What Veterans Need to Know About Real Estate

Tim Lynch
Tim Lynch November 7, 2022

Veterans Day provides the chance for our community to honor those who have served a higher calling. Veterans face many issues after the conclusion of their service, and one of the more significant issues is home ownership. Are there still good loan options for veterans? What sort of things should veterans be looking out for when they are getting ready to invest in real estate? 

 

To discuss these issues, we turned to Tim Lynch, an agent with Greene Realty Group and a veteran of the Navy. Tim was born and raised in the greater Olympia area. After completing his military service, he earned his Masters's Degree in Business Administration. Real Estate had always been a passion of his, and in 2014, he decided it was time to start his own business. Serving others is important to him in real estate and as a veteran of the U.S. Navy. 

We talked to him about his time in the military and the options available to veterans when investing in real estate. 

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Q: Are there still good loan options for veterans? What are they? 

A: When you compare the VA loan to a conventional loan, it's typically about half a percent less. Now it's based on factors like your credit score and everything, but if you compare apples to apples, a similar credit score for a conventional loan and a similar credit score and income for a veteran, it'll be about half a percent less on the interest rate. Additionally, the minimum credit score for a VA loan is quite a bit lower than it is for conventional rates. Another great benefit to the VA loan, most people are aware of, but you can get into a house for zero down.

So you can get into a house with no money out of your pocket. The lending limits have also been changed. Those have grown in Thurston County. The maximum VA loan amount you'll find online is now $647,200. However, some lenders have the ability to go higher than that with the zero down.

So doing your due diligence as a VA buyer and your realtor needs to make sure that they're fully educated on everything they can have is really important.

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Q: What advice would you give to veterans who are looking to enter the real estate market? 

A: All too often, I see a lot of misunderstandings. I get questions from sellers when we receive VA offers. "Aren't VA inspections so much more difficult and so much more strict?" they'll ask. Or they'll say things like, "I'm really nervous about accepting a VA loan because I think that inspection's going to be really difficult."

That's just not the case. I mean, just like with any home, conventional purchase or cash purchase, you're going to have a home inspection. The buyer's going to do a home inspection.

Another big misconception is that some lenders don't have the requirement of the seller to pay the buyer's escrow and their tax service at closing for the VA. A lot of sellers and their agents believe that the seller must pay these, and that's not always the case either.

So make sure you have the team behind you that knows how you can benefit from a VA loan and how best to present that. It's been a tough couple of years to present those to sellers when they're receiving multiple offers, cash offers, and 50% down conventional offers, but those times are seemingly going away for us. I think as things go back to normal, VA buyers are going to be just as strong as anybody else here.

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Trust your agent

You should have somebody on your side who knows the ins and outs of a VA loan so that when the agent for a seller comes back with some of these myths, you have a fighter on your side who can help you out there.

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Tim Lynch
Written by: Tim Lynch