Homeownership is a huge part of the American dream. Realizing that dream can be an overwhelming experience for anyone. From prospecting to finding an agent to getting your finances ready to planning for the move, it’s difficult to know where to begin. For disabled veterans, the process is uniquely challenging. Transitioning into civilian life is hard enough without the added hustle of finding and financing a home.
Fortunately, there are mechanisms and resources put in place to make home buying easy and painless for veterans. With the right information about veteran benefits like down payment assistance, reduced interest rates, property-tax relief, and discounted homeowners’ insurance, purchasing and owning a home can be a breeze. This guide from the Job Openings for disABLED Veterans highlights the important aspects of home buying for veterans to help you make one of the biggest decisions of your life.
Considerations to Make When Buying a Home
There are many considerations to mull over when buying a house. It’s easy to get sidetracked by the nitty-gritty and forget to prioritize what is important to you and your family. Following the four steps outlined below should help you stay true to your priorities and make a sound investment:
- Get your finances in order
Buying a house is expensive. Costs include inspection, appraisal, down payment, and closing fees. Before you even consider this commitment, you need to get your finances in order. The first step is cleaning up your credit report. Qualifying for a mortgage and getting a good deal on it hinges on your credit score. Lenders have different measures for what they consider an acceptable credit score but paying your bills on time helps.
- Find the right home loan
Veterans have the advantage of qualifying for a VA loan. A VA loan is a mortgage issued by private lenders with the backing of the Department of Veteran Affairs.
VA loans allow veterans to purchase a home with no down payment. Since the upfront funding fee can be rolled into the loan, veterans could potentially finance 100% of their homes with a VA loan. Additional benefits of VA loans include:
- Low interest rates
- Ease of refinance
- No private mortgage insurance requirement
- Low closing cost
- Low credit score is accepted
- Higher debt-to-income ratio is accepted
- Search for your dream home
Finding the right home takes time. There are numerous factors to consider if you are to make an informed decision. Do you want to live in a suburb, city, or remote location? What is the ideal home size for you? Which amenities do you want nearby? What is the cost of living for your preferred areas?
The average homebuyer visits up to 15 different houses before choosing one. You should take your time considering it is a huge life decision. Find a good real estate agent. Take enough photographs of the houses you like and feel free to go back for a second look.
Affordability is a key consideration when choosing your dream home. Make your calculations to find out if you can afford a mortgage. Ideally, your mortgage should be 28 percent of your gross monthly income. Note that mortgage is inclusive of homeowners insurance and property tax. Your total monthly debt payments should also not exceed 36 percent of your pretax income.
- Mortgage Closing
Closing is the final step when purchasing a house. It is at this stage that you receive the keys to your new home after signing all the proper paperwork in the presence of various legal representatives. Your lender should send you a closing disclosure before the closing day. The disclosure features the loan terms and outstanding closing costs.
Closing costs include loan fees, commissions, title charges, and transfer fees. You can negotiate these costs throughout the mortgage process with options ranging from applying for assistance programs to rolling over the costs into your loan.
- Hire Movers
Last but certainly not least, make sure you connect with professional movers, who can help make the transition from your old home to your new one a little easier. Use sites like Angi to find “top movers near me” to locate local movers with good reviews.
Buying a home is a huge part of transitioning smoothly back into civilian life. It is also a major financial commitment. Take your time to find the right home that you can afford and consider a favorable financing option.