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Home Loans

Large home with for sale sign

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Home

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Location

Probably the most important factor is where you want to live? Are you moving somewhere in the same town/area or across the country? Are you moving for work, will it be short term or is it your forever home? There are lots of things to consider when looking at potential homes. Once you know the area you want to live in, its important to look at the factors within the area that may affect your decision.

  • Is it a safe neighborhood? Do you feel comfortable and okay with your children being out and about?
  • How far is it from your work? Do you need to drive 20+ minutes each way or is it a quick 5 minute drive.
  • Close to good schools? If you have children or plan to in the future it’s important to see which school district you fall under, if you like it and how far it is?
  • Are there grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and other things close by? Do you want to be living in a booming city or far away from the noise?

Definitely important to consider the location and the impacts of it. If you are closer to work does that mean you’re closer to a noisy airport or far away and far from grocery stores? Think of what you want to be close to and if that’s possible in the area you like.

Family Size

How large of a home do you need? Is it just you and a significant other, or do you hope to grow your family in the future? It’s good to plan ahead and understand what your future few years will look like. This will help you decide what type of home style you want. Something less trendy and more kid friendly, or no kids and super hip and fun.
There are also other things to consider within the home. Do you want every kid to have their own room or do you want them to share? Whatever you prefer there are options out there for you. Some other questions to ask yourself are;

  • Are there enough bathrooms?
  • Do you have space for an office or guest room, if you want one?
  • Can you renovate in the future?

Homes can be very expensive, but the number one regret of homebuyers is not buying a big enough home. Plan ahead and make sure you have enough space for your loved ones.

Personal Needs

Everyone has a different style and prefers different layouts and home types. Recognizing your family’s needs are important. Do you want a nice kitchen and your husband wants a nice garage? Everyone’s values should be on the table and respected.
If you are active, or have a dog, maybe a larger yard is your priority? Or if you are a big cook, have a spacious kitchen. Do you enjoy entertaining? A large open space is helpful. Do you have a lot of stuff? Have enough closets and storage spaces.
Another important aspect depending on the area is parking. Less available in big cities, do you want a lot of parking spaces with a driveway or is street parking okay?
Everyone has their own preferences and it’s important to find a home that can check all or almost all your wishlist needs.

Costs

Pretty self-explanatory, but what is your budget? Does your current lifestyle support the mortgage on your home? Will you be able to afford traveling, shopping, and other expenses you incur. Does your work provide any support on areas to live in and a housing stipend? There are lots of other bills that come with a home; water, power, electricity, etc. Can you pay these as well, not living paycheck to paycheck.
Here at VA Home Loans, we can help you if you are needing the extra money to purchase your dream home.

Do you love it?

Do you think it’s your dream home? Or at least love most of it? If you don’t, keep looking. The house hunting process can be scary and difficult but it’s worth it if you find your dream home by waiting. The housing market moves quickly, so finding a trustworthy and smart real estate agent can be very beneficial. Don’t sit back and let your home get snatched, make smart decisions and review your wants and needs in a home.
Looking at all the factors of a home, you can avoid making some common home buying mistakes. Remember to follow your heart and make your own decisions. It’s easier to afford thanks to a VA home loan. Contact us today if you need help with anything!

a woman holding a bottle and glass with cardboard boxes behind

7 Biggest Mistakes New Homebuyers Make

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One of the biggest milestones of life is buying your first home! However, the rewarding experience of purchasing a home can also be quite difficult and extensive. To make sure you get the best value for a home you find desirable, VA Home Loans has created a list of do’s and don’ts to make the process as easy as possible.

Don’t Settle

An overwhelmed home buyer tends to make more mistakes when they are too focused on the idea of buying. Even if you have enough funds, it is not always the best decision to settle for a home that you are not positive about. Because currently buying a home in the Boise metropolitan area has become too expensive for the average consumer, there are still some financial advantages to renting a home. Owning your home comes with external responsibilities and expenses such as major utility bill costs, costly and untimely maintenance, and property taxes. If you are not prepared to take on these responsibilities, buying a home may not be the best option for you.

