YOUR AMERICAN DREAM STARTS WITH A VA HOME LOAN

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1 YOUR AMERICAN DREAM STARTS WITH A VA HOME LOAN

2 A VA LOAN GUIDE TO HOME BUYING Buying your first home is a very important step (& investment) in life, and you probably have a few questions. No worries! We ve created this guide to help walk you through every step of the VA loan and home buying process. Table of Contents: Where do I start? The basics of VA loans The benefits of VA loans Credit score + eligibility Verifying your VA status Looking for your home Applying for the loan How to prep for closing Congrats! You re a homeowner Why NASB for your VA loan? 2

3 WHERE DO I START? What does Home mean to you? A new chapter, a safe haven? Maybe it means a future, a place to build memories? If you re ready for a place to call Home, we re here to help you get started. Or, if you re just beginning to consider the idea of buying, we re happy to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. The Perks of Buying vs. Renting Owning can be a good investment: Housing prices often fluctuate in the short term. But in the long run, homes generally appreciate in value, giving a good return on your investment. You ll earn equity: With each payment you make, a portion goes toward the principal of the loan which increases your equity. As your home increases in value, so does your equity. So, if or when you finally go to sell your home, you ll have more money to put down on the next one! You could reduce your taxes: Your mortgage interest and property tax payments may be deducted from your federal (and many state) taxes, which means you ll likely owe Uncle Sam less at the end of each year. You ll have more freedom: It s your own place add paint to the walls, build a fence in your backyard so your dog can safely run free. A great perk to owning is that you get to choose how you make the house your home! One of the first things to think about during the home buying process is how and where you ll get a home loan. If you qualify for a VA Loan, you re eligible to receive a more competitive annual percentage rate all while avoiding the down-payment and lender fees. VA loans are considered to be one of the safest mortgages on the market, and can ultimately save you money in the long-run (up to 20% of a loan s value). 3

4 THE BASICS OF VA LOANS What is a VA loan? Straight to the point: a VA loan is an exclusive, low-cost loan that helps enlisted service members and veterans of the United States military achieve their dream of homeownership. VA loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and can typically be used to finance up to 100% of a primary residence. Did you know? The VA loan was established back in 1944 to help military service members buy a home after returning from World War II. VA vs. Conventional As an active duty service member or veteran, it s important that you re aware of the unique advantages that VA loans have to offer, especially when it comes to purchasing your first home. Compare the benefits of a VA loan to those of a Conventional: Down-Payment None required VA Loan Conventional Loan Typically at least 3% of the home s purchase price Credit Score Private Mortgage Insurance Fees One of the most flexible of all loan types; depending on the term & your individual situation, a score of 620 is required Not required, even with a 0% down-payment; this ends up saving you up to 1.15% of your entire loan amount each year VA closing costs are often more reasonable than those of other loan types. Plus, NASB does not charge lender fees or points to borrowers who finance or refinance their home through our VA loan program +. A score of at least 620 is required, but you ll need 720 or higher to qualify for the lowest rates Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is typically required if your down-payment falls short of 20% In addition to your downpayment and other closing costs, you ll want to prepare to pay lender fees for: Origination Loan Processing Underwriting 4

5 THE BENEFITS OF VA LOANS Am I eligible for a VA loan? There s a good chance you qualify to receive VA benefits if you meet at least one of the following conditions: P You ve served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime P You have 6+ years of service in the National Guard or Reserves P You re a U.S. citizen who has served in the armed forces of a government allied with the U.S. in World War II P You ve served 181 days of active service during peacetime P You are the spouse of a servicemember who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability P You ve served as a member in certain organizations (Public Health Service officers; cadets at the U.S. Military; etc.) How do VA benefits work? Eligible VA borrowers may finance up to 100% of the purchase price of a home, with a maximum amount of $417,000 (in most counties). For higher-cost counties, borrowers are eligible to finance up to $729,750. A NASB loan officer would be happy to discuss your options based on your individual situation and where you live. What many don t know is that your VA benefits never expire, and you may use your benefits as many times as you wish for future home purchases or refinances. If you own a home that is currently being financed with a VA loan, you may purchase a new primary residence using another VA loan as long as you have enough remaining VA eligibility. So even if you have used the majority, or even all of your VA entitlement to purchase a home, your entitlement can be fully restored once you repay your loan in full. VA loans can be used for Unit Residential Property (must be primary residence) Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing (IRRL) Cash-Out Refinancing (any refinance other than an IRRL) 5

