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VA Loans

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Answering Popular VA Refinancing Questions

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You may have heard of VA Refinancing before, but there are always questions that we hear about what it really is, what you can use your cash or savings from refinancing for, and how you get qualified. So, we are writing this article to answer those questions and give you a better understanding of our refinancing process at VA Home Loans Idaho.

What is VA Refinancing?

For those veteran and active military homeowners looking to reduce their rates or get some extra cash in their pocket, VA Refinancing might be the right choice for you. We offer two main programs to help you obtain the funds you need when you need them.

What Can You Refinance For?

The Streamline Refinance option is for people looking to lower their monthly mortgage payments. It allows military homeowners to take advantage of lower interest rates which will, in turn, lower the overall monthly payments.
The Cash-Out Refinance option, on the other hand, allows you to cash in on some of your home’s equity in the situation that you need cash in your pocket right away. The funds acquired through this program can be used for whatever needs might come up, including home updates, repairs, or renovations. But, the payout doesn’t just need to go back into your home! You can also use the money in the event of an emergency or to pay off any outstanding bills you might have.

How Do You Refinance?

Now that you have an idea of what VA Loan Refinancing is and the options available, the next step is to take action. On our website, you can request a quote for refinancing by answering a few initial questions about you and your home and one of our well-qualified team members will call you. From there, you will discuss options and find the best solution for your unique situation.

Is VA Refinancing Right For You?

If you are looking to save a significant amount of money on your monthly mortgage payments or just need some cash in your pocket for paying off bills, home upgrades, emergencies, or other needs, then Veterans Affairs loan refinancing might be right for you!
At VA Home Loans Idaho, we know what it’s like to be a part of the military lifestyle, and we want to help others who have served get the financial security they need. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have!

Veterans standing in a line with two flags

The Best Resources Available for Veterans

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As a Veteran, you gain access to many great resources for the years of service you gave to our country. You may not even be aware of all the benefits you have access to if you’re a veteran. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top benefits you can be taking advantage of as a Veteran.

Home Loans

One of the top resources that will benefit you as a veteran is Veterans’ Home Loans. VA home loans provide veterans a way to receive a home loan at significantly lower interest rates than a typical loan, and will not require you to make a down payment when purchasing a home. VA Home Loans of Idaho offers 3 different types of home loans: purchase loans, interest rate reduction refinance loans, and cash-out refinance loans. So no matter what kind of home loan you’re seeking, VA Home Loans of Idaho has you covered at a low-interest rate.

Health Care

Another great resource available for Veterans is Veterans’ Health Care. VA health care offers many health-related benefits for veterans they might not have access to otherwise. If you qualify, you gain access to your specific health care package for your circumstances. This can include care such as health exams, immunization, surgeries, dialysis, and many other treatments.

Education

If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for several different education benefits. The GI Bill is one great educational benefit for Veterans. There are several different GI Bills you can apply for, but the basis of all of them is to help pay for your schooling after serving your country. There are even options for attending foreign schools and still having it paid for at least partially by the United States. Your local VA office can help you figure out how to take advantage of these great educational benefits and will have you back in school in no time.

VA Home Loans of Idaho

At VA Home Loans of Idaho, we know what it means to be a veteran. Our approved lenders have a plethora of experience taking care of veterans’ needs and will help you in any way that they can. Give VA Home Loans of Idaho a call today to get started on your home loan process, or with any questions you may have about the loans!

House in the foothills at night time

3 Myths About VA Home Loans Debunked

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VA Home Loans are something that a lot of people don’t understand. Because of this, it’s easy for a lot of rumors and myths to start circulating about them. For example, what is the difference between a regular loan and a VA Loan? Once you learn about the VA Loan enough you’ll realize that these myths are just not true. Here are 4 common myths about VA Home Loans debunked, so you don’t have to worry about them!

Home Style

One common misconception about the VA Home Loan is that you can only buy a conventional home that is already built. With a VA loan, you will be able to buy a home or condo, or even choose to build your own custom home. Not only do you have these options, but if you wish to remodel the home that you already own, you have the option to refinance through the VA. There are even ways to reduce interest rates so that you can feel more comfortable with your payments.

