Finding “Local” VA Lenders

In a recent column, I made reference to professionals a REALTOR® might recommend, who can assist in bringing Real Estate transactions to closing. I also made a vague reference to an out-of-town lender who doesn’t know the “local professionals” or the “boots on the ground” and how that can cause undue stress. Well, allow me to get more specific although I won’t name a particular company, for two reasons.

  1. It would be unprofessional to publicly defame…AND
  2. I don’t want to open myself up to possible legal action.

So, I happen to be in the military, and I therefore often work with military or Veteran buyers. Therefore, I often deal with VA loans (Department of Veteran Affairs). The VA loan has pros and cons but what usually attracts military buyers, is the fact that there isn’t a down payment requirement. That’s huge for many and especially first-timers.

Now, there are some lenders who market to the military community. Some are so good at this, that some buyers think that’s who they must go to in order to obtain a VA loan. I’ve had clients say, “I need to stick with ABC Mortgage because I need to use my VA benefit.” I then try to nicely explain that they can obtain a VA loan through MOST lenders. It does NOT have to be one of those few who advertise to the military.

So, here’s a story. I represented a military couple a while back and their transaction was running smoothly at first. I was dealing with a loan officer and an assistant who are based in the Midwest…far from West Virginia. My initial frustration was that the two of them weren’t communicating with each other. I originally sent the Purchase Agreement to the loan officer. Three weeks later, the assistant asked me for it in a tone implying I was derelict in my role. So, I simply forwarded the original e-mail with the time and date stamp.

But wait…it gets much worse!

The property was in Masontown in Preston County…but roughly a week prior to closing, the lender insisted we change the address to Reedsville. Many of you reading this are local and know those two towns are quite close to each other…but are indeed separate. The attorney, the listing agent, my broker, clients and I all said, “No! It’s in Masontown!”. However, the lender wouldn’t accept that. So, my clients decided to agree to do what the lender requested. So, I changed the address via an addendum to the Purchase Agreement. Well guess what happened as a result? The homeowner’s insurance quote shot up drastically! Maybe it’s due to the proximity to a fire station or maybe it had to do with crime. I’m not sure and that’s not the point. Fortunately, we found out from the Preston County 911 office how to change this back after closing, but no thanks to this lender.

Just before closing, the loan officer finally realized he was mistaken! My main point is most lenders offer the VA loan and your REALTOR® can recommend good LOCAL loan officers! Please don’t fall for misleading advertising!