Don’t Overestimate

Like purchasing clothes at the store or certain groceries, it is not smart to reach for a price that doesn’t make you comfortable. Using a home valuation calculator will help you budget for your future so you don’t make a purchase that will hurt you in the long run. Especially in an exploding housing market, reaching for a price that isn’t feasible for you is one of the biggest mistakes first-time homebuyers make. When looking for a property, make sure to factor in location, the environment of the neighborhood, and your attachment to the property.

Don’t Ignore the Market

Ignoring the housing market in the area you want to buy is one of the biggest mistakes a new home buyer can make. If the housing market is skyrocketing, it may not be the right time to buy a home because deposits and interest rates could be higher. If the market is just too expensive, it is beneficial to look into the rental market. However, rental rates often rely on the market too. Although purchasing a home in a competitive market is not always a deal-breaker, it is crucial to learn the market before you make your decision.

Don’t Let Emotions Take Advantage

Because the home buying process is so extensive, it is easy to let emotions get the best of you. Every home you tour will have its disadvantages so being too picky or too relaxed with your choice can affect your future. Don’t risk passing up a logical choice or making a premature jump into an uninformed choice.

Find an Agent

Finding a real estate agent when buying a home is best when you need a little help throughout the process. Similar to selling a home, agents have a lot more connections that will speed up the search. To ensure you purchase your desired home at an advantageous price, hire your own agent!

Budget Correctly

Accounting for other expenses is pivotal during the home buying process. Finding a mortgage calculator will help you budget your housing expenses, and if you hire an agent for your search they will likely help you calculate your monthly costs. It’s a great way to project a long-term budget based on your current salary, but it doesn’t factor in the other expenses that come with owning a home such as utilities, regular maintenance, and home improvements. VA Home Loans can not stress the importance of budgeting for the future.

Receive a Professional Home Inspection

Professional home inspections are a small investment but often see a large return. Although the house you are closing in on may look good externally, there could still be underlying issues within. A home inspector will inform you of current and future repairs that may need to be done. This will allow you to budget for the future so you know exactly what improvements are due in the near future and what issues require immediate maintenance.

Home Loan Specialists

VA Home Loans specializes in home loans for service members. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or not, if you qualify, you can use the benefits earned through your military service to get a loan for $0 down. If you have questions about the world of VA Home Loans, contact us for a consultation to determine if a VA Home Loan is right for you and your family.

Family of four walking down a grass trail.

Top Areas In Boise For You and Your Family To Reside In

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With the Treasure Valley and Boise Metropolitan area’s housing markets booming, now might be the time to house hunt before properties get filled and inflation continues to increase pricing. At VA Home Loans of Idaho, we hope you put that newly acquired loan to the best use possible, which is why we compiled a list of great neighborhoods for you and your family to become a part of!

East End

Coming back from deployment, one might seek an environment that thrives under an identity of comfort, family, and safety. Heck, that’s an ideal neighborhood for any family or individual! East End has quickly become a popular destination for families around the state, along with residents coming from out of state. From the family-friendly environment to the public schools that are a hop skip and a jump away, East End has the attributes many people seek. According to Niche.com, East End is seen as a fantastic neighborhood, receiving an “A” rating from the market leader in connecting colleges and schools with students and families. With hundreds of reviews giving the nearby schools 4 to 5 stars, one can see how this is an attractive element to choosing this neighborhood.

North End

Taking a slight detour from East End, we look further out towards the foothills of Boise where North End lies. Amongst the roughly 12,000 people who live in this residency, there remains a common denominator that seems to hover around the neighborhood being friendly and being a part of a tight knit community. With a strong number of people within North End, one can see how creating a positive atmosphere will make your living experience even greater. In this lovely neighborhood, family meet and greets are quite common, and the kids in the neighborhood tend to all get along. Furthermore, if you want to leave your child with his friends while you slip out the back door, there are plenty of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and more close by North End! It also helps to mention that this neighborhood remains close to the foothills of Boise, which are home to beautiful hikes, breathtaking views, and if your timing and positioning is good enough… remarkable sunsets!
We hope you reach out to us about qualifying for a VA home loan so you can capture all Boise has to offer! Not just for you, but your family as well!

