Advice for Military Families Searching for a New Home
Take Advantage of Your Veteran Status Today
You've dedicated your life to your country as a member of the armed forces. The time has come to find a home of your own where you can enjoy the rewards of your service with your family. Whether you are on active duty or you have transitioned into civilian life, take the following advice for military families on the quest for their dream home.
Your Credit History is a Priority
Good credit gives you more buying power, whether you are a veteran or not. Optimal credit scores are 700 or above. Shoot for at least 600 to improve your chances of getting approved for a loan. Your promising credit score will do more than open the door for a mortgage. It can also help you to get a better interest rate. If you and your spouse are purchasing a home together, you'll both need to be credit savvy. Pay your bills regularly. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Opening too many credit cards and loans, even if you pay them on time, can lower your score. If you haven't opened any accounts, you'll want to build credit before you get serious about a house. Start with one or two credit cards and pay them off each month. You'll be a more prospective borrower in the eyes of lenders.
Maintain a Solid Employment Record
If you or your spouse have gone through a long line of jobs without any stability, your chances of getting a mortgage may be poor. If you've been on active duty for several years and intend to remain in the service, even if you are permanently based stateside, you will be able to prove you have a reliable source of income. If you have left the service, wait to apply for home loans until you have been employed for at least one year with a new job. Your spouse's positive work history will help your case as well.
Weigh Your Options
Knock on more than one door when you are searching for loan opportunities. VA mortgage programs are a plus for veterans hoping to buy their first home. One of the greatest advantages that come along with these loans is no need for a down payment. You should review the requirements needed to qualify for this type of loan. Ask to look at a VA approved homes list to find out if there is a home that meets your expectations. Other mortgage programs include FHA loans that have lower credit score requirements, Native American Direct loans earmarked for those of Native American descent, and USDA loans designated for rural properties. You may even get better terms with a conventional loan if you have excellent credit. Your local lenders may offer special programs to honor service members.
Tap into Additional Financial Resources
When it comes to special funding for veterans, don't be afraid to ask. Your local government or your state may offer you grants that can make buying a home a reality. You can also check out the Dream Makers Program. You could obtain a grant that will assist you in your closing costs and your down payment if you are still on active duty. If you have been disabled in the line of duty, adapted housing grants are available to help you to purchase a home. It can also be used if you need to adapt your home to accommodate your disability.
Don't Purchase More than You Can Afford
All too often people make the mistake of buying a home that breaks their budget. Look at your income, combining your spouse's income as well if applicable. As a rule of thumb, your mortgage payment should not be more than 30% of your gross income. Don't go any higher than 35%. An ideal payment will be 28% or lower. Figure out the maximum amount you are able to spend and the purchase price to match. When you work with a real estate agent or you search through listings on your own, only circle those that match your magic numbers.
You've put yourself on the line for your country. Mortgage opportunities and grants are ripe for the picking to say thank you. Do your homework to get a home you love at a price that works for you.