Mortgage

5 resources you need during a VA loan transaction

They can make homebuying process smoother for veterans

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Takeaways:

  • Before starting the process, it’s best to have your veteran register for eBenefits, if they haven’t already, and to refer him or her to a knowledgeable loan officer.
  • Chapter 12 of the Lenders Handbook on the VA home loan benefits page is a useful resource.
  • Your buyer’s loan officer will also be a key player in the transaction.

Whether it’s your first VA loan transaction or you’ve been closing them for years, it’s important to have relevant resources on hand during the transaction.

The VA loan has incredible benefits for those eligible, but it also comes with a few unique requirements. To better serve your VA homebuyers, here are a few resources to help you along the way.

1. Lenders Handbook

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates a home loan benefits page with helpful information on the VA loan benefit. One of the most helpful links provided is under the Lenders tab called the Lenders Handbook.

Because you’re an agent, not a lender, not all 18 chapters of this handbook are relevant to your role in the homebuying process. Review the chapter titles to get an idea of the sections relevant to you.

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Chapter 12 is the section I reference most frequently, as it covers the minimum property requirements. These are conditions every property should meet before being approved for VA financing.

A few other chapters I’d suggest reviewing are Chapter 10 on property eligibility and appraisal requests, as well as Chapter 16, which covers common interest communities, condominiums and planned unit development.

Reading the handbook will give you a better understanding of the overall VA loan process.

2. Regional loan centers

There are currently nine regional loan centers (RLCs) — representing all 50 states and territories. The RLC is the direct contact for lenders, appraisers and builders, and for veterans who have questions or concerns about their VA loan benefit.

The Atlanta RLC covers the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and also acts as the Eligibility Center that processes all requests for Certificates of Eligibility — a document determining VA loan eligibility.

Hopefully, you won’t need to interact with your RLC frequently, but it’s good to have its contact information on hand if you have an issue requiring clarification or escalation.

3. Condominium reports

If a buyer wishes to purchase a condo using their VA loan benefit, the condo needs to be approved already or go through the approval process prior to closing.

If a condo isn’t currently approved, it might take significantly more time than a typical closing. So it’s important to look up condos prior to making an offer. If the condo isn’t already approved, factor in additional time for condo approval when establishing a closing date.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a condo search feature through the Veterans Information Portal in which you can determine a condo’s status. You can search by city, county, condo name or ID.

4. eBenefits

Your buyers might already be using the eBenefits portal offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. If they haven’t registered yet, it’s a simple process.

Once registered, they can access a whole host of information and documents that might assist them during the home loan process.

One big way eBenefits can help speed up the loan process is by allowing your buyer to print benefit verification such as their disability award letter — a document that might be required during loan underwriting to verify income.

5. Knowledgeable loan officer

As an agent, your responsibilities extend only so far. Your buyer’s loan officer will also be a key player in your buyer’s transaction. It’s imperative to work with a lender who is knowledgeable and has experience with VA loans.

Encourage your buyer to ask potential lenders about their level of experience with VA loans and also provide your buyer with a list of loan officers you’ve had positive experiences with in the past.

The VA loan offers some impressive benefits such as purchasing a home with zero down and no private mortgage insurance. Arm yourself with these resources so you can better serve those who’ve served our country.

Also, make sure familiarize yourself on what is a PUD (or Planned Unit Development).

Samantha Reeves is the senior real estate and homebuying expert for Veterans United Home Loans and the agent education director for Did You Serve? LLC. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Samantha Reeves.