Vail Daily column: Special options exist for veterans buying homes |

Vail Daily column: Special options exist for veterans buying homes

Joan Harned
Ask a Realtor
Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My brother is a returning veteran who has a wife and three small children. He is moving to our area and wants to buy a home, but I am afraid that will be tough for him. He and his wife say they don’t want to rent, even though they have very little savings. They both have secure good jobs here and will be starting work shortly and earning good salaries. The whole family will be staying with us so I am concerned they make a realistic decision as quickly as possible. Any advice?

Dear Crowded Quarters,

My best advice is that they talk to a knowledgeable lender who does VA loans, as quickly as possible. We have some well qualified lenders that we put our clients in touch with for each specific type of loan, and I am sure most seasoned brokers can do the same for you. The good news is that many veterans (including a surviving spouse) are qualified for a 100 percent VA loan, with no monthly mortgage insurance and less stringent debt to income ratios! They need to visit with the lender to see how soon they could qualify for a VA loan since they both will have new jobs. However, if they are working in related fields to their last jobs, they may be able to expedite the process of qualifying.

In our valley right now, rentals are tight and rent prices are rising. This is great news if you are an investor, or even want to be an investor with one or more residential rentals. However, if you are a family looking for a rental, the availability and the terms can be challenging, but not impossible. There are always other avenues to pursue to find housing in this valley, if a VA loan does not work: One, it is always worth exploring to see if any of your family members could assist financially with a purchase; two, often employers in the valley have housing or connections to secure housing; three, it is good to put out the word locally, especially real estate offices, that you are looking for housing. I know our office does not do rentals, but we pass on information when our clients let us know they have a vacancy; four, Facebook; five, local churches and charities can also be a wealth of information.

I hope that your brother can take advantage of the benefit of a VA loan and be able to get a great low interest rate and no down payment, since he served his country. The VA loans can be great loans. The only word of caution I have with the VA loan is when he gets ready to sell, do not let the next buyer of his house assume his loan. Some of the loans do not totally release you from liability. Let the next buyer get their own loan, not assume his. Best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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