We’re so very fortunate to have a large number of military personnel living right here in North Texas, natives and newcomers alike. Unfortunately, some of our soldiers have a hard time using the benefits they have earned when it comes time to buy a house. Even worse, because of a lack of understanding or misinformation, some lenders and REALTORS may be unwittingly contributing to housing or loan discrimination against our military personnel.
Why VA Loans are important
For military personnel, a VA loan can be the one factor that makes home ownership affordable. Even if a veteran can afford other loan options, the VA loan is often best choice.
Why? Because VA loans:
· Require no down payment
· Do not require mortgage insurance
· Have flexible underwriting guidelines
· Often have the lowest mortgage rates of all available loan types by far
With so many of our military families under financial strain, it’s easy to see why a VA loan could make a tremendous impact on their households. And yet nearly 63 percent of military personnel said their lenders never discussed the VA loan option with them and another 8 percent said either their lender or their REALTOR discouraged them from using the benefit. Discouraging a veteran from using a benefit – whether it’s from ignorance or intent – is VA loan discrimination. VA loan discrimination is housing discrimination.
As a REALTOR, you may find objections that VA loans have a reputation of being slow or cumbersome, or that they are more costly to the seller to close. Those are myths. A good lender can help you navigate the VA requirements so that the loan can close as quickly as a conventional loan. A great lender can help you understand which closing costs are allowed to be paid by the buyer to make the offer more appealing. VA loans are no more risky than conventional loans, even if they do not require a down payment. If you are working with a VA buyer and you want your offer to appear stronger, submit a pre-approval letter with the offer, which is much stronger than a prequalification letter. Finally, have your lender reach out to the sellers’ agent to allay any concerns they may have about the appraisal process or closing on time.
The GRI Finance classes coming up in February and the Military Relocation Specialist Training in July are both excellent programs to help you learn more about Fair Housing practices, VA loans and the unique needs of our military families. Go to mymetrex.com to learn more.