Most people hear the term “sticker shock” and they think of cars. For military families with PCS orders to Northern Virigia the term can also explain their first reaction to housing prices in Northern Virginia. Today’s market has helped lessen that shock but it is still something to consider as you decide whether you should buy a home in the area.
One of the many benefits that the military offers is the VA loan which has made a comeback for buyers in Northern Virginia over the last year. The first thing I recommend to anyone with PCS orders to our area is to verify their BAH rate, this will help you with understanding how much of a payment you might be comfortable making. Then take a look at your VA loan eligibility status. If you are eligible then you should go ahead and request your Certificate of Eligibility (VA Form 26-1880) directly from the VA or most lenders will have the ability to request the certificate electronically as well.
Why have VA loans become popular again? Due to the changes in lending rules a VA loan offers the advantage of a low down payment, no pre-payment penalties, easier qualification and loans are assumable which could be an advantage when you go to sell your home in a few years. In our current market the VA funding fee which had been a sticking point for sellers a few years ago is now just part of making the deal happen, easing the way for a seller to see the benefit of accepting an offer with a VA loan.
Once you have looked at your BAH rates, spoken with a mortgage professional who understands the VA loan process (if you need a recommendation let me know), then you are ready to begin to explore many of the great neighborhoods within commuting range of the many military installations in Northern Virginia. Whether you are looking for a condo, townhouse or detached home there are some terrific choices within 30 minutes of the main gate of base.
You can start your search for a new home in Northern Virginia online to get a feel for some of the local communities. Once you narrow down your search you need an agent who is knows the area (I’m a native) and understands military moves then you may want to give me a call. I’ve walked in your shoes from the Far East to Europe and know what it is like to make a military move. I promise I’ll help you through your “sticker shock” and find a place that you will be glad to call home during your time at Fort Belvoir!