Tag Archives: Home shopping

Homebuying 101 – VA Loans

Throughout the next several weeks we’ll be posting articles and info on various aspects of the home buying process. Topics will cover everything from saving for a down payment, to refinancing, to purchasing investment properties, and more. We encourage you to connect with us on any questions you might have, and to share this information with friends and family.

What is a VA Loan?

The VA (Veteran’s Administration) Home Loan Guarantee Program helps veterans purchase or refinance homes through VA-approved lenders, like USAgencies Credit Union.

Loans are backed up to $417,000 in Oregon and Washington (and more in some areas) with low closing costs and fewer fees than conventional loans.

Packed with money-saving advantages such as no down payment requirement and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), it’s no surprise that the VA home loan has been used by over 18 million families. For nearly 70 years, this program has made it possible for families just like yours to experience the pride of homeownership.

The VA home loan program continues to shine brightly and forge ahead on its mission of making homeownership possible for the brave men and women who serve our country

Advantages of a VA Loan

  1. No Down Payment Necessary. Traditional loans typically require a buyer to provide between 3 to 20 percent of the home’s price as a down payment. For many first-time homebuyers, supplying this amount of money up front may not be feasible. The VA Loan is a good option for those who may not have a large sum set aside for a down payment, and who meet certain requirements (see Qualifications section).
  2. Less Stringent Qualifications. Many first-time homebuyers might not yet have a strong credit history, which can make it more difficult to get approval for a mortgage or qualify for an affordable interest rate. Since the VA Loan is government-backed, VA Loans are easier to qualify for at competitive rates.
  3. Lower Monthly Payments. Since VA Loans don’t require the added monthly expense of PMI, they tend to leave more money in your pocket each month. In addition, the competitive VA Loan rates can save a typical buyer thousands over the life of the loan.

Qualifications

In general, an honorably discharged service member is eligible for a VA home loan if he or she meets any one of these requirements:

  • Served 181 days during peacetime (Active Duty)
  • Served 90 days during war time (Active Duty)
  • Served 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard
  • The spouse of a service member who died while in service or from a service-connected disability

For more specific information about VA loan qualification, it is best to speak with an experienced home loan officer, like USAgencies’ Steven Raymond.

Next Steps…

The first step toward securing your VA loan is getting pre-approved. This involves a pre-qualification process, where a loan officer assesses the borrower’s financial situation and determines the maximum the veteran qualifies for. The borrower then must submit a completed loan application and documentation to obtain a commitment, otherwise known as a “pre-approval”.

For more detailed information about getting pre-approved for a VA loan, please contact an experienced mortgage loan officer, like Steven Raymond, VP of Residential Lending at USACU.

Questions?
Steven Raymond, VP or Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union, has over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Steven’s seen it all, as far as mortgages go. If you have questions—about refinancing, getting pre-approved, or anything else mortgage-related—talk to Steven!

Steven Raymond
Vice President of Residential Lending, NMLS#: 234025
Direct: (503) 275-0329
Toll-free: (800) 452-0915 x329
Email: sraymond@usacu.org

Ready to go?
Apply for a mortgage online now.

Equal Housing Lender Logo blog
USAgencies Credit Union
NMLS#: 441193

Home Buying 101: The Housing Market

Throughout the next several weeks we’ll be posting articles and info on various aspects of the home buying process. Topics will cover everything from saving for a down payment, to refinancing, to purchasing investment properties, and more. We encourage you to connect with us on any questions you might have, and to share this information with friends and family!

 

Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and skies are clearing. Spring is also a time when potential homebuyers start to peek out of their doors and more actively pursue a new home. With the typical springtime bump in inventory, better weather for those heading from open house to open house, and kids heading towards summer break soon, this time of year can be the ideal time to buy for some. With all of the changes we’ve seen in the housing market over the last several years, you may have questions about whether or not this is the “right time” for you…

Should You Try to “Time the Market”?
One problem with attempting to time your home purchase to the business cycle is that no one can accurately predict the future. Another challenge is that interest rates are generally higher during a depressed market and income may not be keeping up. For that reason, fewer people can qualify for a home purchase than in more prosperous times.

The “wait-and-see” strategy generally works best for first-time buyers. People who already have a home usually need to sell it in order to buy their next one. If a “move-up” buyer wants to buy a home during a depressed market, that means they usually have to sell one during the slow market, too. If a seller wants to sell his home to take advantage of a hot market when prices are fairly high, they generally have to buy their next home during that same hot market, so it tends to equal out.

How Do Changes in the Market Affect Supply & Demand?
There are times when the economy is brisk and everyone feels confident about his or her prospects for the future. As a result, they spend money. People eat out more, buy new cars, and…they buy new homes.

Then, for one reason or another, the economy slows. Companies lay off employees and consumers are more careful about where they spend money, perhaps saving more than usual. As a result, the economy decelerates even further. If it slows enough, we have a recession.

During such a time, fewer people are buying homes. When the supply of available houses is greater than the supply of buyers, appreciation may slow and prices may even fall, as happened in the early eighties and the early to mid-nineties.

If you are lucky enough to purchase a home during a slow period, you can be reasonably certain the economy will begin to show strength again. At times, real estate values may even surge drastically. In many regions of the country, this is precisely what occurred in the late eighties and nineties.

What’s the Current Market Temperature?
The past few years have seen a major boom in housing sales. And it appears things aren’t changing anytime soon. Low rates and a relatively low amount of inventory make it a prime seller’s market. Sellers are oftentimes seeing multiple offers for over asking price. What’s the best thing someone can do to buy in the current market? “Get preapproved. Get all of your ducks in a row ahead of time so you know how much house you can afford and are ready to make a quick decision on a home,” says Steven Raymond, Vice President of Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union. “The market is very hot. And we’re just heading into spring, which can be prime home shopping time, so it can be pretty competitive out there. Getting preapproved ahead of time ups the chances of a closed sale for buyers.”

The Take Away
Markets slow and surge, as does housing inventory and buyer confidence. No matter what the situation in the market, or in your own family, it pays to be prepared. Knowledge is power. Knowing ahead of time what you’re pre-qualified and/or pre-approved for can help put you in a better position and allows you to make the best decision for you and your family.

 

Questions?
Steven Raymond, VP or Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union, has over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Steven’s just about seen it all, as far as mortgages go. If you have questions—about the current market, getting pre-approved, or anything else mortgage-related—talk to Steven!

Steven Raymond 
Vice President of Residential Lending, NMLS#: 234025
Direct: (503) 275-0329
Toll-free: (800) 452-0915 x329
Email: sraymond@usacu.org

Ready to go?
Apply for a mortgage online now.

 

 

Equal Housing Lender Logo blog

USAgencies Credit Union
NMLS#: 441193