How do I get started??
A question we get all the time. Most of our clients are first time home buyers, so we know how to answer it. Don’t worry, we are going to be there with you every step of the way.
1. Being pre-qualified for your San Antonio VA home mortgage is the first step. If you already have a VA Approved lender, skip to step #2. If not, we will call you, gather some simple information and schedule a time for the lender to call you. They will spend about 5 to 10 minutes on the phone with you and will have an answer for you in about 24-48 hours. They will be checking your credit and will require a credit score of 620. If your credit is below a 620 or there are other reasons you weren’t pre-qualified, the lender has a program to help get you there. If you are pre-qualified they will let you know how much money you are pre-qualified for and then send you a loan packet. Fill it out and supply the requested documents such as copies of W2’s etc. Send this back in the pre-paid express envelope. Once processed you will be “pre=approved.”
2. Since you now know how much money you are approved for, you can start shopping for houses that fit your budget and criteria.
3. Let us know the specific area of San Antonio you want to live. The area you choose will determine the VA specialized realtor that you work with.
4. You will be contacted that day by your Realtor. Your USVA Realtor will be a VA specialists as well as San Antonio military real estate specialists. So whether you served decades ago, or are still active, they will know what to do. They will send you listings and show you the homes you want to see.
5. Take your time and decide on the perfect house. Watch out for rotten wood, structural issues and things that don’t look completed or are hazardous or broken. VA guidelines are strict about these things. The VA appraiser will be looking for these issues while he/she is determining the value of the house. Sometimes a home will have an issue that raises a flag. This doesn’t mean you can’t buy it, it just means that the seller has to make the repairs or corrections before you can close on the house. But keep in mind, the seller is not obligated to do these things….but they usually do because they want to sell the house.
6. Now it’s time to make your offer. Your Realtor will prepare the offer papers for you and make sure all of your terms such as price, closing costs* assistance (if you want closing costs assistance) and closing date are put in writing and delivered to the seller for review.
7. You may get lucky and the seller accepts your first offer, but usually, it goes back and forth a bit with counteroffers. When you and the seller finally agree, in writing, you will have a “contract” and you will be closing in about 45 days or however long the contract says. Most VA transactions take about 45 days to close.
8. VA guidelines requires that you get a “Texas wood destroying insect report.” This is basically having a pest inspector look the house over.
9. VA does not require you to get a general home inspection, but it is highly recommended.
10. About half way through the contract period, the house will be appraised by a VA certified appraiser. He will be there to determine value and see if there are any property condition issues. If the house appraises… Great! If it doesn’t, you and the seller have 3 options.
1. Seller can reduce price to match appraised value
2. You can walk away and get your earnest money* back.
3. You can make up the difference in cash at closing ( I don’t recommend this)
11. Now it’s time to close.This will usually happen at a local title company. Bring a copy of your driver’s license. Closing shouldn’t take more than an hour.
Here are some terms to familiarize yourself with.
Earnest Money- A deposit put into a 3rd party escrow account at the title company. You will get credit for this amount when you close.
VA Closing Costs- Even though VA loans are 0% down, there are closing costs associated with the loan. The lender requires a certain number of months of taxes and insurance in an escrow account. Also, there is usually a 1% loan origination fee and other title closing fees. You can figure on closing costs being between 4 and 5%. Many of our buyers negotiate these closing costs into the contract in the beginning, so that the seller ends up paying them at closing.