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Before You Use Your VA Loan

A VA Loan, like any other mortgage, is a big commitment and shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are great benefits associated with homeownership, however there are risks as well. While you can never determine everything that life throws your way, the more informed you are the better you can manage potential risks. The below items should consider prior to moving forward with buying a home.

Know What You Can Afford
Knowing what you can afford is based on your means and life choices. Some people make a conscious decision to live below their means and save or invest as much as possible. Others may have situations that dictate what they need such as a growing family that is outgrowing their condo and may need a house.

Whichever your situation, knowing what you can afford is a critical task prior to purchasing a home. There are several tools and calculators out there that can automate this process for you. You can also simply create an itemized list that breaks down your monthly income and expenses (not including your current rent):


          Wages (Take Home)


          Other Income


Total Income



          Car Payment




          Cable, Internet, Cell Phone


          Car Insurance










Expenses Total




Net Income (Income Minus Expenses)


This basic illustration provides an example of how much you have as disposable income. However, it does not factor how much you save or put away for retirement. You can get a good faith estimate from a Lender that would provide what your anticipated monthly housing expenses would be. Or, you can also use the above tools and calculators link to estimate this for you.

Know Your Situation
It’s always good to understand where you are in life in terms of career and life plans. Below are some good questions to ask yourself prior to making a commitment to buying a home:

  • Do you plan on or what is the likelihood that you would be required to move for a job?
  • How stable is your job and if you were suddenly displaced how quickly could you get a job?
  • If you have a duel income household can you live off one spouse’s income if one of you were to lose your job?
  • Is your family expanding and can you outgrow your existing home within three years?
  • If you had to move how long would it take to sell your home (note: you can ask a realtor in your area the average listing days to get an idea)?
  • If you had to move how much could you rent the home for?

By answering these questions it will help you hone in on if it is the right time for you to buy a home and to identify contingency plans to remove some risk. There are countless examples homeowners have found themselves in trouble due to an unexpected life event. With a little critical analysis of your current situation you can identify potential risks and base your decisions accordingly.

With home prices and interest rates at historical lows homeownership has become much more affordable over the last few years. There are numerous advantages of owning a home including tax savings, building home equity, and being part of a community. Prior to taking on the responsibility of being a homeowner it is important to evaluate your situation.

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