The Real Estate Browser Volume 10, Issue 5 - Page 38

38 — Say you saw it in The Real Estate Browser of Lynchburg — Volume 10 Number 5 toric homes are off-limits, but that might not be the case. “The VA’s rules about homes and what they will and won’t approve is probably one of the most argued-about things I’ve seen,” says Bobby Middleton, a VA-savvy Realtor® with Texas Premier Realty in San Antonio. “I’ve seen houses that were built in 1929 that didn’t have a problem with the VA, and I’ve seen new houses and you just knew the appraiser wasn’t going to approve it.” “I suggest to my clients to avoid HUD and short sale properties,” adds Rob Racz, man- aging broker for Windermere Real Estate in Everett, WA. Many of these properties have been damaged or fallen into disrepair, making them unlikely to win approval for a VA loan. If you really want an older home, look for one that’s already been remodeled. 2. Work out repair requests with the seller Even if you’re buying a newer home, you’ll have to be on the lookout for potential prob- lems. The need for a little updating in the kitchen or a fresh coat of paint won’t mat- ter much to a VA appraiser, who’s looking at broad health, safety, and marketability issues. But bigger issues can cause a problem with your VA loan—and, subsequently, your offer. “The lender is not going to loan you the money to buy the house unless the repair is made,” Middleton says. The problem is the seller doesn’t have to make any repairs. The seller could decide to just walk away from the deal and wait for another buyer. Your best option is to have your Realtor work with the seller’s to reach an agreement. Often, the problem simply boils down to a lack of understanding. The seller might not realize that as a VA buyer, you need to have the repair done to get your loan approved. This is where choosing a Realtor who understands the VA loan process comes in. “If you’ve got a buyer’s agent that can explain all that to the listing agent, nine times out of 10 we’ll get the repair done,” Middleton says. Buyers can also look to pay for repairs themselves if the seller won’t budge. 3. Do market analysis before making an offer Making an offer with a fair price is key to getting that offer accepted. But what’s consid- ered “fair”? Striking the right note here can be chal- lenging. You could lowball the seller in hopes of saving some money, but you’d risk driv- ing the seller away. On the other hand, if you offer more than the VA is willing to approve, you’ll have to either come up with the cash to cover the difference or risk losing out on the home. You’ll need to do a little homework to see what the home might appraise for before you make the offer—and that can get tricky.