Qualification

Another common myth about VA Home Loans is that it’s harder to qualify for government loans. This proves to be true in the fact that the VA will most likely be more lenient on lower credit scores, making the VA Loan easier to secure. A common question about qualification asks if you have to be retired in order to qualify for a VA loan. There are tools online to help determine your eligibility, but the short answer is no, you don’t have to be retired.

Length of the Process

While it may take a bit longer to get your VA Eligibility Certificate, it does not take longer to get your VA loan compared to a conventional loan. If you go to an experienced lender that knows the process very well, they’ll be able to get you your loan as fast as any other loan. It’s a good idea to talk to the lender prior to the application so you can get everything required from you before the application process begins.

Questions? Let Us Know!

No matter what your question, VA Home Loans of Idaho is here to help you out. Give them a call for a free consultation. On the phone, you can discuss interest rates, upfront costs, and eligibility requirements. Call VA Home Loans of Idaho today!

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!

Brown house at sunrise.

Issues to Lookout For When Searching for Your New Home

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After you’ve been approved for your VA Home Loan, the next step is to start looking for your home (if you haven’t already decided). Depending on how you do it, it can either be stressful or a fun and exciting thing to do.
Although most issues should be caught by the inspector, you should always be vigilant in looking for possible problems with the home, especially if you’re looking at older homes. Below, we’ve compiled a list of issues that can be a pain to deal with that you should look out for when searching for a home.

Mold

Although not the worst thing to have to deal with, mold can be tricky to completely get rid of. While most molds aren’t going to hurt you, there are a few that can. If the inspector finds mold but doesn’t say what kind it is, you should have a second opinion come in and tell you what kind it is and how to best get rid of it. Alternatively, if you want a little D.I.Y. project, check out a guide on common mold types, how to identify them, and the best ways to get rid of each type.

Foundation Issues

Any foundation issues will most likely only be noticed by the inspector but can cause major issues in the future. The fixes for a foundational issue can often times get expensive unless it’s a very small fix. It’s not something you can just ignore, as it can deteriorate further and cause major problems.
You’ll have to decide if the house is worth enough to you that you want to fix it. When deciding this, you can give your local foundation repair company a call and get a free estimate to see how much money will go into fixing it.

Roof Issues

Roof problems can be another issue that can be costly to deal with depending on the severity. Something minor like a small leak is easily dealt with, but replacing an entire roof will be expensive. If the roof is just old in general, it may be smart to have a roofing company replace your shingles.
Shingles can get beat up in the sun, and shingles constructed with new technology will perform better than old ones. You could also choose a different roofing material like ceramic tile, but there are pros and cons to each material, so be sure to do your research!

Old Wiring

In older homes, a common problem we see is old wires deteriorating from time. A wire that is starting to deteriorate can be a very dangerous hazard, as it can easily spark a fire if the metal is exposed or broken. Technology in electrical systems have come a long way, and replacing an old wiring system is an easy way to keep your peace of mind. It can be expensive, but definitely something that’s worth it if you want the home.

Missed Issues

If you or an inspector misses an issue, or a new issue develops while living in your home and it’s a little out of your budget, talk to your VA Home Loans Officer about refinancing. They’ll let you know what’s possible and what you qualify for, and recommend the best plan for you to take action.

White stucco family home.

4 Exterior Options When Building a Home

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When looking at building or renovating a home, there are many decisions you have to make in order to customize your home how you want it. One of those tough decisions is picking the exterior material of your home. You may not have a choice if your Home Owners Association is strict on making the houses look similar, but if not, there are several different materials to choose from that all have their own pros and cons. Here are some of the best options for exterior materials to use to personalize your home’s exterior!.

1.Natural Wood

The first, most obvious option is a wood exterior. While it can be a plain option, it gives you the choice to repaint as often as you want. If you get tired of the color of your house, it’s easily something you could do on your own with the right equipment. If you don’t want to or can’t do it yourself, you can call a professional painter to get an estimate on your house.
A downside to a wood exterior is that it’s less fire-resistant than other materials that could be used. You also have upkeep about every five years to prevent wood rot. If you do end up having to replace your exterior wood, give VA Home Loans a call and talk about options for refinancing. They can help you figure out the plan that will work best for your situation, and get your house looking great again.

