Let’s Salute San Antonio Through Exceptional Real Estate Service
Stretching back to the Battle of the Alamo, San Antonio has long been a place of military significance. Today, there are roughly 250,000 veterans and 80,000 active-duty troops in the area. That means you’ll likely come across active duty or veteran homebuyers in “Military City USA®” at some point. Are you ready to serve them?
Military Benefits and Real Estate
Since World War II, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has backed home loans for both veterans and active-duty members. There are five steps to buying a home with the VA home loan.
In summary, the steps for buyers to secure a VA loan are as follows:
- Get pre-approved by a VA-approved lender.
- Confirm eligibility through a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
- Find an agent.
- Get an appraisal.
- Pay the VA funding fee (those receiving disability compensation prior to the date of closing will be exempt from paying this fee).
As you might imagine, VA loans come with some pretty honorable benefits, including:
- A down payment isn’t required due to 100% financing.
- Applicants don’t need perfect credit.
- It’s possible to be approved with more debt than traditional mortgages.
- Applicants receive lower rates and incur fewer costs than other loan types.
- Buyers don’t need to pay mortgage insurance.
- Flexible VA loan refinance options are available.
- Buyers have access to more mortgage relief options.
- A VA home loan can be assumed by someone else.
Here’s a video from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to further break down these benefits:
Some things to note about VA loans include:
- A VA-Approved appraiser is required to perform a home appraisal.
- Active Duty members have service requirements to fulfill before they’re qualified for VA loans.
- Agents should ensure that the home purchase agreement includes a “VA Option Clause”, which states that the contract is void if the property does not appraise at or above the contract price.
With military buyers, the VA loan benefit is well known, but it never hurts to ask — so check in and help your client make the most of this program. Since the VA loan generally allows for a higher debt-to-income ratio, it could give them more options in terms of price and neighborhood.
Search for Locally-Sponsored Military Benefits
Texas is full of benefits for those serving or who have served in the armed forces. For instance, veterans who are 100% disabled are exempt from paying property taxes. Meanwhile, veterans who are anywhere from 10%-90% disabled can receive a $5,000-$12,000 reduced tax valuation of their home.
Additionally, the Veteran’s Land Board (VLB) operates the Texas Veterans Home Improvement Program. The program, first introduced in 1986, offers qualified Texas Veterans home improvement loans up to $50,000 for a two-to-20-year term or loans from $7,500 - $10,000 for a two-to-10-year term.
As another way to add value to a property, the home improvement loan program allows buyers to choose a property that might need some upgrades in the near future or those looking to sell in a few years.
Regardless of where they might be in their military career, veteran’s programs make finding a home to fit their needs — whether it be close to base or within a desired school district — all that much more flexible. Now, are you ready to initiate a new veterans-focused operation? If so, consider taking our Did You Serve? Identifying Homebuying Advantages for Veterans course to better understand military life and how you can best serve those who serve.
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