Southeast Boise

Do you enjoy sports, hiking, and entertainment close by? It just so happens Southeast Boise checks all those boxes. Just a few minutes away from Boise State, blue and orange bleeds in the community, making Boise State games quite the temptation! However, not everyone is a football fan, let alone a Bronco fan… to each their own! Luckily for you and your family, this neighborhood is tightly knitted into the community, being only a few minutes away from the grocery stores, restaurants, and parks that surround the campus. To add the cherry on top, right next to your house resides one of Boise’s most heavily populated attractions, the Boise river! On a scorching hot day, the Boise river provides tubes (you can also bring your own) for people all day as they enjoy the six-mile float down the shifty river. With a few sections that feel like a white water rafting trip, this river definitely adds some excitement to the mix.
At VA Home Loans of Idaho, we want you to be able to enjoy all these amazing amenities the Treasure Valley and Boise Metro have to offer! Call now to ask us about what loans we have for you and if you’re eligible to qualify for one!

Idaho is a fantastic place to live, and has only seen an increase in residency! People have begun to realize what this great state has to offer, and we want you to as well! The VA process does not have to feel like a burden, which is why we believe you won’t regret reaching out to us for your loan needs! Call today, or reach out to receive a quote from Devin Farhner and our team at VA Home Loans of Idaho!

Husband and Wife holding hands in the woods.

3 Types of VA Home Loans

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At VA Home Loans of Idaho, we understand how there may be some questions that arise before applying for a VA loan. Our job is to help you through the mortgage loan process, making that transition as easy and as stress-free as possible. Before filing for a VA loan, one should know about the multiple types of loans that exist:

  • Purchase loans
  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL)
  • Cash-out refinance loans

Having more knowledge about these loans might help make the decision process easier. At VA Home Loans of Idaho, we wish to provide you with expert knowledge on these types of loans so you’re confident in which route is best for you!

Purchase Loans

Wondering if applying for a VA purchase loan is the right decision? The number of benefits it comes with might convince you! With this specific type of loan, the perks coming with it include no down payment, better terms and interest rates, fewer closing costs, and the ability to receive no penalty fee in case you pay off your loan early. The usage of the loan can also be used towards purchasing a single-family home (up to 4 units), building a new home, adding or improving to your home, along with being able to buy a manufactured home or lot! Although this seems pretty advantageous, do keep in mind that there will be some costs that are associated with this loan. One of the expenses you may run into is the VA funding fee. This fee is simply a one-time payment that helps lower the cost of the loan for taxpayers in the United States. Lastly, note that your lender will charge an interest rate on the loan along with a closing fee.
If a VA purchase loan seems like the path for you, give us a call! Our team is more than happy to help you and your family through the process!

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans

This other type of VA loan specifically targets reducing your monthly mortgage payments along with the interest rates in which you pay. However, one can only use this loan – referred to as a “streamline loan” or a “VA to VA” – if you already have an existing VA-backed home loan. By using an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), it can help put some needed cash back in your pocket by converting your adjusted or variable interest rate to one that’s fixed! Like most loans, the process of applying takes multiple steps:
Find a lender
Give your lender any needed information (Certificate of Eligibility used to get your VA-backed home loan)
Pay your closing costs and follow the lenders closing process to claim your IRRRL loan
This specific type of streamline refinance is a good choice for military homeowners looking for a quicker process and less documentation… resulting in a speedier application process! If you’re still wondering if it’s the right decision for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at VA Home Loans of Idaho!

