In the Navy there was a common joke that went something like this:
I’m not in the military, I’m in the Navy.
Every branch of service views themselves as the special snowflake, distinct and unique compared to all others. But the Navy really is a weird place. It’s huge, it has tons of planes, SEALs that take out Bin Laden, nuclear reactors, choppers, massive floating hospitals, river boats, 1/3 of the country’s nuclear weapons, and supplies most of NASA’s pilots.
Nothing says hello like a broadside from a battleship.
So although my own personal military contributions rank quite low compared to the incredibly decorated list of professional sailors and soldiers, I am a veteran, and armed with my VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility, I was dead pressed to get myself a VA Home Loan.
Interestingly enough, my realtor who has been selling homes in Mammoth Lakes for roughly three decades said I’m her second VA Home Loan ever. If you decide to do a VA Home Loan in the Eastern Sierra get ready to blaze your own trail.
There are great sites out there with all the info on these loans, and recapping them here would not only be a waste of time but probably inaccurate as you be sure things will change by the time you read this.
But in general here are a few pointers to consider special to Mammoth:
- As of this writing there is one, and perhaps no, VA appraiser in Mammoth. This guy is listed as one, but I don’t think he does them anymore. What that means is that you’ll be dealing with someone from somewhere else in the Eastern Sierra which will add time. Plus, you can’t pick them, so there you go. Thanks, VA.
- There aren’t many lenders up in Mammoth, and they probably haven’t done a VA loan in the last two decades, if they ever have.
- There are special forms that need to be filled out by the pest inspectors and lenders which they probably don’t know about, so that can screw you up a bit too.
- Not unique to Mammoth, the whole “no closing costs” thing is sort of a lie because there is the VA Funding Fee which gets wrapped into your loan (typically). So there are closing costs, they just go by a different name, and they’re in your loan.
- Again, not unique to Mammoth, you’ll need a longer escrow period because of the appraisal, increased paperwork, and VA approval timelines. This is more than just a trivial fact because unless the seller is patriotic and wants to “support the troops”, a VA homeloan means a lower chance of the loan closing (because of VA appraisal black magic), potentially more repairs the seller will be out of pocket on, and even if all goes well a longer escrow period.
And regarding the VA funding fee, remember this shipmates: the military is still screwing you.
The VA funding fee is a fee you pay the VA so they can cover the cost of defaults. So no, “the government” isn’t handling the risk of defaults, the pooled contributions of veterans are.
All in, it’s been worth it to me. A great interest rate, 0% down, and no mortgage insurance is just a great deal. But it’s taken longer, been more nerve racking, and still isn’t closed.