6 CREDIT SCORE + ELIGIBILITY How credit impacts your eligibility for a loan Credit history is one of the key factors that determines your eligibility for a VA loan. Typically, you ll need to maintain a score of at least 620 before applying. However, if you happen to fall below that mark, we do have other options available that you may still qualify for (such as an FHA loan). Just remember: the better your credit score, the lower your interest rate. If you need help with improving your score, take a look at these seven simple tips & tricks: Know your credit score. Your credit card company can often provide your score for free, or your bank should be able to for a small fee. Get rid of as much of your credit card debt as possible. Try to keep your credit utilization ratio down to around 30%. Become an authorized user on a credit card of a spouse, parent, or even a trusted friend. This will help strengthen your credit, while not being held solely responsible for the monthly payments. Avoid worsening your credit during the application process. Do not change jobs or make large purchases via credit, like financing a brand new truck. Maintain steady employment. You must be able to hold and prove a reliable income, even if you re self-employed. Your last two years of income should be at the same level or higher. Be diligent about paying your bills on time! Your credit report must have less than two 30-day late payments in the last two years in order to qualify for a VA loan. We get it, you re busy set reminders or automatic payments to help stay organized. Have you had a recent foreclosure or bankruptcy? If so, you ll need to wait at least two years before applying for a VA loan (plus have perfect credit following the date of foreclosure or bankruptcy). 6

7 VERIFYING YOUR VA STATUS Step 1: Apply for VA loan eligibility In order to qualify for a VA loan, you ll first need to prove your military or veteran status. A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) indicates: Your eligibility for a VA loan The amount of guaranty (loan) you re entitled to How much of your VA entitlement you have already used A NASB loan officer can assist you in obtaining your COE you ll just need to provide your full name, Social Security Number, date of birth and military background. If you are separated or retired from the military, you ll also need to request a copy of your DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty). Keep in mind that this process could take as much as 4 weeks. Currently in the Reserves or National Guard? We will need a Statement of Service signed and dated by your Commanding Officer on official letterhead. This must include your: name, date of birth, Social Security Number and/or Service Number, Enlistment Date, the statement that you are still on active duty, and contain the phrase No Time Lost (if applicable) or list the time lost. 7

8 LOOKING FOR YOUR HOME Step 2: Pre-qualify for a VA loan It s not uncommon to fall in love with something outside of your price range, which is why you should first talk to a loan officer to find out how much purchasing power you have. The pre-qualification process determines how much home you can afford, once we ve verified your VA entitlement. Pre-qualifying with NASB does not commit you to buying a home right now. What pre-qualification does do, however, is prove to a seller that you are a serious, eligible buyer. Step 3: Sign the purchase agreement During your home search, you ll want to seek out a real estate agent who is familiar with the VA loan process. Once you find a home you re interested in, this agent will be able to help you with the purchase agreement and negotiate seller-paid fees to make your overall out-of-pocket costs even lower! Keep in mind... While a down-payment is not a required for a VA loan, you will need cash available for an earnest money deposit. This is usually about 1-2% of the total purchase price, and is a check made out to the seller after your offer is accepted. The deposit shows your good faith in following the agreements outlined within the contract. You ll also need money to pay for an inspection, if you choose to have one done. An inspection is not required for VA loans, but recommended in order to properly assess the home s condition. If any red flags come up during an inspection, you re able to back out of the deal and get most (or all) of your earnest money back. 8

9 APPLYING FOR THE LOAN Step 4: Submit your documents This is the point in the process where you ll need to provide all of the important documents. The following is needed from both yourself and any other co-borrowers: Paycheck stubs: last 30 days Tax returns: last 2 years (all pages) W-2s: last 2 years Bank statements: last 2 months from savings & checking accounts Copy of driver s license Explanation for any late payments, collections, etc. as requested Copy of purchase agreement And, if applicable, you ll also need to provide a copy of these: Divorce decree (all pages) Bankruptcy discharge papers All pension statements, etc. Copy of social security annual award letter, statement, etc. Don t forget: Prior to being approved, you will be required to order an appraisal. The appraisal determines the home s current market value and ensures the home meets the VA s minimum property requirements. Have student loans? The VA requires all student loans scheduled for repayment within 12 months of closing to be counted in the borrower s liabilities. 9

