Insider Secrets of Buying a Home –VA Loans

Gain some major insight from the latest Home-and-Seek Podcast brought to you by our CEO Eric Criner and seasoned real estate agent, Jim Franklin. 

May 3rd Home-and-Seek Podcast


All right,

good morning.

We are excited,

to have Josh Kelinda on the show this morning.

he has been a,


big supporter of the veterans real estate benefits program and he's a huge supporter of


He does a lot in the va loan space.

he works for


first National Bank.

so we're glad,

to have you on the show this morning.



good morning,


Glad to be here again.

It's great to have you and it's always great to have somebody who really knows va loans and

we've definitely worked together on a lot of veterans over the last few

years and,

you know,

you really help a lot of veterans get,

in the home,

they wanted,

get in the right loan and all that kind of stuff.

So we're so,

we're excited to have you on the show and really share some of the information that you have with our



you know,

I'd like to just start out Josh because there's probably gonna be a lot of people who watch just don't know who you are.

Just a quick background ,

of what you do and all that kind of stuff.

so I run the mortgage operation for a community first National bank.

I've been in the,

in the mortgage industry for 20 years now,

really specializing in the va loan in particular for the entire 20



I've been,

honored to be ranked as one of the top va loan officers in the country by the Scotsman

guide multiple years.


I have a lot of experience with the loan and,

and working with veterans day in and day out.



that says a lot.

I mean,

if you're ranked in Scotsman,

then you're doing your share of loans.

So that's,

great stuff,

and you have been partnered with the Veterans real estate benefits program for a few


Uh We've definitely done our share transactions together so we appreciate everything that you do to

help us.

Thank veterans.

Let us  know what we're talking here July 2023 and it's just

kind of a strange market that we're in.

Strange that you,

you know,

that there's outside influences causing our rates to,

spike up a little bit.

I just wanted to kind of talk to you real quick about what's your snapshot of the market right now?



the market's really busy right now.

Um There's still a lot of buyer activity,

buyer interests,

inventory still seems historically a little bit lower than what it should be.

Um I think there's just a lot of sellers on the sidelines right now.

Mortgage rates which are set by the open market have been a little bit of a roller coaster that's

continued through this whole year.

So right now,

we're kind of in the mid sixes,

but it's literally a day to day,

you know,


That's of course,

without any point,

buy downs and things like that.


you know,

that could certainly change pretty quickly.

it's definitely volatile out there right.

Right now.

I mean,


we're definitely seeing the mid sixes,

we are seeing a little bump up in the inventory.

But you're right that there's a lot of sellers on the sideline that there's a lot of sellers that don't

really want to leave their 3% loans and go buy a new house right now.


we are seeing a little bit of increase in inventory which is good because 6

months ago,

I mean,

it was like a ghost town out there for house for,

for sale.

so that's all a good thing.

I mean,

one thing I like to get the messaging out there is now is a good time to buy,

you know,

now is a good time.

You've got a decent amount of inventory,

you've got less competitors.

I mean,

there's definitely,

you know,

some activity but,

but you have less competitors,

you have a little bit more motivated sellers,

you know,

so now's a good time to buy,

even though the rates might be in the mid sixies,

you know,

you can always re refinance in the future.


As long as you can,

you know,

kind of budget for that monthly payment,

which may be a little higher than,

than what it would be if rates were lower.

I think you're,

it's a good opportunity to get into a house at this time and then eventually down the road,

it may not be this year or maybe next year or the year after we'll have some,

probably opportunities to refinance a lot of these loans down to lower rates and take

advantage of that,

that opportunity too as well.

and the va really gives the veteran a great,

you know,

interest rate reduction,

you know,


We like to call it an IRRL in the marketplace.

but the IRRL is a great tool to reduce your,

your rate quickly and there's not a lot of cost behind it as well now.


it's the best refinance program in the industry.

There's virtually no paperwork,

there's no appraisals that are needed and a lot of times we can even do it where we structure and we pay all the

closing costs.

So you're literally just saving money day one without any extra cost to it.

So great.



I agree.

And so ,

I still think now is a great time to get out there shop.

