the house hunting. Do your homework," Shaw said. "You wouldn't approach any military job without having a mission plan and a plan of execution and stuff."

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