WASHINGTON (May 15, 2015) — Officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs encouraged Realtors® to help debunk misconceptions regarding the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program yesterday at an agency briefing held during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo.
The VA home loan guaranty is a military benefit that helps service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. Since the program was enacted in 1944, as part of the G.I. Bill, the VA has guaranteed more than 21 million home loans.
John Bell, assistant director of loan policy and valuation, thanked Realtors® for their role in the home buying process. “I have been so impressed with being able to work with the National Association of Realtors® and its members on improving our outreach to the community,” he said. “You are the front line of defense when it comes to helping veterans understand this program; without Realtors®, veterans will not come.”
Seth Task, 2015 chair of NAR’s Federal Financing and Housing Policy Committee, said Realtors® are working hard to educate other agents, lenders, and those who served the country about the advantages of the program and how veterans can use them. “Realtors® are proud to help all eligible homebuyers use their VA benefits to meet their housing needs,” he said.
Because VA loans are a benefit for veterans and their families, protections are built into the homebuying process to ensure that any property purchased will be safe, sound and sanitary for occupants. The program’s special conditions mean that closing requirements for VA loans are different from other conventional loans. Realtors® are concerned that the differences may deter sellers from accepting veterans’ offers, especially during bidding wars when a VA loan may seem inconvenient.
“We think every veteran should be able to use a VA loan, and it is frustrating for us when there are confusions or other roadblocks that prevent veterans from getting the home they want,” said Task.
Bell said further education needs to be done. “There are misconceptions in the marketplace about VA loans. People worry they are challenging to close or difficult to underwrite, and that the appraisal process drags on too long, yet the facts show that appraisal and closing times are on par with the rest of the industry,” he said.
Realtors® can also remind lenders to request an appraisal early in the process to make sure a VA certified appraiser is able to value the property in advance of the closing date. If agents feel that a shortage of certified appraisers is slowing down the process, they can call the local VA loan center and request a review of appraiser capacity.
NAR is committed to working with Congress and the VA to provide more flexibility to veteran borrowers when purchasing a home.
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.