NMP - November 2019 - 62

special focus on A SALUTE TO THE HEROES OF HOMEOWNERSHIP a special focus on A

Serving the Dream of Homeownership
to Those Who Serve our Country:
Mastering the VA Loan
By Casey Cunningham

s the wife of a
military veteran, I
have a special place
in my heart for those
who serve. As a
mortgage
professional of 30-plus years, I have
always loved the fact that our
profession has such a positive
impact on peoples' lives. It is
incredibly gratifying helping people
reach the American Dream ... even
more so when it is for those who
have served our country, sacrificed
time away from their families and
quite often risked their own lives for
our freedom.
It is a privilege that we can serve
this military group with the VA loan
program as it is available to assist
active-duty military personnel,
reserve members, veterans and their
families to purchase a place of their
own to call home. What's more, it
offers incredible benefits such as
zero downpayment and no monthly
mortgage insurance requirements.
For the loan originator, VA loans
come with unique guidelines,
disclosures and pricing and requires
a little effort to learn. In my mind,
this extra effort is a small price to
pay when considering the sacrifices
made by our veterans.

A

NOVEMBER 2019 n National Mortgage Professional Magazine n

NationalMortgageProfessional.com

62

Understanding your
products and options
As a sales professional,
understanding your company's loan
programs is crucial for creating the
best customer experience. Most
companies offer VA loans, but
processes can vary from company
to company. It's important to study
up on the VA loan guidelines,
including any company overlays. It's
also critical to familiarize yourself
with VA regulations and housing
laws in other states in case they
differ from state(s) in which you
originate. Knowing these guidelines
and regulations inside and out will
give you more confidence in
presenting the VA loan program as
an option that they are eligible for
and may best fit their needs.
A major challenge in working with
the VA loan program is the stringent
appraisal process. There are very
high standards when it comes to a
VA appraisal, and this can be
intimidating to both a seller and a

borrower. Our military personnel are
vital assets to our country, and our
government puts these precautions
and regulations into place to protect
our military and their families which
is why strict minimum property
requirements (MPRs) are built into
the process. Home repairs required
to meet the MPRs can be costly
and may deter sellers from
accepting an offer with a VA loan
attached to it. Luckily, there are
several companies who provide VA
renovation loans, which can provide
up to $35,000 toward repairs that
need to be made to bring the home
up to the MPRs set by the VA.
Brushing up on all of the options
available to your borrowers is
incredibly important and can even
prove to be critical to a successful
loan closing.

consumer's perspective. Although
her loan originator was incredibly
well-versed in VA loans, her real
estate agent was not as familiar
which led to a few hiccups during
their homebuying process. In
hindsight, she wished that she had
asked her loan officer to
recommend a real estate agent
who had more experience working
with buyers using a VA loan. Being
able to provide a list of vetted
vendors your borrower may be
looking for is a huge value-add and
will set you apart as someone who
goes the extra mile to secure that
exceptional customer experience.
Build your VA "A-Team" with a local
real estate agent and home
inspector who know the process
and have experience working with
VA loans.

Build your "A-Team"
In reality, even the most
knowledgeable VA loan specialist
can experience snags along the
way if the right team is not set into
place from the start. We saw this
recently with one of our own
associates at XINNIX. Our colleague
and her veteran husband recently
purchased a new home by way of a
VA loan. She was able to speak to
me about her experience from the

Know your market
There are many people who are

eligible for the VA loan program
who aren't taking advantage of it
because they don't have a full
understanding of the benefits
available to them. Those who do
know about the VA program believe
that military-specific lenders like
USAA and Navy Federal Credit
Union are their only options. While
these are both great options, they
are certainly not the only ones.
Loan officers operating in a militaryheavy market (near military bases)
should capitalize on this
underserved market. Even if you
don't operate in a military-heavy
market, there are still referral
sources available to help you
market to those eligible for the VA
loan program. Local VFW (Veterans
of Foreign Wars) groups are a great
place to start. Reach out to these
groups to see if you can sponsor
one of their meetings and speak to
them about home financing options
available to them. VA hospitals are
another great place to market to
the military audience. In addition to
these brick-and-mortar resources,
there are also veteran and military
resource hotlines and 1-800
numbers you can reach out to if
you're interested in helping
veterans. Most of these
organizations have a list of vendors
in the area who offer services
specific to active-duty military,
reserve members, veterans and
their families.
Don't let a lack of knowledge
and understanding keep you from
presenting such a great program
that supports those who protect
our freedoms. Just as it is the
military's duty to serve our
country, your highest duty as a
loan officer is to serve your
military customers well. The first
step to that is being a subject
matter expert on the VA loan
program your company offers.

Casey Cunningham is chief executive officer and founder of
XINNIX Inc. In 2002, Casey founded XINNIX, a sales and
leadership development academy providing training, coaching
and accountability for the nation's top mortgage lenders. For
nearly 18 years, she has fostered a culture of excellence that
has attracted a diverse team with deep knowledge of the
industry to join XINNIX. To date, the company boasts a total of
19 culture awards, including "Atlanta's Best Places to Work"
and "Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in the Nation."


http://www.NationalMortgageProfessional.com

NMP - November 2019

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