Cash-Out Refinance Loans

Unlike an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, a Cash-out refinance loan can be used without needing a VA-backed home loan… assuming you still meet the eligibility requirements for the loan itself. This type of loan is typically applied for when needing to refinance your current mortgage or when needing extra cash, granting you the ability to draw upon your home’s equity for cash. For military homeowners, this allows them to use the extra cash on home improvement projects, education purposes, pay off debt, and other reasons. However, do keep in mind that most loans also contain drawbacks. In this case, military homeowners applying for this loan should know that the interest rates will most likely be higher due to banks seeing this type of refinance option as a riskier route. Along with that, applicants will see a stricter application process and should keep in mind that this type of loan requires a VA funding fee as a security for the government-backed loan. Nonetheless, this choice is still a great option if you’re looking to cash in on your home’s equity for whatever need that arises.

We understand how there may be some questions that arise when applying for a VA loan. At VA Home Loans of Idaho, we want to ensure that you have a friend in this process, and want to help make this transition as straightforward as can be. Reach out to us to see if a VA loan is the right choice for you and your family!

Hot air balloons landing in Ann Morrison park in Boise

Neighborhood Highlight: Places to Buy a House in Idaho

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As we all know, Idaho is becoming a more and more popular state to migrate to from out of state. The Boise Metro area is usually the target for most newcomers, but there are so many other great places around the Gem State that might surprise you! Whether you are planning on securing a VA Home Loan to move here from another state or just relocating to a different city, these are some of the up-and-coming neighborhoods and cities in Idaho as well as some of the ones we know and love.

Tyhee

Tyhee was rated #2 in Best Places to Buy a House in Idaho by niche.com. This Southeast Idaho town has a median home value of $236,500, and most people in the town own their homes rather than renting. There are a few good public schools in the area, and it is in close proximity to Pocatello and the Idaho State University satellite campus there. The population of Tyhee is around 1,266, so if you are looking for that small-town, rural feel, this is the place for you!

East End, Boise

The East End is becoming one of the most sought-after neighborhoods within Boise’s city limits. It is a more dense suburban area with many families choosing to make it their home. If you don’t want to make the quick 10-minute drive to downtown, East End offers a variety of things to do including bars, restaurants, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities. The median home price here is $430,639 and there are lots of highly rated schools in the area. If you are looking for a variety in style of homes that still offer that suburban feel, you might want to do some research on the East End.

Ketchum

Do you like all kinds of outdoor activities? The Ketchum/Sun Valley area might be the place for you! Located near the middle of the state, this small suburban area is great for people who want the hybrid of a town surrounded by nature. In the winter, the nearby ski resorts are up and running, and in the summer there are many hiking and mountain biking trails available. Ketchum has a median home value of about $621,700 and about 2,800 residents. If you aren’t really the outdoorsy type, there are still plenty of things to do around the area and many highly-rated public schools.

Need a Loan?

If you are a veteran or active-duty looking to move to or around Idaho, give VA Home Loans Idaho a call. Our experienced loan officers will work with you and your unique situation to find the best loan option for you!

A brown and white cottage home with American flags in the front lawn

VA Home Loan Qualifications

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If you are an active-duty or veteran military service member considering buying a home, you might be looking into a VA Home Loan for its many benefits. But the question still comes down to: “How do I know if I qualify?”
If you’re unfamiliar with VA Home Loans, they are backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and serve to benefit active-duty and veteran service members and their spouses. Some of the main perks are no down payment requirement, more flexible credit requirements, and lower interest rates. Read on to find out if you are eligible to apply and qualify for a VA Home Loan.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply for a loan, you must be entitled to a Certificate of Eligibility based on your service in the military. Some of the main ways to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility are:

  • Completing 90 days of active service or six years in the National Guard or Selected Service
  • Meeting length-of-service requirements for both active-duty and veterans

Financial Qualifications

After receiving your application, approved lenders will review your credit, debt, and income to determine both potential interest rates and whether or not you qualify for a VA Home Loan.
Although the VA does not set a minimum credit requirement, most lenders will set their own minimum standards so it is best to contact your lender and ask about their specific requirements. Typically, a down payment is also not required when purchasing a new home.

