Like many Americans, the recent rise in interest rates may have you wondering whether this is still a good time to buy a home. This could be particularly true if you are a military service member who just received permanent change of station (PCS) orders and will be relocating to a new area.
To get you started, Wells Fargo Home Lending is providing these insights:
• Assess your readiness: “The decision to buy is personal. Take into account your goals and financial circumstances,” says Greg Murray, VP of Military Program for Wells Fargo who is also a veteran. “While interest rates have increased this year, if you feel financially ready, this is still a great time to look.” Take advantage of free on-line tools such as the one available at www.handsonbanking.com/military to better understand baseline concepts on savings and credit.
If you decide to move forward, it’s important to be realistic about what you can afford, and having a rainy day fund to fall back on is a good sign of your readiness. Don’t overextend yourself in buying. Leave yourself with the ability to weather economic cycles and afford run-of-the-mill expenses for home repairs and updates.
• Build your team: Enlist the help of a home mortgage consultant who can help you navigate the process, as well as discuss financing options that fit your needs. This is especially true for military and veteran homebuyers. “A military lending specialist can help you make the most of the home loan benefits you’ve earned,” says Murray. “Consider working with a lender who understands the options available to military families.”
• Know your down payment options: Not all financing options require you to put 20 percent down. For military service members and veterans, VA loans provide low- and no-down payment options for qualified borrowers, and do not require monthly mortgage insurance. Other low down payment options to explore include Wells Fargo’s Dream, Plan Home, as well as FHA and rural lending programs. However, understand that more money down could reduce your monthly payments and interest paid over the life of the loan, and may also eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance or reduce your funding fee on a VA loan.
• Leverage digital tools: While a recent realtor.com survey indicates that 63.6% of consumers looking for a home want to see a property in person before buying, many start the hunt online, and now you have better opportunities to do so.
And once you’ve found a property, lenders like Wells Fargo offer time-tested digital tools allowing you to handle many aspects of the loan process remotely, including signing disclosures, uploading documents and simply getting started. So far in 2022, 68% of Wells Fargo’s VA applications came through the online mortgage application. To contact a home mortgage consultant, visit wellsfargo.com/military. To access free resources that can help you be a savvier home shopper, spend some time with Wells Fargo’s educational page, myfirsthome.wellsfargobank.com.
For military personnel and veterans especially, rest easy in knowing that you have access to many resources that can make the home buying process a smooth one.