My personal Real-Estate experience using the VA home loan

I first got on the island as an active-duty service member in October of 2020. It was a strange time considering the covid-19 pandemic and crashing economy. I never considered buying a home and was fully content with renting during my tour. Luckily my wife demanded we buy a home with the intention of capitalizing on the basic housing allowance. Doing this with a VA home loan allowed us to start building wealth.

Looking back on it now buying seems like the undoubtable right answer. If given the choice one should put that BAH money into something that they will own. Most service members who live off base throw that money into rental properties, and into someone else’s pocket. Sure, buying a home comes with more responsibility and risk. But it was a risk my wife and I were willing to take.

We contacted a real estate agent and mortgage broker. Before we knew it we were looking at homes in the Kailua and Kaneohe area. I knew I qualified for a VA home loan but didn’t truly understand the buying power until I saw what I was approved for. Not only do VA home loans have competitive interest rates, they also allow you to finance 100% with no fees or penalties like traditional loans. In the right market the VA home loan can be the most powerful tool a service member has at their disposal.

Despite the new found excitement of being a prospective home owner, I honestly felt out of place while going to open houses. The demographic for home buyers consisted of 2nd or 3rd time home buyers that were middle aged and well established. They were buying with cash or were financing only small amounts of the mortgage. No where near 80 much less 100 percent financing. I felt out of place and in over my head. I thought we had made a mistake by thinking we could get a home in such a competitive market.

The time was December 2020 through January 2021. The market was a “sellers’ market” meaning there were more buyers than there was inventory. One can argue there was multiple reasons why the market was in such a craze at the time. The imbalance of buyers and sellers along with low interest rates meant people were aggressive in their biddings. This meant sellers were getting the pick of the litter when It came time to review offers, which often were above asking price. Me and my wife got out bid in the first 6 houses we placed bids on. At the time the median days on market for a single-family home was 9 days! That’s insane considering it was 35 days the previous year.

We had been looking at houses for an entire month, at this point me and my wife felt defeated. I did not understand it was common for people to go months or years without finding the right home. My wife and I were lacking perspective, and as my training and workload ramped up, my patience and hope was waning.

Our realtor at the time stayed positive and continued to show us houses in Kaneohe until we found the home we are currently living in. I learned a lot during that experience. As a first-time home buyer your allowed to buy a house you’re not completely in love with. Rarely if ever do people get their dream house on their first try. While going to open houses and seeing those amazing homes, I understood buying early on with my VA loan was the smartest financial decision I could make at that moment.

Another thing I learned was that a house is what you make it. If you just want a place to sleep at night, that’s completely fine! My wife and I gained a profound sense of ownership and pride in our home. We have put a lot of time and effort into making it our own. Having a place that you can call your own is a great feeling and I’m glad I bought when I did. I would love to help active duty service members make the most of their VA home loan benefits the way I did. Please reach out to me for a free consultation.

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