VA Loan Refinancing

The requirements are a little different when it comes to refinancing. There are two main types of refinancing: Streamline and Cash-Out. Streamline Refinancing focuses more on lowering your interest rates and payments, while Cash-Out allows you to tap into your home’s equity and put funds in your pocket for home improvements or emergency situations.

What Are You Waiting For?

If a VA Home Loan or Refinance sounds like something you might be interested in learning more about, don’t hesitate to contact the team at VA Home Loans Idaho. We will work with you to answer all of your questions and help you find the best fit for your unique situation!

Woman carrying moving boxes

From Securing a Loan to Moving into Your Home: The Step-by-Step Process

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The whole home buying process might seem overwhelming or confusing, but when it is laid out and split up into a few steps, those feelings start to subside. Below, we’ve written a step-by-step guide to help you plan out your next move and take some of the stress off your shoulders!

1: Find Your New Home

Choosing the right home for you can arguably be one of the most difficult parts of the entire process. You need to make sure that it offers you everything you need to have and nothing that you don’t want, while at the same time keeping it within your budget. There are plenty of resources available online to help you choose the right property if you don’t know where to start.

2: Secure Your VA Home Loan

Once you find your new home, the next step is to acquire a home loan. If you or your spouse have served or are presently serving in the U.S. military you may be eligible for a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan, a special mortgage loan guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the federal government.
VA Home Loans Idaho is an approved lender, and we have worked to make the process of securing a loan as simple as possible, creating a personalized mortgage option that works best for you.

3: Prepare For the Move

Now that you have a house that you love and a customized loan to go with it, it’s time to prepare for moving day! Think about whether you will need a moving company to help you transfer your possessions to the new house or not, and consider going through all of your belongings to see if there is anything that you can get rid of. One of the best parts about moving into a new home is decluttering and reorganizing your things, so don’t hesitate to start early!

4: Move In and Enjoy!

After all of that preparation, the big day is finally here. Hopefully, you have already gotten almost everything packed up and ready to go, which should make this a pretty stress-free day. One of the most important things to remember on move-in day? Have fun! The great part about relocating to a new house is that you now have a blank canvas, and you get to customize it however you want.

If you are looking to purchase a new home in Idaho, contact us today! At VA Home Loans, our top priority is your priorities. We want to make sure there is complete transparency throughout the VA loan process, and we are here to help guide you every step of the way.

White and brown home with for sale sign.

How to Get Started on Buying a New Home

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If you’ve never had to look at buying a new house, it can be somewhat of a confusing process. There are certain steps you have to take, and some of them have to be done in a certain order. If you’re a military veteran and are looking at purchasing your first home, read below about the steps involved to start seriously browsing.

Determine Your Price Range

The first step in deciding on a home is to figure out what your price range is. While you may be able to secure a loan, it’s important to remember that you’ll have to pay it off eventually. A good way to get a general idea is the Affordability Calculator. This tool will give you a good idea of what price range you should be looking in. This is also a good time to consider how much of a down payment you can afford because typically you will have to make a down payment of 5-20%. Veterans who receive a VA Home Loan, however, aren’t responsible for a down payment.

Discuss Loan Options

The next step is to be approved for your VA Home Loan. VA Home Loans are for active and retired service members as well as their spouses. They are easier to acquire than a conventional loan due to fewer qualification requirements, and because they don’t require a down payment are much more helpful to the veteran borrower. This makes it so many more veterans are able to purchase a home. You can get an online quote on the VA Home Loan website, or you can contact an officer to speak about your options.

Hire a Realtor

It can be very important to find a good realtor when you’re looking for your home. With a realtor, you can be very involved in the process, or somewhat hands-off if you’d like. You can give them a list of qualities you want in a home and a general location, and they’ll find you a list. Or, you can bring the realtor homes you like and they can help you with negotiation and other purchasing activities. Finding the right realtor to work with can be hard. Luckily, there are sites that have reviews for realtors, which can help in slimming down the pool. There are many realtors that have a background in military service, so if that’s something you are looking for, there are plenty of options. It’s always a good idea to meet with a realtor to decide if they’re the right fit for you, though!

