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Homes and Land

I just love to ask questions of you, our readers.  Let's chat!!

I want to hear from those of you that have experienced purchasing homes or land, or have tried to do so while in the military.  Share your knowledge, any issues you had with the process or just plain correct me where I am wrong.

Hopefully those of you with experience can help those of us with none!

Our current dilemma:  we are a career military family and have several years to go before retirement.  Because of this, we do not want to purchase a home that we will not be able to live in for the majority of the next several years or have to worry about trying to sale when we PCS.  We actually want to purchase raw land. 

We wish to do this so that as retirement approaches, we can get prepared to build our version of a 'dream home' - if we could purchase land now, we would be able to have the land paid off before we build and over the next few years we could pay to have a driveway put in, drill a well and have septic put in and pay for it in smaller increments.  All part of our grand plan for the years to come.

From what I have found, VA Loans do not cover raw land.  We would have to go through other methods to secure financing for land only and come up with a 20% down payment to utilize those other methods.  On the other hand, we could go out and purchase a home with 0% (or very little) down through a VA Loan.  That doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

Wouldn't it make common sense to allow us, through VA Loans, to purchase land to build on later?

I don't understand the reasoning behind this, I am sure there are many reasons, but I just don't get it!  I feel sure that these type of issues frequently send military members to seek out other financing methods (hopefully good ones) and some may just have to abandon their "dream" altogether.  We are personally going to be able to finally come up with the 20% and have found a good local lender, but how many people are in a different boat?

Can you shed some light or share your experiences? 

Have you purchased raw land?  Did your family opt for financing outside of the VA Loan for your home purchase, why and are you happy with your decision?  Did you use the VA Loan and have you been happy with your decision to do so?

Below are some FAQs that I pulled from the VA website:

Q: I want to buy a house with a VA loan. Do I need to occupy the property?

A: The law requires that you certify that you intend to occupy the property as your home. This requirement is considered satisfied if you actually intend to occupy the property as your home and in fact so occupy it when the loan is closed or within a reasonable time afterward. Q: I am a single veteran stationed overseas and want to buy a home in my home town. My friends who are married can do this with their spouses occupying the property in their place, but VA says I can't do this with my parents or other relatives occupying on my behalf. Isn't this discrimination against single veterans?

A: The law specifically provides that occupancy by the veteran's spouse satisfies the personal occupancy requirement. The law makes no provision for occupancy by any other relatives as a substitute for personal occupancy by the veteran.

While there apparently are some state programs to help veterans with land/home purchases, I cannot find anything military wide to help members and/or veterans in purchasing land only nationwide. 

Would you be interested in a program that helped finance raw land for members/veterans?

If you have any information to correct me on, please do so - I am a beginner on this topic and am seeking out your experience and/or advice! 

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