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23148593 - cheerful couple getting keys of their new homeThe VA home loan program has many benefits. One you may not know about: There’s no specific waiting period after a short sale to apply for a VA loan. Other home loan programs have waiting periods of three or more years after a short sale to apply for another mortgage.

A short sale is when you sell your home for less than the balance remaining on your mortgage. Short sales can provide a way for families with real estate issues to get a fresh start and avoid foreclosure. But selling your home via a short sale can make purchasing another home right away difficult.

The VA home loan program has flexible underwriting guidelines that can be helpful for families who have had past financial difficulties. It’s one of the ways that the loan program, designed for service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses, makes home buying easier. The VA home loan program also allows many borrowers to make a zero percent downpayment. There’s also no private mortgage insurance, which borrowers who make less than a 20 percent downpayment typically must pay. That nifty feature, along with a low mortgage rate, helps keep the monthly payment on VA loans as low as possible.

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34212034_SWhen it comes to real estate, the summer home-buying season is the busiest, with many families wanting to be settled in their new homes before school starts. This year, however, home buying and selling activity is expected to remain strong through the last quarter of the year.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in late summer or early fall, know that there likely will be a smaller group of potential buyers than there were in June and July. However, those purchasing homes in the fall are often more serious, which can more than make up for the paucity of potential buyers.

Before you put your home on the market, make sure your property is clean and tidy. If you have trees that lose their leaves, keep up with the raking. Ideally, there will be no leaves on the ground or dead or dormant plants when a prospective buyer comes by. If it’s still warm enough to use patio furniture, make sure they are still in good condition and clean. Another option would be to put any outdoor items in storage.

If you have already moved out of your home, make sure you keep your thermostat at a pleasant temperature. No one wants to be too hot or too cold while touring a home. Also, make sure your home has adequate lighting and if your home is shown in the late afternoon or evening that lights are used. Timers are an easy solution.

Lastly, keep seasonal decorations to a minimum. A bit of fall decor here and there is fine, but avoid 20 pumpkins by your front door or a Halloween skeleton hanging from the front porch.


41263255_SWhen purchasing a home, your mortgage pre-approval is based on your current financial situation. That’s why once you are pre-approved, you should avoid making big changes to your finances. Here are several things you’ll want to avoid doing while you’re in the process of financing a home purchase:

1. Taking on more debt. Talk to your lender first before you open any new credit accounts, request a credit line increase or co-sign on a loan. As a general rule, you’ll want to avoid taking on any new debt before you close on your home.

2. Changing your job. Your pre-approval is based on a number of factors, including your employment status and pay.

3. Making a big purchase. Check with your lender before making any big purchase, either with credit or with cash. Wait to purchase furniture and other big-ticket items.

4. Making late payments. Stay up to date on all of your credit obligations and utility payments. Now’s not the time to have overdraft your checking account.


30674275 - businesswoman hands pointing at business documentThe property disclosure report is an important document in any real estate transaction. In it, sellers must reveal any issues relating to a property that could negatively affect its value.

That’s why it’s so important for home sellers to set aside some time to fill out these forms thoroughly and accurately. Sellers are required to disclose any physical issues with a home, such as a leaky window or basement that’s prone to flooding. If the home was treated for termites, that should be on the form. Anything the seller knows about that could affect the property’s value or the home buyer’s enjoyment should be included when filling out a seller’s disclosure form.

These forms aren’t a substitute for a home inspection, of course; home buyers still should have a thorough inspection of any property they are thinking about purchasing. But buyers also should carefully read the property disclosure report as well. While disclosure statements are designed to protect home buyers from purchasing a home with hidden defects, they also can protect sellers from future legal action if the buyer alleges the seller hid a defect in the property. The bottom line: If you know it, disclose it.


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When it comes to buying a home, there are two very important people who can help guide you through the process. The first is your lender. Your loan officer can help you determine how much home you can afford and help you review your loan options. If you qualify for a home loan, your lender can provide you with a pre-approval letter, which allows you to start shopping for a home and making offers. Most sellers will not accept formal offers from buyers who are not pre-approved for a home loan.

The second person who will help guide you through the home buying process is your real estate agent. Most home buyers work with an agent. Having a real estate agent by your side can help you make educated choices among the homes you view. When buying a home, it’s easy to let your emotions influence your decisions. Your agent can provide you solid advice based on years of working in real estate to help guide you through the home buying process and help you make the best choice for you and your family.


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