You’re Ready for Your New Home

After you’ve determined your price range, secured your VA Home Loan, and hired a realtor, you’ll be ready to find your new home and make an offer on it. Buying a home can be a stressful process, but calling VA Home Loans of Idaho to discuss your loan options as a veteran can help ease that stress. Give them a call today and discuss your loan for your new home!

Large, brown wood house with green grass

Your Priority List After Moving In

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Assuming you’ve secured a VA Home Loan and are about to move into your new home, chances are that there are going to be a few things that you need to change, update, and fix before everything is set up how you like it.
Moving into a new home can be very messy with a sea of boxes piling up and what seems like deliveries coming every hour. The best way to stay organized during this time is to make a priority list of what needs to be done once you move in.

First

If you didn’t do it before you moved in, the first things you should do are:

  • Transferring utilities – sometimes, utility companies can get behind on transferring their services to you, so it’s good to do your research ahead of time.
  • Setting up internet and TV – the same goes for internet; there are online tools to help you pick a new internet provider or transfer your old one over to the new house.
  • Changing your address – make sure you have submitted an application to the post office so that your mail gets forwarded to your new house before anything gets sent to the old address. Also, don’t forget to update your information with the DMV!

These first steps should be at the top of the priority list to make sure that you have everything up and running so you can move on to the next steps!

Second

Now it’s time for the bigger things. Electrical, plumbing, and other core components of the house should be next on the priority list. While their functionality was (hopefully) checked before you moved in, there might be some things that you want to change or update if you’re planning any kind of remodel in the future.
If you are not highly educated on the practice, the best thing to do is to call an electrician or plumber and explain to them what your plan is to get an idea of what they would have to do to make it a reality. This is an important step to get done so that you don’t have to move everything around after you get settled in your new home.

Third

These are the smaller things that do not require immediate attention. Painting, updating fixtures, and putting the finishing touches on the house fit into this category – this is the opportunity to personalize your new home and make it the way you want. Because you already have the foundation of the first two steps done, this is where the real fun comes in!

Whether your new home needs a little or a lot of work, following these general steps when moving in will help you efficiently get your projects done. If you are considering refinancing or purchasing a new home, contact us today and we can help make the transition easier!

A hand holding up an American flag.

How VA Home Loans Have Changed Over Time

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With a new decade comes new things for VA home loans. In this new year, we are seeing many changes for veterans and their families. In the past, VA home loans have had certain restrictions that are now being changed to best fit the lives of veterans. But what is changing? And how is it going to help the veterans?

The Changes

One of the biggest changes in this new year is loan limits. There used to be loan limits on VA home loans, but as of 2020 those no longer exist. The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 went into effect at the beginning of this year. This act has made many different changes, including changes to VA home loans specifically. It adds to the improvement of all veterans included in these benefits, but also allows for no limits to these loans. This does not mean that anyone can get any size loan they want. Veterans will still have to go through the correct circumstances in order to receive the amount desired. For example, you still need to have a sufficient income in order to receive the desired loan amount. Another thing is that the funding fee is going to increase depending on your down payment. But with this new act in place, it allows for more funding which only helps our veterans not only in Boise, Idaho but also across the nation as well. These changes are positive in the VA home loan world, but for more information on this contact a specialist today to get all of your questions answered and your quote started.

The Need To Know

There are a few things that you need to know along with the recent changes regarding VA home loans. Things are different depending on the area that you live in and the amount that you are allowed to borrow. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to this type of loan:

  1. You must have a minimum credit score of about 620 for most VA home loans to approve you.
  2. You’re either active duty military or a veteran, honorably discharged.

These are not the only things to keep in mind when looking into this type of loan, so make sure you check local requirements and national requirements to see if you qualify.