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Mary Alice Ruppert
Licensed Associate Broker, Career and Business Development Leader
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Date Archives: October 2019

Live, Love, Long Island Blog Home

Buy a home | 29 Posts
Homeownership | 40 Posts
Huntington, NY | 1 Posts
Long Island, NY | 71 Posts
Nassau County | 1 Posts
Relocating | 1 Posts
Sell a home | 22 Posts
Uncategorized | 1 Posts

6 Tips for Veteran & Military Homebuyers

VA Loan Tips - Coach REALTORS

Owning your own home remains a crucial part of the American dream, but it isn't always easy. From growing debt problems to an ever-changing real estate market, there are plenty of potential roadblocks to homeownership. For veteran and military home buyers, there are some options well worth considering. 

Our REALTORS® are proud to have helped countless veterans and active servicemen and women buy homes—in many cases, their first homes. We're grateful for the opportunity to help. If you're a veteran or military homebuyer, keep these tips in mind as you start the homebuying process. 

  1. Know Your VA Loan Options
    One of the biggest advantages active military and veterans have when purchasing a home is the ability to secure a VA loan. These home loans are backed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and are much more flexible than ordinary loans. In most cases, they cover 100 percent of a home's cost, require no down payment, and allow you to buy a home without having to pay for private mortgage insurance. 

  2. Communicate With Your Lender
    Veterans have a tremendous advantage when it comes to buying a home, but not everyone knows about it. Unfortunately, studies have shown that as many as one-third of all veterans don't know they  can get a VA loan to buy a home. So when you go shopping for a home loan, be sure to communicate your military status to your lender and discuss all your potential benefits. 

  3. Know Your Credit Score
    VA loans aren't quite as contingent on credit scores as a traditional home loan, but it's important to understand that your credit history still matters. Most VA lenders look for a credit score of 620 or above. Obtain a copy of your credit report, and work to improve your credit score if possible before attempting to secure a loan. 

  4. Understand Occupancy Requirements
    VA loans are designed to give veterans, as well as active service members, the opportunity to buy a home intended for use as a primary residence. This applies to anything from a single-family home to a modular home or condominium, but it's not available for purchasing a vacation home or investment property. VA loans also come with occupancy requirements, which includes the expectation that you and/or your spouse will be living in the home as your primary residence within 60 days of closing.

  5. Be Prepared for Closing Costs
    Being able to get a VA loan with no down payment is an incredible incentive when buying a house. But just because you don't need to save for a down payment doesn't mean there won't be any up-front costs. The other closing costs and fees associated with buying a home may still apply. Talk to your agent before closing to make sure you fully understand how much you'll need to pay upfront on closing day. 

  6. Work With a VA-Savvy Agent
    One of the biggest mistakes we see veterans make is not working with a real estate agent with VA loan experience. Look for an agent who understands the VA loan system and process. Your agent should be able to help you with crucial details like the VA appraisal process, property requirements, loan limits, and debt-to-income ratios. 

Our team of dedicated REALTORS® has years of experience helping troops and veterans buy their first homes. If you're ready to learn more, contact us today to explore the ways we can help you become a homeowner. 


Buying a House: Does Commute Time Matter?

Commute Time - Coach REALTORS

When you're buying a house, many intangible factors come into play. Is it in a safe neighborhood? How is the school system? Does it have a great view? Our REALTORS® find that for many people, job commute is one of the top criteria for evaluating homes.

Today's job landscape has gone beyond the traditional nine-to-five workday, so commute time isn't such a cut-and-dried issue. Here are some expert tips for putting job commute in perspective when choosing a home to buy.

  • How Far Is "Too Far?"
    According to the Census Bureau, the average commuter travels just over 25 minutes each way, which is the equivalent of adding an extra half-day to your work week. Times are even higher in congested metropolitan areas. If you're considering a certain home, take a test run of your potential commute under actual traffic conditions so you have an accurate picture.

  • Hidden Costs of Commuting
    Obviously, longer commutes will affect your finances through costs of maintaining a car, which include wear and tear as well as gas, oil and other specific charges. If you choose a home further away from work because it's more affordable, higher commuting costs can actually nullify the savings. 

  • Commuting and Your Health
    Commuting is largely unproductive time. As a result, people often find themselves becoming frustrated or dwelling on problems and other unpleasant topics. Scientific studies indicate people with longer commutes are more susceptible to high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, stress, anxiety and lower levels of life satisfaction in general. On the other hand, commute time can be a benefit if you enjoy listening to audiobooks, podcasts or other forms of passive entertainment.

  • Availability of Public Transportation
    Longer commutes can be more palatable if you have ready access to public transportation. In addition to saving on vehicle expenses, you can put the travel time to good use working, reading or even catching up on sleep.

  • Consider Your Lifestyle
    Single adults and people with more active lifestyles may be willing to accept a longer commute because they're spending less time at home. Married couples and people with kids usually don't want to sacrifice precious family time to hours spent on the road.

  • Can Commute Time Affect Your Mortgage?
    Owner-occupied homes are considered the least risky scenario for mortgages. If your one-way commute is longer than one hour, a lender may suspect you're purchasing the home as a secondary residence or investment property, both of which carry greater risk and higher rates. Be prepared to answer questions and provide documentation supporting your purpose.

  • Creative Job Structure
    Telecommuting is a trend that continues to grow. The New York Times cites recent Gallup poll findings that 43 percent of Americans spend at least some time working remotely. More companies are also offering options such as flex-time that allow workers to commute during non-peak hours.

Whether you're buying or selling a home on Long Island, our experienced REALTORS® have the know-how to help you find the solution you're looking for. Contact us at Coach REALTORS® today and get started.

Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 04/02/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 04/02/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of OneKey MLS (last updated Sun 04/02/2023 6:26:22 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coach Realtors may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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