Posts Tagged ‘ va loans ’

What do Seniors and Soldiers Have in Common?

If someone were to ask you what senior citizens and soldiers have in common, you may be expecting a response that has a comical punch line – the answer, however, is anything but funny. A common thread between seniors and soldiers is that both are groups whose members are increasingly facing foreclosure or default on their home loans.

While there’s no question that foreclosures have increased among all groups, taking a look at the reasons these two groups have been more directly impacted will shed some light on several common misconceptions about personal financial management and the state of the country’s economy. Below are four important lessons to be learned.

Both Spouses Must be Familiar with the Finances
In most domestic arrangements there is a division of labor such that one member of the family manages the finances while the other is responsible for other aspects of family life. Seniors and soldiers are both groups in which one member of the family may suddenly be unavailable, either because of death or deployment, leaving the remaining spouse to manage the finances, a task with which he or she is unfamiliar. In cases such as these, which are increasingly common among both groups, default on the home loan is often inevitable. This problem can be easily alleviated by ensuring that both members of a family or domestic partnership are familiar with the home’s finances, budgets and payment schedules, even if the daily financial affairs aren’t co-managed.

Bigger isn’t Always Better
One common mistake made by both soldiers and senior citizens is that they tend to overspend on their property while erroneously thinking that the loan will be easy to pay off. Seniors are often able to take on loans larger than they should because they’ve established a good credit rating or have existing home equity that they can borrow against.

In contrast, soldiers tend to over-borrow because they have dreams of large homes and they mistakenly rely on the availability of VA guaranteed loans to help offset the cost of the home. The only way to avoid such ‘big eyes’ is to seek advice from a qualified financial planner or mortgage broker before signing the loan, to ascertain whether the loan can be repaid, under normal circumstances, without overly straining the family’s finances.

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Posted by: Guest Contributor on July 31st, 2012 under Financing, Mortgage and Home Loans, Guest Bloggers

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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

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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

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

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