A VA approved lender; Mortgage Research Center, LLC – NMLS #1907. Not affiliated with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs or any government agency. Not available to New York consumers.
We developed the book to give prospective borrowers an insider’s look at VA loans and the process that takes them from initial contact to closing day. Readers get expert tips and advice from the country’s largest dedicated VA lender. They also receive a buyer-friendly education in a sometimes complicated world that can trip up even seasoned real estate veterans.
Featuring simple, straightforward language and voices of previous VA borrowers, this resource helps ensure service members are in the best position possible to maximize the benefits earned by their service.
Writing the book was a months-long project for Chris Birk, content development director for Veterans United and a former journalist. He interviewed dozens of in-house VA loan experts and Veterans United customers and consumed a mountain of paperwork and data.
Chris recently spoke with Veterans United Network about the project and the need for continued financial education for veterans and military families.
VUN: Why write an entire book on VA loans when veterans can simply type “VA loans” into an Internet search engine?
Chris: I’ll give you three reasons. First, there’s so much misleading and flat-out false information on the web regarding the VA loan program. It’s tough for active military members, veterans and military families to separate fact from fiction. Two, even when you find credible information it’s usually brief and often interwoven with a call to action -- “fill out this form” or “call this number.” We wanted to provide prospective borrowers with a much more detailed and in-depth resource. Three, this isn’t a web page or even a flimsy brochure. This is something we can hand out to military families, real estate agents, community lenders and even elected officials to help them better understand this powerful home loan program, which has helped more than 18 million veterans become homeowners. In today’s tight lending climate, this long-cherished program is more important than ever. Veterans need good information to make good decisions.
VUN: As you know, I recently purchased a home using my VA loan benefits. I work for a VA lender and still came across things I didn’t know about. How well-prepared is the average VA borrower?
Chris: As with so many things in life, the answer is: It depends. On the whole, I think most military borrowers aren’t sure about their benefits, their credit score and what they need in order to achieve the dream of homeownership. Military members face some unique financial challenges given the nature of their service and sacrifice. That can easily put them at a disadvantage when it comes time to purchase a home.
VUN: Is there one thing they should know above all?
Chris: There are so many things they need to know in order to take true advantage of this amazing loan program. But I think I can boil it down to a pair of ideas. One is that qualified borrowers can purchase a home with no money down. It’s difficult to comprehend just how incredible this benefit is in the current economic climate. Given that the VA limits what veterans can pay in closing costs, borrowers can actually buy a home today without losing a dollar up front. The second is the importance of having good credit and fiscal responsibility. This can take time, patience and diligence, but good credit is one of the keys to securing a VA loan. And the higher your score, the lower your interest rate.
VUN: Do you really think anyone will read a 300-page book about VA loans?
Chris: Other than my mother? It’s possible. It’s my hope that veterans and military families find this helpful, whether it’s from skimming a few pages or reading it cover to cover. This is a small way to give back to those who have given so much. The more veterans know about their home lending options, the more certain and secure their future will be. Those who have served deserve nothing less.
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