Season 2 Episode #4:
Navigating VA Home Loan Benefits with Michael Hunter
Michael Hunter served 26 years in the US Army and just retired at the end of 2021. He now works as a Military Liaison for Aligned Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 that educates and supports active duty military, veterans, spouses and real estate agents in the VA home loan benefit.
Though Mike initially intended to pursue a high-salary career, it was a conversation with someone about his top priorities that totally changed the course of his career. Once he and his wife discussed their personal priorities, discovering that money wasn’t in either or their top 3 priorities, he changed direction. Taking the time to prepare, assess yourself and define your family’s priorities ensures you won’t feel as pressured to take the first job that is offered.
Buying a home is just one more stressor that you may need to deal with during the military transition process and Mike is here to talk about how to better prepare for and navigate this process. He now works with Aligned Education Foundation, founded by veterans who had success in the mortgage industry, but decided to launch a non-profit that focuses on helping other veterans learn how to optimize their VA home loan benefits. The fact that almost 85% of veterans do not use the VA home loan benefit due to myths, misinformation and uninformed mortgage lenders and realtors.
You can find information on the educational seminars and services that Aligned Education Foundation offers at https://alignededu.org.
Mike offers some tips about preparing yourself financially for the transition process. Taking care of these steps give you the freedom to choose what you want instead of feeling forced to take “just a job.”
- It is recommended that you save up to 6 months’ worth of savings to cover your bills.
- Remember there is often a delay between when your military paycheck ends and your pension or disability check starts.
- Do everything you can to clear out your debt, especially revolving debt such as credit cards.
- Carefully research the job market in the area where you want to live.
- Do your research and look at all of your benefits and life insurance options. Take care of the life insurance process before you receive your disability designation, or you might find yourself uninsurable.
Mike offers some home buying tips:
- Find a realtor that you trust, that has your interest at heart. Ask for referrals from friends and family.
- Find a veteran-friendly lender and get pre-approved. Pull your certificate of eligibility – Aligned Education Foundation can teach you to read this information.
- Be advised, the VA has no credit score requirement. If you are declined, that is the lender’s choice, not the VA.
- Once you get the first quote, you have 10-15 days to gather competitive offers from other lenders. Shop around and make them work to earn your business, all the way through final approval, that gives you the best deal for you and your family.
- Start the transition planning process early. Figure out what you want to do and where you want to live as soon as possible to ease this process.
You can connect with Michael Hunter at www.linkedin.com/in/michael-hunter-cpd/
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