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10 Things You Must Know About VA Loans

Here’s 10 things you must know about VA Loans:

1. They’re reusable. You can use your full VA entitlement over and over again as long as you pay off the loan each time. But you may be able to obtain another VA loan even if you’velost one to foreclosure or currently have one.

2. They’re only for certain types of homes. If you’re planning to buy a working farm, a downtown deli or a fixer-upper, the VA loan may not be for you. It’s mainly designed forproperties in “move-in ready” condition, including single-family homes, condos, modular housing, some multi-unit properties and more.

3. They’re for primary residences only. Don’t bother trying to use your VA loan benefits to buy an investment property or a vacation home in the Poconos. VA loans are for primary residences, with few exceptions.

4. They’re not issued by the VA. The VA isn’t in the business of issuing home loans. Instead, the agency provides a guaranty on each qualified mortgage loan.

5. But they’re guaranteed by the government. If you have a VA entitlement, the agency typically guarantees up to a quarter of the loan amount. The guaranty gives lenders confidence and helps service members secure great terms and rates.

6. They’re available despite foreclosure or bankruptcy. Service members with a history of bankruptcy or foreclosure can secure a VA loan. Even borrowers who have had a VA loan foreclosed on can still utilize their VA loan benefit.

7. They don’t have mortgage insurance.Mortgage insurance is a monthly fee you pay with other programs when you’re not putting at least 20 percent down. The VA’s guaranty eliminates the need for any mortgage insurance or mortgage insurance premium, helping borrowers save even more money each month.

8. They come with a mandatory fee. There’s no mortgage insurance with VA loans, but there is the VA Funding Fee. This fee (usually about 2 percent of the loan amount) helps the VA keep the program going and is required on both purchase and refinance loans. It can be rolled into the loan amount and waived entirely for those with service-connected disabilities.

9. They have limits on co-borrowers. Some loan programs let you get a loan with just about anybody. That’s not the VA loan program. Having a co-borrower who isn’t your spouse or another veteran with VA loan entitlement who will live in the home with you will require a down payment. Not every VA lender offers these types of joint loans (Veterans United does).

10. They don’t have a prepayment penalty. You can make extra payments any time you want, saving you a boatload in interest over the life of your loan. You can even structure your payments to automatically deduct a little extra every month. Just an extra $100 per month can shave years and tens of thousands of dollars from the balance.

 

10 Things You Must Know About VA Loans

How to Buy Your First HomeBuying your first home is one of the biggest financial steps that you will ever make. It is important to take this decision seriously. You need to take the time prepare yourself in every aspect in order to make your home a blessing, and not a negative experience. Here are the basic steps that you should know on how to buy your first home.

Determine If You Are Ready to Buy a Home

You should determine if you are ready to buy a home. Home ownership is a lot more expensive than renting. You are responsible for paying for all the repairs. You may also have added utility costs, such as garbage and water. In addition to that you will need to pay for taxes and insurance related to your home. These costs add up quickly, and if you are not financially prepared, you may end up in a very negative position. You should take the time to get out of debt and save up an emergency fund, before you purchase your first home. You should definitely get rid of all of your credit card debt first.

Start Shopping for a Loan
Take the time to shop for a loan. You need to get pre-approved before you shop for a home. This will help you to look within your price range. You should contact at least three people before you decide which loan to take. A mortgage broker will look at several different loan companies to find you the best rates. However, your small local bank or your credit union may have options that will save you money as well.

Once you find a loan with the correct terms you can begin shopping.

Find the Best Payment Options and Loan Types
When it comes to your mortgage you may be surprised at the different loan types and payment options available to you. It can be baffling when you think about ARMS and PMI. Usually a fixed rate 15 or 20 Year loan is the best option.
This can help you lock in a low rate. You may be considering creative financing to cover the down payment, but you should be careful when you make these choices. You want to build wealth with your home purchase. If you make the wrong choice then you may end up hurting yourself financially.

Be Honest About What You Can Afford
You also need to determine how much home you can really afford. A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage along with your taxes and insurance between 25%-30% of your income. Other experts advise that your home cost be limited to two and half times your annual salary. It can be crippling if you are house poor. If you spend too much on your mortgage you may not be able to meet your daily obligations let alone save for retirement. A smaller house is worth the peace of mind.

