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    VA Loan Guide
    The VA program is one of the few remaining no-down payment programs in the market. Learn all about using your VA loan benefit.
  • Suburban brick house.
    VA Home Loan: Do You Have What it Takes?
    Military.com
    There are five categories for eligibility. Your eligibility is based on you military service. Do you meet the criteria?
  • Home loan signature line.
    Starting the Loan Application Process
    Military.com
    Once you've determined that you are eligible for a VA home loan, you can begin the loan application process, which includes six...
  • US Map Showing High Cost Counties
    VA Loan Limits for High-Cost Counties: Updated for 2017
    Military.com
    The VA loan limit for 2017 is $424,100. But it could actually be substantially more if you buy a home in a high-cost county. Se...
  • Family outside suburban house.
    VA Financing & Mortgages Options
    Military.com
    The VA guarantees a variety of home loans. There are two basic types of loans with two additional options that are appealing to...
  • White suburban home.
    IRRRL Facts for Veterans
    Military.com
    IRRRL stands for Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan,also known as a "Streamline" or a "VA to VA" loan.
  • gray home
    What Is a VA Guaranteed Home Loan?
    Military.com
    If you want to purchase or refinance a home, condominium or manufactured home, the VA can guarantee up to $417,000 of the total...
  • military family in front of house
    Top 3 VA Home Loan Tips
    Military.com
    We've scoured the Internet to find the 3 most helpful tips to help you take advantage of this exclusive benefit.
  • Business writing
    VA Loan Forms
    Military.com
    In order to receive your Certificate of Eligibility for VA loan benefits, you will need to submit your request for a Certificat...
  • big gray house
    6 Unbeatable Benefits of VA Loans
    Veterans United Home Loans|
    Here's a look at six of the biggest, most unbeatable benefits of the VA home loan.

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):

Income:

          Wages (Take Home)

$5,000

          Other Income

$200

Total Income

$5,200

Expenses:

          Car Payment

$350

          Groceries/Food

$300

          Cable, Internet, Cell Phone

$200

          Car Insurance

$150

          Utilities

$100

          Gas

$100

          Clothing

$100

          Miscellaneous/Other

$100

Expenses Total

$1,400

 

 

Net Income (Income Minus Expenses)

$3,800

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.

Closing
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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