Profile picture for RobMet

First time buyer - VA loan - How to start the home buying process - Crofton/Ellicott MD

First off, thanks in advance for any responses. My wife and I are looking to buy our first home in the upcoming months. Our rental lease ends mid September and we would like to move anytime after that. Up until this point we have only done research and spoken with few people for advice. We are looking for an area that has good schools, is safe, and near work. Also, we have softly decided on the Crofton and Ellicott City areas as primary locations due to the previously mentioned factors. We plan on using the VA loan and would like to minimize down payment and closing costs.
1. When is the best time to get an agent and what are good ways about finding one?
2. Will an agent be willing to work in different areas? (Ellicott and Crofton are about 30 minutes apart)
3. When should we begin pursuing the actual purchase? I was told that the first months payment is typically included in the initial agreement, which is important as my BAH will be tied up through Mid September.
4. For perspective, if we wanted to move into a house on 1 October, what is a good time frame to accomplish the different steps needed to purchase a home and what are those steps?
  • July 05 2014 - Crofton
  • 0
    0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (5)

Congratulations on deciding to purchase a new home. A VA loan is a great option with 100% financing. The first step would usually be to get pre-approved first by a lender. You have to know how much you would be spending before going out to see a lot of properties that wouldn't work for you. However, when dealing with VA loans, you want to make sure you have your certificate of eligibility first. You can start the process now by contacting VA benefits office. You can start your search for an agent as soon as you like, however, most agents will not take you out to see properties before you are pre-approved. There are agents that are willing to work different areas. Ellicott City and Crofton are not too far apart so it really shouldn't be an issue. There are also other parts of Howard and Anne Arundel Counties that fall in between the two cities that may work for you as well. Elkridge may be good option. If you are not looking to move until October, I would suggest looking no later than August. As far as your payments, a lender would be the best person to talk to about the type of payments you would like to have. If you are not already working with a Realtor, I'd love to help you out with the home buying process.
  • July 17 2014
  • 0Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Hi RobMet,  Thank you for your service! VA loans are great loans  

You have narrowed down to two great areas.  There are definitely agents who will help you in both Crofton and Ellicott City (You may want to consider Catonsville too, but I am a bit biased since I live here! :).  What you may find is that an agent may be more knowledgeable about one area than the other. Some additional research may help you to ensure that you are really looking at the best area for you, and narrow down your search based on what is important to you (Location, amenities, traffic, restaurants, parks, etc.)

Since you are looking to be in a home in September/October, beginning the process now is very important.  You will need to work with a lender to be preapproved.  You will provide income/asset documentation and your credit history will be reviewed.  If there are any issues with your credit, getting started sooner than later will give you some time to make the necessary changes to get you to the best loan available.  As a lender I have some great agents I can refer you to.   When you talk about your housing allowance being "tied up", that will be something to discuss with your lender of choice.

With regard to the first payment. Depending on when you close, you can roll in enough interest in the closing to allow you to "skip a month" before making your first mortgage payment.  Interest is paid in arrears, so your payment is paying the previous months interest.  For example if you were to close on September 15th, you would pay the interest thru the 30th of September at closing and your first payment would November 1st.

Typically it takes about 30 days from contract to close (though it can be done much quicker if all goes as planned.  This is an interesting market.  You may find a home that you love soon and be able to negotiate with the seller for an extended close date of Oct. 1st. It may take longer than you think to find the right home. It all depends on your needs and expectations.   The more specific a property you are looking for, the longer it could take to find. 

Having a full loan commitment (Your loan is fully approved through underwriting pending you finding the property you love and getting it appraised) offers you the negotiating power of a cash buyer, giving you more leeway to get the terms (closing date, etc) you want.   

I hope I have provided information that you find helpful. Please let me know if you have additional questions. 

Warm Regards,
Bridget McGee NMLS#196068
  • July 09 2014
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Step 1: Get your VA loan Pre-Approved. Without knowing your max qualified amount, you'll be asking for trouble if you put the cart before the horse. The Loan Officer will verify your VA Entitlement, get you your Certificate of Eligibility. They then need to request a Letter of Service from your Commanding Officer (verification of employment, pay grade, LES verification). Why? Because all Active Duty Military have to have a minimum amount of time left in service or at their current duty station.  After all this is completed, then the LO can issue you a Pre-Approval and the AUS (automated underwriting system) Approval/Findings. With that, you will know any and all hoops you have to jump through UPFRONT! You will know your required funds to close, estimated interest rate, and payment.

Step 2: Find an Agent who is familiar with VA Buyers. Why? Simple! A Veteran is not allowed to certain fees so if your Agent doesn't ask the Seller to pay for example your Escrow Fee, your Lender will have to cover that fee or you'll get hit with a Lender Discount Point so the Lender can use those funds to in turn cover your fees that a Vet can't pay. You can not believe how many Agents out there that know nothing about VA offers so it's important that your Lender and Agent are on the same page...UPFRONT.

Hope this helps.
  • July 07 2014
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

Hi RobMet,

first, thanks for serving your country, we appreciate it very much.
That said, most folks begin by contacting a good lender and getting qualified for the loan which allows you to learn the amount you will qualify for, the payments and all the figures including closing costs that you will be subject to paying. In fact, if you should contact RE Agents first, one of their first questions is typically how much do you qualify for or what price range would you like to be in...I also agree that many times, referrals help in finding a good agent.
Interview both agents and lenders as if they are going to work for you...because they WILL be working for you!
Best wishes, and if I may be of assistance, feel free to contact me through my profile!
Jim
  • July 07 2014
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.

These are good questions... 1. most folks should get an agent as early as possible.  Referrals are usually the best way to find an agent.  2. most agents work in many different areas... and are familiar with the pros and cons to each.  Ask about their experience in these areas of interest... I have agents that have offices in one town, but live 30 or more minutes away.  3.  most closings are within a 30 - 45 day time frame from a ratified contract.  It can take a couple of weeks to look at different homes in different areas, so try to give yourselves as much time as possible.  you could also look to close within 60 days, too.  But short sales can take quite a bit more time, so try to have time on your side...4. I'd start with a lender to make sure you're properly qualified right away.  That's step one... and then, with your chosen lender/agent, the rest should fall into place.

  • July 05 2014
  • 1Yes

  • Report a Problem

    Please enter a valid email address.

    Content flagged

    We will review this content. Thanks for helping make the site more useful to everyone. To learn more, read Zillow's Good Neighbor Policy.

    We're sorry. This service is temporarily unavailable. Please come back later and try again.