Find a house.

don't compete with five buyers on a house,

you know,

and get a seller,

a little bit more motivated seller might help with some buy down options to help bring down your rate and then in

the future,

come back to that IRRL and,



you know,

as rates start to,

adjust down,

you know,

to refinance.

But ,

let's kind of jump into the meat of the show.

Let's talk a bit a little bit more about va loans.

I mean,

they're not well understood in the marketplace and there,

there's a lot of people like us who spend a lot of our time during the day educating and

trying to get that information out there but still not well understood.

Um So I kind of wanted to pick your brain a little bit,

you know,

I first wanted to throw out there that,

that there were some changes in 2019 that,

that allowed the va loan limits to kind of go away.


you know,

there really isn't a va loan limit anymore.


that's correct.

And that started in 2020 after that act got approved in

19 and it before then the limits kind of mirrored what

the Fannie Mae Freddie Mac limits were.

And then if the the sales price was over that there would be a down payment required.

And so they threw that out.

Now there's no loan limits unless the veteran has an existing va loan

that's still out there outstanding,

or they had a prior foreclosure short or something that affected their entitlement in the past.

Apart from those two situations,

there's no loan limit.

So these,

these areas,

especially in the high cost areas in the country,

you could purchase a house,

and not have a down payment at all and not have that PM I that you're gonna see with,

with other loans.

So it's a,

huge advantage,

especially in the high cost areas.

So it,

it really is,

I mean,

we have closed our share of,

you know,

1 million $1.5 million va loans which four or five years ago

was not,

not a possibility.

so it's really an incredible tool for veterans.

A lot of veterans aren't aware of that.

You know,

the other,

the other thing I wanted to talk about was the reuse of the va loan.

You know,

I mean,

we still talk to people every day who thinks they're one and done,

you know,

they use their va loan once I used it back in you know,

2019 to buy my house and I can't use it again,

you know.

So let's,

let's talk about that for a second.


it's not a one and done,


in fact,

I tell a lot of veterans you can have multiple va loans at one time with some restrictions.

There's some calculations where we have to look at how much entitlement they have remaining,

you know,

how much the the new sales price is on the on the transaction.

And a lot of times there may not be a a down payment even with that,

that second va loan while they have an existing one out there.

So  it's a situation that you can have multiple out there

or just reuse it over and over again as long as you,

you sell your existing house or pay that mortgage off.

So yeah,

it's a good point and so we really want veterans to understand that it is Great loan

you can use over and over and over and there is no limit to the number of times you can use.

so don't give up on it because it is a great loan option.

You know,

the other thing that I wanted to talk about was,

you know,

that the va loans really give the veteran a lot of options in the way of


you know,

from a debt to income ratio

credit scores and all that kind of stuff.

so I want to kind of get that information out there that it's often not as hard as they think it is.


So your traditional conventional loan uses a calculation called debt to income


Uh It's kind of a simple calculation.

It's just all of your minimum monthly debts.

You add that to your monthly mortgage payment and then you

divide that by your gross monthly income and that's gonna give you a percentage on

conventional financing.

It's a strict 50% max on that debt to income ratio.

So anything above that is gonna be a problem that you Yeah,

on a va loan,

they don't give as much weight on the debt to income ratio.

They're more of a residual based qualification.

What that means is depending on your family size,

the location of the property and the purchase price,

there's a certain net amount of money that the veteran and household has to

meet at the end of the month.

And so as long as you meet that calculation,

you still may qualify.

And so we've seen va loan transactions close with debt to income


you know,

in the high fifties sixties,

in fact,

sometimes so there are situations that that you can


you know,

as long as you have meet that residual qualification.


And so,

I think the key messaging is that if you're a veteran and you're thinking about buying,

you know,


it's great to reach out to us.

You can reach out to us to,

you know,

You know,

you can reach out to Josh at, and,

and reach out and,

and get somebody  smart,



take a look at your whole financial package and what you can qualify for

before you throw in the towel.

So many people just read the news and they think they know it or their buddy told them


you know,

or their uncle who knows houses told them something,

just listen,

get an expert involved,

have him check it out so that you have the information to make a good decision.

I think that's key.


And then  on credit scoring,

the va does have,

they don't have a minimum score requirement.

They're just an insurance company in the program if you want to think of them that way.

