Home Buyer Credit Gone…Now What?

Posted June 8th, 2010 by nateburt

Unfortunately it looks like the chances of a further extension to the home buyer tax credit are lessening by the day due to stronger housing data and new homes increased by 27% in March.  This is mostly impart of the tax credit.  Everyone rushed to get qualified for it.

While the home buyer credit is likely to expire, there are some exceptions for certain groups who can claim the credit into 2011.  The main group are members of the Armed Forces which include active military soldiers who want to use their VA entitlement loan and certain federal employees serving outside the US.  They have an extra year to but a primary residence in the US and still qualify for the home buyer credit.

If you don’t fall into the exception category, then is it still a good time to buy?  The answer is still YES.  Interest rates are still today at their lowest levels, which means lower monthly payments or buy a bigger home.  The other benefit to consider is home prices.  Even though in March of 2010 home prices increased by 4.3% – homes are at record low prices.  If we are on a Real Estate rebound then now is the perfect time.

The loan options for buying homes hasn’t gotten aggressive as 3 years ago.  In fact if you done have at least 10% you wont be buying a home (unless you go FHA).  The one loan that has stayed constant is the VA Guaranteed LOAN.  Its really the only loan left that does 100% financing with no monthly mortgage insurance premium.

So to Military personnel its great.  If you are active duty and serving out of the country you still have the tax credit and you have 100% financing.  This sounds like a no brainer to me.

How one Iraq War Veteran finds peace

Posted May 18th, 2010 by nateburt

They say that 15% of US Soldiers will come home with post-traumatic stress disorder.  These symptoms often include: 1. Having upsetting thoughts or memories about an event. 2. Having recurrent nightmares.  3. Acting or feeling as though the traumatic event were happening again – flashback.  4.  Being physically responsive and aggressive.

Iraqi Freedom Veteran Damien Holmes says the war memories that haunt him will never go away but through therapy he is learning to live with it.

Holmes was on the front lines in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 with an Army Infantry Unit.  He saw a lot and did a lot he’s like to forget, but in war it doesn’t work that way.  “You learn to shrug it off”, Holmes remarks.  “You are wearing layers of armor, you got your helmet and your flak jacket, got your uniform and then you are stripped of all that and you don’t have anything to hold that all in.”

When he got home he had a hard time finding his place in civilian life.  “Kicking holes in doors, yelling all the time and getting into fights.”  Holmes recalls.  “It got pretty hairy towards the end of the year that I came home.  It ruins relationships, breaks up families, you lose jobs.  You get withdrawn, you segregate yourself from most of the world.  You don’t do anything, you get lazy…you’re just not the same.”

Holmes knew he needed help, but for a while pride got in the way.  The  therapy Holmes uses is rap music.  “Music has so much influence on everything,” Holmes says.  “so by me putting that together its therapeutic for me and I can get it off my chest…straight up in your face and in your ear.”

PTSD is a real issue affecting Soldiers everyday.  I read articles on this disorder and understand why its such an issue.  I decided to post this because I find Holmes’s way of coping interesting.  He is using talents to reach out to others in the community and in so doing forgets his own problems. 

Remember that I am a VA loan officer, not a mental health professional.  VA HOME LOANS are my specialty!

Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program

Posted May 6th, 2010 by nateburt

military_yellow_ribbon_flag

So this last weekend I had the privilege and opportunity to attend a Yellow Ribbon Event held in SLC UT.  It was called a Reintegration Program and I was there on behalf of LowVARates.com.

The Yellow Ribbon program is a nation-wide combat veteran program that provides support and outreach to Reserve and National Guard members in all service components.  The program began in 2007 and applies to all reservists who are mobilized, deployed and separated from their families for 90 days or more.

The program is proactive and encompasses all phases of the deployment.  It offers support services to members and families, giving them information, referrals, and resources to help them adjust to the many challenges they may face as a result of a deployment.

The actual deployment cycles consists of four phases:  pre-deployment, deployment, demobilization and post deployment.  The Yellow Ribbon program events fall within these four phases and provides information deemed most appropriate for conditions or needs that typically exist for Reserve Soldiers and their families during each time frame.

The Yellow Ribbon program is designed to benefit service members and their families by providing them with access to support services and guiding them to the appropriate information.  This is why LowVaRates was in attendance.  We feel so strong about the VA loan and the benefits it offers.  Only 7% of all active duty and retired Veterans actually use their VA loan.  This was exactly the case at this event.  Everyone I spoke with had not used the VA loan and didn’t even know the benefits it offers. 

This event was geared at educating Military families.  These families are an integral part of the Yellow Ribbon program.  They can assist service members by helping them to identify what services of benefits may be most appropriate for them and encouraging service members to take advantage of these resources.  Some companies like LowVARates my be directly available to help family members by educating them regarding the VA home loan process.

Soldiers and families should take advantage of the services available to them and direct questions to their units.  Unit Leaders and family program reps have information regarding this event and those sponsors who are there to help.  I would encourage all Soldiers and family members to take full advantage of this wonderful program.

