First-time homebuying tips for military families
A place to call your own. A fresh start. A place to put down roots.
Buying a home for the first time can be—at any one time—challenging, complicated, confusing, and immensely rewarding. And when you’re in the military, those emotions can be intensified. Luckily, you don’t have to do it on your own. We’re here to help, with answers to all your first-time homebuying question for 2020.
The current homebuying market
Similar to last year, the homebuying market in 2020 is still defined by low inventory (the amount of available housing on the market) and high demand (the number of consumers looking to buy). While every local market is obviously unique, these two forces are combining to create a competitive market for many homebuyers. Mortgage rates have dipped lower through the first months of 2020 to the lowest levels in three years, which means many buyers are looking to buy now while rates remain this attractive.
Buying in a hurry
While it’s ideal to be able to take your time with your first home purchase, sometimes life has other plans in mind. For members of the military, homebuying often ramps up during permanent change of station, or PCS, season from mid-May through late August. Buying a home on a quick timeline can make the traditionally complicated experience even more so, so if you do have to buy in a rush, you’ll want to make things as easy and as simple as possible.
One helpful thing to do is to get pre-approved for home financing. Having a pre-approval letter from a qualified lender can help your offer stand out in a crowded market, and can show sellers your informed and prepared to buy.
VA loans, explained
VA loans are available to veterans, active members of the military or their families, and offer powerful benefits to homebuyers, including low or no down payment options and flexible credit standards. And with Guaranteed Rate, qualifying military homebuyers pay no lender fees (a common fee associated with most mortgages), which can save buyers up to $1290*. All VA borrowers work with our dedicated VA loan specialists, who bring years of experience to the process and are able to answer all your questions. We’re also proud to partner with the USO and their USO Pathfinder program to make sure transitioning members of the military and veterans get the guidance and support they need at every stage of the homebuying process.
The devil’s in the details
While first-time buyers might be familiar on a general level with terms like interest rates and down payments, there’s a ton of lesser-known steps to completing a home purchase. There can be hidden costs, inspections and even homeowner tasks (like changing HVAC filters, water softeners, understanding your new furnace and fuse box). We work to help demystifying the homebuying process and explain arcane-sounding things like escrow and PITI so you can make stronger, educated choices throughout the process.
Contact a loan officer today to learn more about your options.
* Waived lender fee available for VA loans that have a triggered RESPA app date as of January 31, 2019 through January 1, 2022 at 12:00am EST. This offer does not extend to HFA loans. ‘Triggered RESPA’ in accordance with Regulation X, is defined as lender receipt of all six pieces of information received in a secure format; applicant name, property address, home value, loan amount, income and SSN. Not all borrowers will be approved. Borrower’s interest rate will depend upon the specific characteristics of borrower’s loan transaction, credit profile and other criteria. Contact Guaranteed Rate for more information and up to date rates.
Guaranteed Rate, Inc. is a private corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware. It has no affiliation with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Department of Agriculture or any other government agency.
United Service Organizations, Inc. (USO) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization (EIN/Tax ID: 13-1610451) and not part of the Department of Defense (DoD).