Um but your lender is gonna have a minimum score requirement usually and I would say the

industry standard right now is around 600 to 620 in most


so you,

you know,

even though you may not have perfect credit and you may think you may not qualify for a conventional loan.

it's worth checking into the va loan even if you don't have those,

you know those perfect credit scores or,

or even no scores.


I have several transactions closed this month that the veterans don't have any scores,

no credit at all and we're still able to help and assist

those veterans and,

and we're closing them.

So a lot more uh flexibility on credit,

a lot more flexibility too on just blemishes on credit when it comes to like

collections and charge offs and stuff like that where unconventional those are gonna be

real problems uh when they're high collection balances and stuff.

So yeah,

it's all good stuff.

I mean,

you know,

a credit score isn't that hard to improve when you get somebody like you that can like look at

their package and say,


if you do A B and C,

you can even run some modeling and,

tell them what to do and they can bring their scores up in a relatively short period of time.

So you,


if you're at a 590 getting to 6 20 is not that


you know?


and we have hypothetical tools in our credit bureau systems where we can just click a button and

it'll sometimes just give us an explicit instructions on,


you need to pay down this credit card or you need to open an account and you're this likely to get a

score of 6 20.


and then we have those tools nowadays Yeah.


I remember in the old days it'd be like,


you know,

I think if you paid 4000 on this,

you paid this,

if you did this,

you know,

and then the person would do it and then nothing happened on the score.

They be like,



let's rethink that,

you know,

the guy's already spent a bunch of money on trying to pick his credit.

But that's,

kind of the thing of the past.


you know,

the other thing is,

is that va loans are definitely worth a veteran to consider no matter

what your agent tells you,

no matter what your,

you know,

favorite uncle tells you,

you know,

check out the va loan.

it's often better than an FHA or conventional loan for a veteran for a whole

host of reasons.

so don't disregard it and don't let someone talk you out.


if you're a veteran,

you should check into the va loan every time and,

and I'm not gonna tell you,

it's the perfect loan at 100% of the time.

There are situations where something would be more beneficial,

but those are pretty few and far between,

I mean,

high 90% the va is the route to go if you're eligible for that program.

I mean,

please check it out.

It's worth your time and force that loan officer.


I mean,

you should be working with Josh,

you should be working with us.

But if you're not then then force that loan officer to give you a va disclosure that

says this is what your va loan,

a loan estimate using a va loan that says this is what it's gonna be,



all that kind of stuff so you can do the comparison your yourself.

So please do that.

hey Josh,

we appreciate you being on the show.

We appreciate everything that you do uh with the veterans real estate benefits network, VREB

you know.

Of course,

you can reach us at

And Josh Kelinda,

you can reach him at www.smartva

He always gets amazing reviews from his borrowers and we,

talk to just about every borrower that closes with us and they always have great things to say about



you know,

if you're out there in the mortgage world and you're looking for a loan,

you know,

reach out to them,

again www.smartvaloans. com

And then of course,

when you work with the veterans Real estate Benefits  (VREB) Network and you're a veteran,

then you get a reward check after closing the average check is about $2000.

So it's not a small check.

Um So,

so check us out um and we look forward to working with you and thanking

veterans for what,

they've done for our nation and Josh,

I'd like to again.

Thank you for everything that you've done as well.

Any time,

love working with your team.

VREB Network is a BBB Accredited Business

We Proudly Hold an A+ Consumer Rating

Earn up to $7500 in membership rewards when you are active, retired or have previously served in the military. (Non-Veterans can earn a one year home warranty for a home sale that exceeds $250K. Veterans must join our free Veterans Real Estate Benefits Program. Restrictions apply and vary by state. Our Network Lenders and Agents pay a marketing fee to participate in program. VREB program benefit is only available with the purchase and/or sale of your home through the use of a program-introduced real estate agent. The actual amount you receive is based on the purchase and/or sale price of your home. The program award may be reduced in certain transactions with reduced agent commissions (including many new construction, For Sale by Owner). Your assigned agent can help you identify any transactions where the award would be reduced. All real estate commissions are negotiable. Other terms and conditions may apply. This is not a solicitation if you are already represented by a real estate broker. Program terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions apply and will be provided in your VREB Membership Agreement.
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