Perks of Being a VA Loan Officer

Posted April 14th, 2010 by nateburt

I wanted to take a bit of a different approach to this post.  Usually I discuss rates and market trends with VA home loans and streamline refinances which I will continue to do in later posts.

A great part of my job is the privilege of working with Veterans and active duty personnel.  They call me to discuss options of using their entitlement to either buy homes or refinance them.  Recently I have focused a lot of my efforts on VA Home Purchases which have a different effect on homeowners than refinances.  Its usually a more emotional process.  Home ownership should be a goal of every adult – young or old. 

One of my past clients (Heather) went online to get help with her VA loan.  I was able to quickly make contact with her and within a week she had found a house and had an executed VA purchase contract.  We started the process and met the deadline outlined in the contract.  I think the whole VA Home Buying Experience only took about 3.5 weeks and she was able to move in.  What gives the most satisfaction is knowing you helped someone realize their dreams of home ownership. 

Here is Heather’s comments about how she felt her experience was -

“I could not have asked for a better loan officer.  Nate at Flagship Financial was amazing, he insured that I was well informed about every aspect of my VA home loan.  He went above and beyond to make sure that my loan was processed and ready for closing.  He made my first time home buying experience enjoyable and stress free and took it upon himself to ensure that every deadline was met.  He truly cared about how my experience went and took time to explain every detail about my loan with me.  I would recommend Nate and Flagship Financial to anyone seeking a VA home loan.  Sincerely, Heather”

money_for_homes Think of the benefits of Owning VS renting…

  1. 1. Build Equity.
  2. 2. Mortgage interest deduction for taxes.
  3. 3. $8000 tax credit from the Gov.
  4. 4. Being able to make changes to the house without getting landlord approval.
  5. 5. Sense of self worth and accomplishment.

This is one of those jobs where is really makes me feel like I’m adding value to society.  Veterans and active duty solders are really doing their part to protest me.  This is the least I can do for them, so thanks Heather and all those who served and are currently serving!

History Behind VA Loans and the GI Bill

Posted March 31st, 2010 by nateburt

I have recently started a blog that is dedicated to Veterans and VA loans.  I have been a VA mortgage loan officer for over 8 years so I have some experience to bring to the table.  My first post I have decided to write is on the History of the VA and the GI bill.

In 1776 the Continental Congress sought to encourage enlistment in the military and curtail desertions with the nation’s first pension law.  Only 3,00 Revolutionary War veterans ever drew pensions.  Grants of public land were made to those who served to the end of the war

The General Pension Act of 1862 provided disability payments and liberalized benefits for widows, children and dependent relatives.  Union Veterans were assigned a special priority in the Homestead Act of 1862, which provided Western lands at $1.25 and acre (wouldn’t it be nice if it were still that cheap).

In 1924, the World War Adjusted Compensation Act, also known as the Bonus Act, was enacted.  The law provided a bonus that depended upon the number of days the Veteran served.  All Veterans whose service exceeded 50 days were give 20-year paid-up endowment life insurance certificates, payable in 1945.  Many Veterans, however, wanted to be paid the entire bonus immediately.  An estimated 15,000 to 40,000 Veterans, known as the Bonus Expeditionary Force, converged on Washington, DC, in may of 1932 to lobby for immediate payment.  Failure by Congress to pass this proposal resulted in many Veterans and their families building shanties in Southeast Washington.  Congress finally passed the measure in 1936 and granted Veterans a lump-sum payment.

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, (GI Bill of Rights), which dramatically transformed the concept of Veterans benefits, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944.  This benefit provided Veterans with federally guaranteed home, farm and business loans with no down payment.  This feature was designed to generate jobs in the housing industry while providing housing and assistance for Veterans and their families.  Veterans could apply for loans up to $2,00, with 50 percent guaranteed by the government.

The GI Bill transformed the economy and society of the United States.  In 1950, a 1200-acre potato farm in Long Island was transformed into a 17,500 home suburban community known as Levittown.  The dream of home ownership became a reality for millions of Veterans and their families.  The GI Bill contributed more than any other program in history to the welfare of Veterans and their families, and to the growth of the nations economy.

VA’s loan guaranty program has benefited more than 18 million Veterans and dependents.  From 1944, when this program was established as part of the original GI Bill, through September 2006, VA has guaranteed more than 18.1 million home loans valued at $913 billion.  In fiscal year 2006, VA guaranteed $142,726 loans valued at $24 billion.

The United States leads the world in caring for its military Veterans.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers billions of dollars annually in federal benefits for military Veterans and their dependents.  With more than 25,000 employees, VA is second in size only to the Defense Department among federal agencies.

The VA will continue to guarantee loans to those that serve in the military and provide value to the economy.  As a loan officer I have had the privilege in working with those employeed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  More importantly I have help Veterans realize the dream of home ownership.