10 HOW TO PREP FOR CLOSING Step 5: Seal the deal Once you ve been approved for the loan and the appraisal has been completed, the home is ready to be legally transferred over to its new owner: You! Prior to the day of closing, you ll want to check a few more items off your to-do list: O O Prepare your funds You ll need to provide a cashier s check to the title company including any fees you still owe (this may include closing costs not agreed to be paid for by the seller, and the VA Funding Fee). Set up utilities Your real estate agent will usually provide you with a list of the utility companies you ll need to contact in order to have water, electricity, and gas set up in your name at your new residence, along with other optional services like internet, cable, and phone. O Conduct the final walk-through In order to make sure the house is in the condition as agreed upon in your contract, you will be able to walk through the house once more prior to closing. Any issues spotted after closing will be yours to fix. If you find anything in question during the walk-through, you may decide to postpone the closing and request that the seller fix a few of the problems, or even choose to walk away. O Sign, sign, sign At closing, you (and any co-borrowers) will sign several documents confirming that you understand the terms of the loan. You ll also need to show proof of homeowner s insurance. Then, say Hello to your first, very own home! 10

11 CONGRATS! YOU RE A HOMEOWNER Moving in to your new home Congratulations on officially becoming a homeowner! Now, before you start decorating or throw any parties, it s a good idea to take care of a few housekeeping items. Make copies: The documents you signed at closing are legally binding. Make copies of each page for your files. Change your locks: Chances are, you don t know everyone who had access to your home while it was on the market. Re-keying all of the locks in your new house on the day you move in will help keep you, your family, and your belongings secure. Cover your windows: During the move-in process, you re probably going to have plenty of boxes laying around. If the home doesn t already have window coverings, you can avoid being a target for burglars by covering your windows with blinds, curtains, or even paper as a temporary fix. Greet your neighbors: Become comfortable in your new surroundings by meeting your next-door neighbors, at the very least. Exchange information in case of any future emergencies. Add to your speed dial list: Make sure to have phone numbers for your insurance company, warranty company, and locksmith handy at all times. This way, you ll be prepared for when the unpredictable happens. 11

12 WHY NASB FOR YOUR VA LOAN? We ve got your six Not only are we a nationwide VA-Approved Lender with over 90 years of experience, but we re also recognized as one of the Top VA Lenders of 2017 *! What does this mean for you? NASB is dedicated to providing top-notch service, fast and easy processing, and competitively low rates to qualified VA borrowers all across the country. What sets us apart from other VA lenders is that we care about every step of your home buying journey, and are here to answer questions and give advice along the way. Most importantly, NASB does not charge any lender fees or points +. Our goal is to save you both time and money. As one of the top VA lenders in the country, NASB does more than just provide our nation s heroes with an affordable home loan we also recognize and strive to fulfill the needs of veterans currently living on the street. We are proud to partner with Veterans Community Project (VCP) on Veterans Village, a neighborhood of 50 tiny homes built to specifically serve homeless veterans in the Kansas City area, offering them a foundation for success. To find out more on VCP s relentless mission to eliminate veteran homelessness, visit Out of the country? We have veterans from every military branch on our team who understand your unique schedule and have your back. If you are overseas or it s zero dark thirty, don t worry! A NASB loan officer is available 24/7 to walk you through the home buying process and answer any questions you may have. * NASB was named a 2017 Top VA Lender by LendingTree (a leading online loan marketplace) based on loan volume, quality, and customer service. + NASB does not charge lender fees on VA loans; however, fees payable to third party service providers are still required

13 Buying your first home is a big step, and we re happy to help you get started in any way that we can exploring your initial questions, finding out how much you can afford, all the way to providing you with an affordable home loan that fits your needs. Ready to begin your journey to homeownership? Our VA Loan Experts are just one phone call or away: Phone: Stay in touch! A home will likely be the most significant investment you ll ever make. After you close, NASB promises to be available to answer any questions or concerns that may arise. We re also happy to assist you with any future refinancing needs you may have, and help you reach your financial goals. Contact a NASB loan officer today, or visit nasb.com for all that we have to offer.

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