2.Engineered Wood

If you aren’t interested in the upkeep that comes with a true wood exterior, you can opt for an engineered wood exterior. This option is quite a bit cheaper than the true wood material, requires less maintenance, and is better for the environment. With engineered wood, you still have the option to repaint as frequently as you desire. It takes away a lot of the cons that come with natural wood, but engineered wood comes with the possibility of moisture getting trapped in it, which can lead to mold growth.

3.Stucco

Completely different from the previous two options, stucco is a popular exterior in places with a hotter climate. Stucco is fairly similar in price range as the engineered wood, costing around $9000 to cover a 1500 square foot home. It comes with advantages such as high durability, natural fire resistance, and a wide range of colors. Stucco requires little maintenance from the homeowner and can last up to 80 years. Stucco can vary in price based on color and square footage, so call your local professional to receive an estimate on your home.

4.Brick

An older option, but still completely viable, is a full brick exterior of your home. Brick requires almost no maintenance and its look will stay the same for the most part. On top of that, brick has the best fire resistance of any of the other materials. Brick is, however, the most expensive of the materials listed above. You can expect to pay around $20,000 for a full brick exterior on a 1500 square foot home. If you’re looking at building a home, talk to a VA Home Loans Officer about your loan options so you can get that beautiful brick exterior.

Regardless of what material you use on the exterior of your home, VA Home Loans of Idaho can help you. We are always willing to help figure out the option that will work best for you.

Man in grey shirt cutting wood with a saw.

Things to Consider When Building a New Home

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Building a home from the ground up can be an exciting but stressful process. Many things go into the design and construction of a new home, and with the help of a VA Home Loan, you can work on creating the house of your dreams.

Picking a Location

Choosing the right location for your home is one of the most important factors to consider when building a home; the location is permanent, design and decor isn’t! Think about if you want to buy a lot in an established neighborhood or a piece of land away from the city. If you have kids or plan on having kids in the future, search around for schools in the area and consider the commute to the school you choose. Are you looking to build a bigger house with a backyard, or a smaller house closer to amenities? Choosing the location of your new home is a big decision, so take the time to make sure you want to commit to it.

Hiring the Right People

Between contractors, designers, plumbers, and more, there are a lot of people that come together to make your dream house a reality. You will be coordinating with all of these people on a daily basis, so it is critical to select a group that will not only do a great job but that you get along with too. Shop around, look at reviews, and talk with various people about what you want to do with the house. Their expertise might tell you that something you want to do can’t be done, or offer opportunities to make your house even better. Once you select a crew, keep an honest, open conversation with them so that everyone is on the same page throughout the building process.

Budgeting

When building a new home costs can add up quickly, so make sure to create a solid budget ahead of time. Talking with your VA Loan Officer and presenting your plan ahead of time can make the process of getting a loan a little less confusing. Additionally, it’s important to coordinate with the various professionals working on the build to create a budget for each phase of the project. Prioritize what you want in the house, so if the time comes where you have to choose between one thing or the other because of cost, you already know where the money should go. When budgeting out the build of the house, it’s paramount that you include a little wiggle room for unforeseen costs and additional expenses. Know beforehand that not everything will go perfectly just the way you want it, and plan ahead so you will have the funds to cover it.

If you are considering building a new home, VA Home Loans of Idaho will help you acquire the funding you need and be there throughout the process of creating a new place for you to call home.

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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.

A large two-story home, surrounded by hedges, sits behind a large front yard. A For Sale sign is in the bottom left corner.

5 Things to Consider When Buying a Home

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You did it! You secured your VA Home Loan, and now you’re ready to shop around…but do you know what you’re looking for?
Buying a home is a huge commitment, and there are a lot of factors to take into consideration while shopping. With nearly half of homebuyers experiencing regrets after their purchase, the last thing you want to happen after you get those keys is to realize you forgot something during your hunt for the perfect home!
Here are just a few things to take into consideration when making the big decision!

Family Size

How many people do you have living in your home? Is that number likely to increase in the near future? Do you have or want pets that you will need to accommodate?
These are just some of the first questions you should think about when looking at the size of your future home. After making sure you have enough space for all of your family, there are more details to look at:

  • Are there enough bathrooms?
  • What are the zoning laws if you need/want to expand?
  • Do you want a spare room for an office, library, or guest room?

The number one regret of homebuyers is not buying a big enough home. By planning ahead, you can make sure you have enough space for all of your loved ones!

