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How to Buy a Home as a U.S. Veteran

How to Buy a Home as a U.S. Veteran

Owning a home allows you to build equity and provide stability for your family. As a veteran who's ready to reap the benefits of homeownership, you're likely entitled to help from the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA). Follow these steps to find a new home, take advantage of the VA's programs, and secure a mortgage.

1. Assess Your Finances

Pull a copy of your credit report and use the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)'s checklist to audit the information for accuracy. Report any errors and wait for your credit report to update before applying for a mortgage. Use the CFPB's tool to create a monthly budget and calculate an affordable mortgage payment.

2. Check Eligibility and Apply for a COE

Double-check the eligibility requirements for the VA's mortgage programs. If you meet the criteria, apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online. Lenders require this document to process your mortgage application.

3. Secure Mortgage Preapproval

Familiarize yourself with the VA direct and VA-backed loan programs and decide which is right for you. Research VA interest rates today in your area. Applying for preapproval with more than one mortgage lender can help ensure you get the best possible deal, and when you get approved for a VA loan, you won’t have to make a down payment or pay for mortgage insurance.

4. Search for and Tour Houses

Compare average home prices to determine which local area has houses within your price range. If an area is out of your price range, it may be worth exploring nearby areas with a lower cost of living. Contact a Realtor to discuss your needs and begin touring homes.

5. Make an Offer and Close on Your Mortgage

Once you find your dream home, make an offer. You may need to negotiate with the owner through your Realtor to get the home you want at a price you can afford. After the seller accepts your offer, contact your mortgage lender and schedule a closing.

6. Pack and Move In

Pack your belongings carefully. Keep heavy items in small boxes for easy handling, and reserve larger boxes for lightweight items like clothing and bedding. Hiring a professional moving company can eliminate many of the hassles of moving. If you prefer to do the job yourself, consider renting a truck to simplify the process.

7. Ensure Your Home's Security

As you get settled in your new home, assess the overall security of the house and the property. Is the yard well-lit at night? Are you in need of a security system or doorbell camera? Do all windows latch securely? Have the locks rekeyed by a locksmith to ensure no one has access to your house.

Search for “local locksmith near me” and research your pool of candidates by reading customer testimonials, ratings, and reviews, and only hire an insured and bonded professional. During your initial consultation, inquire whether the locksmith's work is backed by a warranty and obtain an estimate. The average cost to rekey ranges from $50 to $150, depending on your geographic location and the lock type.

Take Your Time to Find a House That Suits Your Needs

Remember that the home-buying process takes time. Even if you're eager to move in, spending time doing your research as you select a home and choose a mortgage lender can go a long way toward ensuring that you get the right house for your needs at a price you can afford.

By Ed Carter, https://ablefutures.org/ 

If you’re a vet looking for work or a business that wants to hire qualified veterans, visit We Hire Heroes today!