Home shopping immediately comes to mind for veterans and other eligible VA-backed home loan borrowers who were able to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility or COE. However, if you’re a serious homebuyer taking out a VA loan for the first time, there are steps you need to take before shopping for a home.
1. Assess your current finances and credit
Review your sources of income and monthly expenses and determine if you still have enough funds to repay a mortgage. Also, keep in mind that even when you use a VA-backed home loan to buy a home with zero down payment, there are other costs that you need to consider (like closing costs, lender’s origination fees, and funding fees). Although you can get more competitive interest rates with VA loans, you may still want to take advantage of your free annual credit review from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
2. Shop for a mortgage lender and get a pre-approval
As a first-time homebuyer using a VA-backed home loan, it’s important to note that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) only secures the loan you will take from a mortgage lender, private bank or credit union. When shopping for a lender, try to find out all the fees that you need to pay when taking out a VA loan and always remember to negotiate for prices. The interest rates offered by lenders could vary and that’s why it’s ideal to shop for a lender. Once you chose a lender, you need to get a pre-approval to let sellers know that you’re serious when negotiating for a price.
3. Enlist a buyer’s real estate agent
Ask your relatives or friends if they could recommend a buyer’s agent who could help you find a home. Although it’s possible and convenient to look for homes through online listing sites, like Zillow, many first-time homebuyers still find it ideal to work with a buyer’s agents. These real estate professionals could give you insights to help you come up with a sound decision before making the purchase. Before enlisting an agent, make sure you know how he or she gets paid and more importantly, you should understand what help or assistance you are getting, including your rights.
4. Shop for a home!
There are several factors that you need to consider when shopping for a home aside from the amount you’ve been pre-approved to borrow, and other costs related to homebuying. Typically, you may want a home with convenient access to establishments like medical facilities, recreational parks, and your workplace. If you have a disability, figure out if you can comfortably move around inside the house or if you can make modifications to make it more accessible and convenient for you. Since you expect to view several open houses, it’s important that you note the important details you like and don’t like in every house you view. Using a note pad, for example, is one way to help you focus when viewing an open house.
Get in touch with an AEM loan advisor
If you already have a COE and have determined how much you are willing to spend on a home, a professional American Eagle Mortgage loan advisor may work for you if you’re using a VA-backed home loan. Call or email us today to get a mortgage pre-approval.