Location

It may seem like a no-brainer, but your location is so, so very important! When looking at the locations of potential homes, a few factors to consider include:

  • Is it a safe neighborhood?
  • Is the commute manageable? Is the time likely to increase, and is that a problem?
  • (If you have children…)What kind of school district is it in?
  • Does it have nearby amenities like parks and a good gym?

Being realistic about these factors can make or break the location of a home. You never want to buy a home for its short commute only to have it multiply tenfold within five years when you hadn’t expected that kind of time extension.

Personal Needs

Recognizing your family’s needs and wants when buying a home is important. If you have an active family or a dog, having at least one big yard is a requirement for your home. If you cook a lot, having a well-planned kitchen is key. Do you enjoy entertaining? A large living and dining area is a must.
Another need that a lot of people forget to take into account is storage availability. Is there built-in shelving? Are there enough closets? Do you have a garage, a driveway, or street parking?

How Much Work Is It?

Are there “just a few” improvements you feel the need to make to create your perfect home? Is it as simple as adding a little paint or building a fence for your yard? Make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew with the renovations! Even DIY fixes can add up, and when you need to call in professionals for plumbing, wiring, and repairs, those costs can add up quickly. Different rooms come with different costs, so knowing what those are can be critical.
Kitchen renovations are especially difficult and expensive; not only do you want to make sure plumbing and wiring are done correctly, but you also face the extra cost that you likely have only one kitchen, so will need to find other meal alternatives until the room is completely finished. Factoring these costs into your initial home budget is essential if these are changes you feel need to be made for you to be happy in your home.

Do You Love It?

Finally: if you do not love your home and see potential in every corner, then it may not be the home for you. The housing market can be scary sometimes, especially with how quickly things are going in Boise, but taking your time to find the right home can mean the difference between the perfect home and major regrets you just can’t change. Don’t let the market bully you into buying too soon; but also know that if there’s a home you love and it meets all your needs, including your budget, you should put in an offer. You never know if that chance will come again!

By taking into account all important factors when buying a home, you can be sure to avoid the biggest mistakes other homebuyers have made when making their decision. Remember: it’s your home, and it’s never been easier to afford than with a VA home loan!

VA Benefits for Our American Heroes

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For serving our country our veterans and service members are given benefits outside of the general public. Not everyone joins the military with the expectation that they are going to be receiving government benefits. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular and important benefits for veterans. Our American heroes deserve these options for keeping our country safe.

Life Insurance

Veterans have the option to receive Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI). This replaces the SGLI. You can sign up to the amount you had during service if you had the SGLI. It is overseen by the VA, but is administered by the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. The coverage is issued in multiples of $10,000 up to $400,000, but cannot be more than the SGLI they had during service.

Home Loans

Instead of having a regular mortgage, veterans, active military members, and service member families can have a VA home loan. This enables the purchase of a home without a downpayment. You can receive long-term financing with 3 different choices; purchase loans, interest rate reduction refinance loans and cash-out refinance loans. Now in 2020, without a loan limit, veterans can receive a larger VA home loan and purchase the home of their dreams. Speak with a VA Home Loan lender like Devin Fahrner if you would like to explore your options in Idaho.

Disability Benefits

Veterans with service-related injuries or illnesses may be entitled to receive VA disability compensation. It is a monthly tax-free payment for veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military. The amount received can range anywhere from $133 to $3400 a month. This amount can be increased depending on the severity of the disability. Remember to always provide as much paperwork as you can to receive the right plan.

Education

Financial aid for education is one of the many benefits that veterans can choose to partake in. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides up to 4 years of education benefits to servicemembers and veterans. It isn’t subjected to just college either. The bill provides assistance for business technical or vocational courses, correspondence courses, apprenticeship/job training, flight training, and licensing & testing programs. Some states have gone farther in offering more benefits for veterans too. Check out these states with more military education benefits.

Benefits in 2020

Keep an eye on military benefits as they are constantly changing. Just recently the VA Home Loan limit changed. So who knows how many more benefits will see a change in 2020. If they are anything like the home loan limit change, then surely military benefits are changing for the better. Hopefully, you’ve learned which benefits you would like to use. There are many benefits for the men and women who have served our country, and they deserve to live a life outside of the military that is comfortable and safe. If you’re interested in finding out more about VA Home Loans, contact Devin Fahrner of VA Home Loans Idaho for more information.