Understanding VA Loans: Tips for Northern Michigan Veterans

Dedicating your life to the US armed forces is one of the most respected professions a person can have. And while this life can be dangerous, the military comes with a lot of perks and benefits. One of the most overlooked rewards for both Veterans and active military service members is buying a home through a VA Loan. It is estimated that fewer than 12% of US veterans use their VA Loan benefits; something we hope to change here at DEK Realty.

What is a VA Mortgage Loan and Are You Eligible?
VA loans are mortgages insured by the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and issued by private lenders. They are available only to veterans, active-duty service members, and their eligible spouses.

VA Loans are also available to every Michigan veteran, military service person, and qualified spouse throughout their lives. As long as they are using the loan for their primary residence, there is no limit as to how many times a veteran can apply for a VA mortgage loan.

To see if you are eligible, you must first obtain your DD Form 214. A qualified VA lender can then request your VA Certificate of Eligibility for you, or you can request it directly from the VA’s eBenefits website.

Why Consider a VA Mortgage for Your Antrim County Home?
There are multiple advantages to using a VA loan to buy your property. Some of the major perks include forgoing private mortgage insurance (PMI), low interest rates and closing costs, and $0 down payment on your mortgage (this does not include closing costs) PMI alone can add anywhere between 0.5% to 1.0% of the monthly cost of your home. So if you owe $100,000 on your mortgage, your yearly PMI could cost upwards of $500 to $1000 in a calendar year. But with a VA loan, this cost is completely waived.

It should be recognized that while Antrim County military personnel can take advantage of the above benefits, putting as much money down as possible is strongly suggested. The more money you can put down, the faster you’ll be able to pay off your house. And it’s important to be honest as to how much house you can afford to develop a practical working budget for you and your family.

VA Loans and Achieving Good Credit
Another plus is that the VA does not set a minimum credit score needed to obtain VA mortgage loans. However, having fair to positive credit can help you attain a rock bottom variable or fixed interest rates. The three major credit bureaus are now offering free and weekly access to check your credit report. This provides you with a hands on approach to your credit score; allowing you to see how positive and negative credit practices quickly affect your financial well-being.

Similar to interest rates, paying bills on time and living within your means makes you more attractive to all lenders. This will come in handy when applying for a home equity loan for any renovations to your Mancelona Village home or for any emergencies that may arise.

2021 VA Loan Tips
Here are VA Loan tips to consider if you’re thinking of buying a home through a VA loan:

1. You can get started with the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) A COE is issued by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and is proof that you are eligible for the VA home loan benefit.

2. Your credit score still matters, but it’s not everything. Lenders tend to be more flexible with VA loan.

3. Make sure you have enough saved. You are still responsible for certain closing costs (i.e. application fees, insurance, inspection fees, real estate taxes, and more)

4. Shop for a VA lender and get pre-approved. Look for reputable lenders that service military members, veterans, military spouses, and their families – compare all offers. DEK Realty has a list of preferred lenders who have proven reliable for Antrim, Kalkaska, Charlevoix and Otsego County military veterans and active service members.

5. Find a real estate agent that’s VA-savvy. DEK Realty agents have worked with hundreds of VA loans! Your agent can help you to choose a property that’s VA-approved.Properties purchased through a VA loan cannot be used as vacation homes or investment properties; and condos must meet certain requirements.

6. Close the deal only when you’re ready to move in. Interested homebuyers must complete the VA’s minimum occupancy requirement

How to Find the Best VA Loan in Antrim and Otsego Counties
While the federal government insures all VA loans, they do not actually loan you the money for your future house. Applying for a VA loan still requires working with a bank or lending institution. And as with all government loan programs, sometimes the paperwork can be tedious.

Fortunately, the team at the DEK Realty can guide you through this process seamlessly and has a list of preferred lenders who have proven reliable for Antrim and Otsego County military veterans and active service members. Together, we can find the proper licensed VA mortgage lender to insure we find the right house for you.

written by Shannon O’Keefe
Personal Research Assistant for Money.com

US military man with family showing keys from house, benefits in crediting

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