Find a Good Realtor
Once you have determined how much you can really spend and are pre-approved you should find a good realtor. Your realtor should listen to your wants and needs carefully.
She may make recommendations or explain the market to help you find a home that suits your needs and that you can afford. She should offer several different options. Once you make an offer your realtor should work to negotiate terms that you are happy with. A good way to find a realtor is through the recommendations of friends and colleagues.

Request a Home Inspection
Another important step is a thorough home inspection. This is different from an appraisal. You should pay for the home inspection. The home inspector will look for hidden problems with the home. Through the home inspection you can learn about any issues that may prevent you from buying the home. This may include mold problems, termites, foundation problems and a bad roof. The inspection can save you thousands in repairs later on. Additionally you may be able to negotiate a lower price if you know the home needs a new roof.

Be Patient
Once you have bid on your home and the offer is accepted you will go into escrow. The escrow holder will work to make sure that all the documents, money and other necessary information is together before you close. Escrow is set up to protect the buyer, the seller and the lender. It can take time to complete escrow, although the time really depends on circumstances around your purchase. Once everything is completed for escrow you will sign the closing papers. You may or may not sign your mortgage papers at escrow. If you do, you can request that the bank send a representative to help you fully understand your loan.

Close and Move In
Once you have closed on your home, it is time to move in. You can paint, unpack and enjoy your new home. Be sure that you change your address with your bank, and other accounts. You can set up your utilities and cancel your old ones as well. This will save you time and money, because you will avoid late fees. Some companies will waive installation fees if you transfer your old account to your new address.

3 Steps to Overcome the Fear of Purchasing Your First Investment Property

3 Steps to Overcome the Fear of Purchasing Your First Investment Property

Establish a more powerful “why.”

If you have not come across the concept of having a strong “why,” this simply refers to the reason why you invest. This “why” must be so strong that when you think about it, tears come to your eyes. Anything less than that will be no match for fear.

As an example, my personal “why” is that I want to be able to control my time, and I want the one tool that, when large enough, has the potential to solve any problem (money).

I never want to have to explain to my future wife and children that I have sacrifice time with them to go to a job. I never want to be in a position where I am forced to explain that I am not able to give them every opportunity available for success or the tools to simply enjoy life. My “why” is tied to those that will be closest to me.

Increase your real estate IQ.

Lacking confidence in your education will keep you from closing on that first deal. The bright side is, you are in control! Get out and hit every real estate club meeting in your area, then narrow it down to the individual groups that bring the most value. Network with the individuals at these meetings. Some will even let you tag along when they inspect, appraise, remodel, or perform other tasks associated with their deals. This will give you an on-the-ground education.

Next, get on Amazon and have a stack of books hitting your mailbox every week. Some of the best books I have read I bought for one cent plus shipping. Vary your reading — not everything should be on real estate. If you want to become more sophisticated, you have to improve knowledge in every area of your life. I have broken my life down into health, wealth, love, and happiness. A large portfolio of properties giving you huge amounts of cash flow will be worthless if your health and relationships are in the toilet.

Increasing your knowledge will bring confidence to close the deal like a pro even when you may be a novice.

Destroy perceived obstacles.

The most difficult roadblock that we can ever encounter is a perceived obstacle. Why? Because it’s all in our minds. A fight against your own mind will almost always end with you losing. Some of the most common perceived obstacles that I see are the illusion of what a “good” credit score is and the amount of a down payment needed for the purchase of a home. Your credit does not have to be perfect, and with all the programs available from our local and federal government, these perceived obstacles to home ownership are an illusion.

What are some of the other perceived obstacles that stop us from taking the next step to our dreams?

I have found it helpful to make a list of the things I see as obstacles and then pass this list to another set of eyes that are independent of my situation to get feedback to help me identify any perceived obstacles that may be blocking me.

To sum it all up, there is nothing that should keep you in fear of purchasing that first property. There is so much money, knowledge, and professional help out there just waiting for you to grab it. You just have to take that first step to make it happen. 

3 Steps to Overcome the Fear of Purchasing Your First Investment Property