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10 VA Appraisal Essentials for Agents

For years, VA loans have been dogged by reputation as bureaucratic, time-sucking black holes.

But some major pillars of the VA’s loan program have long been misunderstood or mischaracterized. Nowhere is that more true than the VA appraisal, a fair but stringent process that puts a premium on a veteran’s health and safety.

A VA appraisal is more thorough than a typical appraisal and mandates immediate repairs that need to be made in order to meet the agency’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs). Homes must be what the agency considers “move-in ready.”

Having an agent who knows the VA MPRs can certainly spare veterans time, heartache and money. The earlier a veteran understands the limitations and requirements, the sooner he or she can make a decision about whether to move forward with the property or to continue the home search.

Understanding the MPRs has also become increasingly important since the economic collapse flushed the housing market with foreclosures.

Here’s a look at 10 of the big-time MPRs:
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Posted by: Chris Birk on February 10th, 2012 under Financing, Mortgage and Home Loans

1 Comment »

Give Thanks by Spreading the Word About Veteran Benefits

The fact that Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are just weeks apart is a historical quirk.

But it sure feels right, doesn’t it?

As we take time this week to craft a list of family, friends and other things we’re thankful for, consider adding another line item to the list: those who have fought for our freedom. And, of course, those who continue to do so.

During this month of giving thanks, one of the best ways to honor American service members and their sacrifices is to make sure they’re aware of the myriad benefits available to them. From health benefits to education opportunities and beyond, there’s an array of significant benefits that provide some small measure of gratitude to those who have sacrificed so much.

There’s certainly one major benefit in particular worth exploring here — the VA home loan program. This unique purchasing option has helped more than 18 million veterans and their families become homeowners since the waning months of World War II.

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Posted by: Chris Birk on November 23rd, 2010 under Financing, Mortgage and Home Loans, Guest Bloggers, HomeGain


Surging Military Communities Present a Unique Opportunity for RE Industry

If there’s a base, that’s the place.

Not the catchiest slogan ever created, but the sentiment is something for real estate and mortgage industry stakeholders to embrace. Military communities are driving growth and income expansion across the country, according to a recent study by USA Today.

Sixteen of the 20 fastest-growing metropolitan areas (based on per-capita income since 2000) either have a military base within their borders or are near a military installation. There’s no sign of slowdown in most of these communities. And that means the need for housing solutions is only going to increase.

Scores of service members will return from  Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming weeks and months. Most will qualify for the home-buying tax credits that recently expired for civilian buyers — service members who meet the criteria have until the end of April to purchase and until June 30, 2011, to close.

At the same time, the military continues to meet and even exceed recruitment goals, bringing new faces to these metro areas every month. Sustained growth coupled with the purchasing power and demand for homeownership among military members makes for a dynamic opportunity for RE folks moving forward.

On the whole, American service members are big-time homeowners, with ownership levels that outpace all other consumer groups. Military members are also in increasingly better shape financially to secure financing — the average compensation for military members in 2009 was about $120,000, including pay and benefits.

Agents who can tap into this wellspring have a lot to gain. Getting a solid grip on the scope and inner workings of the VA loan program is often a key step. Continue reading this post


Posted by: Chris Birk on October 14th, 2010 under Buying or Selling a Home, Guest Bloggers


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