United States real estate prices have recently been so enticing that some people are snatching up homes from across the globe without so much as a visit. Investors in China have begun to purchase properties in Florida based just on pictures, according to The Toronto Star. Asian buyers are still just “minor players” in the American housing market, according to the source, but their enthusiasm for homes for sale speaks wonders about the benefits of investing in real estate at this time.
As a servicemember, there are times when Permanent Change of Station (PCS) may require the purchase of a home sight unseen. That scenario is rare, but regardless, if you’re considering using your VA loan benefits to buy your next home, there are certain questions you will want to ask before committing.
Question #1: What is the neighborhood like?
You’re not just buying a new home, you’re also purchasing the neighborhood it’s in. You want to make sure you are comfortable with all aspects of the area at all times of the day. Check out the nearest public transit or where you will park your vehicle. Walk around the block and stop in any shops and restaurants that are nearby. If you see a neighbor, strike up a conversation to see what they think about the area. You want to love your new home – both inside and out.
Question #2: Is the home in short sale or foreclosure?
If you’re considering a home in short sale or foreclosure, you could be getting a deal! The VA offers many homes in foreclosure to veterans who want to finance with a VA home loan. Things to consider when purchasing these homes are how many improvements it may take to get the property up to code or market standards, and if you would be comfortable making the necessary renovations. You should also find out if the home is eligible for purchase, so you are not making an offer on a residence that a bank already owns.
Question #3: What were the results of the home inspection?
Even though your home must pass the VA appraisal process, you still need to hire a home inspector. Pay close attention to inspectors’ references and feel free to find your own – not just the one your agent recommends. Once you are aware of any improvements a home may need, add them up. Are they more than 2 or 3 percent of the asking price? Cara Ameer, a broker associate and Realtor at Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, warned it might be time to rethink the purchase, according to Fox News.
If you are satisfied with the answers to those questions, a VA-approved lender can assist you in pulling together the eligibility and credit/income documentation necessary for your VA home loan application. And in some cases even introduce you to a military-friendly realtor in your desired area if you don’t have a relationship already.