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Shirley Mueller (NMLS# 336103) is a senior mortgage originator
with First Choice Loan Services Inc. Mueller has originated more
than 1,200 VA mortgages since 2003. She regularly helps deployed
military personnel who are returning home or those with change
of station orders. Mueller also works with veterans who have
military retirement and disability income. She serves veterans in
Texas via her website ( valoanstexas.com) and recently started a Florida VA loan office
( valoansflorida.com). Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
about their benefits
could save them
thousands of dollars
and help cement a
Additionally, a seller can pay up to 4 percent of the loan amount in clos-ing-cost concessions, which can go toward most items on a settlement
statement, including the veteran’s homeowner’s insurance premium or
escrow account for taxes and insurance. That being said, the net proceeds
of the sale to the seller will be their bottom line, which probably needs to
reflect the market value for the veteran’s offer to be accepted.
You and the Realtor should be savvy about positioning seller-paid closing
costs when making an offer that will use VA loan financing. Positioning
seller-paid closing costs as something the “seller has to pay” because the
buyer is using VA financing isn’t likely to be successful. A better tactic might
be to position it as veteran buyers using benefits they have earned by
serving their country. Even then, be sure the offer reflects the seller’s net
proceeds in the context of the current market.
Benefits for disabled veterans
In addition to the exemption from paying the funding fee available to veterans with a 10 percent or greater disability rating, disabled veterans also may
be eligible to apply for Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grants to make
modifications to their residences. This benefit helps veterans with some
service-related disabilities to construct or adapt a home to help them
accommodate their disability and live more independently. More information
on SAH grants can be found on the va.gov website.
Disabled veterans also may be eligible for property tax exemptions from
the state where their home is located. This benefit is, of course, dependent
on state and county property tax laws. In some states, such as Texas and
Florida, veterans with a 100 percent disability rating can be fully exempt
from paying property taxes. In these cases, some lenders won’t even collect
escrow for the property taxes, which results in significantly lower closing
costs and monthly payments.
Veterans with less than a 100 percent disability rating may still be exempt
from some portion of their property taxes. Your veteran borrowers will need
to research their specific benefits, but the bottom line is educating disabled
veterans about their benefits could save them thousands of dollars and help
cement a lifetime relationship with those borrowers.
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Having a little basic knowledge about VA loans can go a long way in helping
your veteran clients utilize their benefits when buying a home. This will subsequently save them a lot of money at closing and on their ongoing mortgage payments.
We didn’t cover all of the myths about VA loans here, so you may need
to do a little research or consult a VA loan expert if a loan question arises
about a specific veteran borrower’s circumstance. Working with veterans,
helping them utilize their benefits to the fullest extent to buy a home, allows you to give back to those who have sacrificed for our country, while
at the same time showing your value to a growing niche of borrowers. n