VA loans are a great route to homeownership for many veterans who have made sacrifices for the country. When they return from service, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers access to VA loans to make it easier for them to qualify for a mortgage.
Even though VA loans make it easy for veterans to qualify for a mortgage, it is still challenging to sell your home. Since the VA backs the loans (agreeing to take on liability if the homeowner cannot make their monthly payments) and restricts who can take them out, it’s easier to qualify for a loan.
But when it comes time to sell your house with a VA loan, things get more challenging. If your buyer wants to take over your VA mortgage, they’ll need to be approved by the VA just like you were. However, you do still have the option to sell your house fast for cash if you’re able to find a buyer.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the home seller’s perspective on selling a house in Virginia if you have a VA mortgage.
Steps to Selling a Home with a VA loan
The process of selling a home with a VA loan can be complex, and there are a couple of different ways you can go about it. We’ll cover the most important steps to selling a home with a VA loan, how to estimate mortgage costs, and how to go about estimating proceeds.
It’s important to remember that, although there are some extra steps, selling a home with a VA loan is not so different from selling a home with a commercial mortgage. If this is the first time you’re selling a house, you should check out our tips for first-time home sellers.
Follow these three steps to sell your home with a VA loan.
1. Find out what kind of VA loan you have.
Not all VA loans are the same, and they often have different conditions under which you can sell the mortgaged property.
- VA home purchase loans
- Cash-out refinance loans
- Interest rate reduction refinance loans
- Native American Direct Loan Program
We don’t have time to go into all the details of how to sell a home that was built or purchased with each type of loan but be sure to check out the specific type of loan you have.
2. Decide whether to sell your property outright or have someone take over the VA loan.
This is the biggest choice you’ll have to make while selling a home with a VA loan. What you choose determines who you can sell your home to, what will happen to your VA entitlement, and how quickly you can get cash for your home.
Nothing that says you cannot sell your VA loan home to a regular buyer at a fair market price. If you find an individual buyer or one of the companies that buy houses in Virginia, you can sell your house for the cash provided by the individual’s bank or the company. This is known as selling your house outright.
You also have a second option that can be attractive in some situations. It’s possible to have someone assume your VA loan and make the rest of the payments for you. This requires a little more work, as you must check with the VA whether or not the prospective assumer of your loan meets their requirements.
If they do, you can get out of making your mortgage payment by having them take over your loan.
3. Restore your VA entitlement.
You may not know, but you can get many VA loans throughout your life. The way the system works is that you have a fixed amount of money in the VA called your ‘entitlement.’ That’s what the VA uses to put down money for a down payment and guarantee your loan.
When you sell your home, you’re able to replenish the amount of money in your VA account after taking a few steps. Exactly what you have to do depends on whether you’ve sold your home outright or had someone assume your loan.
Your VA entitlement replenishes when you fully pay off the loan you’ve taken out. What happens when someone buys your home outright is you use that money to pay out the rest of the mortgage. At that point, you’ll be able to take out a new mortgage using a VA loan without having to make a down payment.
Estimate Mortgage Costs
While thinking about selling your house, it is crucial to budget for the costs of closing your mortgage. This remains true whether or not you have a VA loan.
The good news is that as the holder of a VA loan in Virginia, you will be exempt from many of the typical costs of closing a mortgage. Not all VA loans cost the same to close because different lenders have different policies. The fees you’ll have to pay to include:
- Origination charge
- Appraisal fee
- Title charges
In general, you can expect to pay about 3-5% of the total loan amount when settling up a mortgage.
After you figure out how much it will cost to close your mortgage, you can figure out the proceeds you can expect at the end of the home selling process. You’ll still have to find a few more pieces of information, but estimating the proceeds from your home sale isn’t very difficult.
The two basic pieces of information you’ll need to have are the price that your buyer will pay and the amount you have left on your mortgage. You’ll make whatever money is left over after paying the remainder of what you owe to your lender.
However, you need to subtract the mortgage costs from that amount, as well as a few other expenses. These include the commission you pay to your real estate agent, the price of cleaning and repairs before you move out, and the costs of the landscaping you’ll need to do to improve curbside appeal. Some homeowners have expenses that others don’t, so this is a very individualized calculation.
Options When Selling a VA Mortgaged Home
You have many options when selling a VA mortgaged home in Virginia. You have even more options than someone with a regular mortgage because of the possibility of a loan assumption.
If you’re selling a house with a VA loan, you also have the option to sell your home to a buying company in addition to finding regular buyers. This route has significant advantages if you’re looking to sell your home quickly and without the hassle of negotiating with real estate agents and potential buyers.
How Long Do You Have to Live in a VA Loan Home Before Selling?
There isn’t a set amount of time that you need to live in a VA loan home before selling it. That’s a myth, but it has no relationship to the way that VA loans are structured. The VA loan timeline is very dependent on the specific lender that’s given you the loan, but you can always get out of a loan if you find a buyer willing to pay enough that you can close the mortgage. There isn’t any set VA loan length that you have to worry about.
One limitation of VA home loans that may be responsible for some of the confusion is that you can only use VA loans for buying a primary residence. That means that you have to move to a new house before getting a new loan and can’t use a VA mortgage to buy investment properties.
How VA Loans Affect Sellers
VA is a government program to ease the path of veterans towards homeownership, so they have several beneficial effects on sellers. Not only does it save you money when you first get the mortgage, but it also saves you money on the way out.
However, if you’re buying a hose from a seller, they will often have to pay more because of restrictions on what fees a veteran needs to pay. Fees, like the loan underwriting fee, are usually paid by the buyer, but when selling a home to someone who has a preapproved VA loan, the seller needs to buy them.
Looking for someone to buy a home can be a difficult and time-consuming process. If you’re looking for Cash home buyers in Virginia Beach, give us a call. We buy homes in Norfolk as well and service many other locations in Virginia. Our goal is to help veterans with VA loans to sell their homes quickly and easily.