If you are or were in the military and want to buy a home, there is a big likelihood that you have already contacted USAA or Navy Federal Credit Union for a mortgage loan because you are no doubt a member of one or both of those organizations. The majority of military members are very loyal to USAA (so am I) because they have competitive rates on car insurance, life insurance, and it’s a one-stop shop where you can bank and even invest for your retirement...I get it!
Factors to Consider Before Making Your Decision
Before making your decision on a home loan, I’d like to share some of my 10 years of experience being a real estate professional in Hawaii: USAA is not the only program to consider when making your real estate purchase, especially if this is your first experience in buying (or selling) a property.
While they obviously have had many successful transactions and happy clients, I have also heard stories, either personally or through colleagues, where the endings weren’t so pleasant, either on the mortgage process or the inexperienced real estate agent who was assigned to them by USAA. Many times it’s purely a matter of the loan officer not being physically on island, whether it’s the time zone difference or not being familiar with some of the unique issues with Hawaii real estate.
Another factor to keep in mind as a buyer here, is that industry-wise most listing agents have a strong preference for working with local lenders, meaning someone who has an office here. While it is ultimately up to the sellers on which offer they will select, their agent may advise them to work with a buyer who will be using a local lender as there is a longer history of on time and smoother closings.
Why Use the Veterans First Reward Program?
Yes, USAA has their Mover’s Advantage program offering you money back at closing, and NFCU has RealtyPlus with a similar but little lower incentive program. Well, now there’s also Veterans First, a nationwide benefits program run by Veterans for Veterans. The agents in the network are Veteran Certified, meaning they have received training on the VA loan process and have experience working with military buyers and sellers.
Not only do these members provide you with a higher reward for serving our country, they also contribute a part of their proceeds to military charities as well! Also, you can choose your lender; however, if you go with a preferred partner, you will receive additional benefits. It’s the best of all worlds!