With the recent deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, many Veterans have done multiple tours over the past several years. And that’s in addition to the regular deployments of US Military personnel around the world. With so many of our men and women in the Military working overseas, there are multiple scenarios under which they may need to be buying a home back in the United States. Generally speaking they will use a Department of Veterans Affairs VA Loan, but how the process works when overseas can cause some serious logistical issues.
Sometimes they are trying to buy a home for their family prior to deploying and/or are moving their family closer to relatives while they are deployed. Due to the nature of the home buying process, sometimes by the time they find a house, negotiate a contract, apply for a VA Loan, do an inspection, appraisal etc. the service member may be on deployment by the time the closing date rolls around.
Other times, if they are on deployment and returning home, they may need to buy a house for them to move in to with their family when they finally come home. Their spouse back home may be doing the legwork, looking at houses and sending the online home listings. Assuming they are comfortable buying a house without actually seeing it in person, they’ll need to do the real estate contract and the VA loan application online from overseas.
The good news is this, it is not as hard as it may seem to actually buy a house and get a home loan while deployed overseas. As long as a Veteran has reliable access to the internet, and ideally a scanner almost everything can be handled via the internet. Most things like bank statements, copies of a LES, a certificate of eligibility etc. can be accessed and sent online. The VA loan application will need to be signed, but if you have a good scanner you can do that and send it in. Also, frequently Veterans deployed overseas arrange for a spouse to have power of attorney so they can sign contracts and closing documents on their behalf. On or close to the closing date a Veteran will also likely be required to send in an “Alive and Well Statement” – the name says it all but don’t hold it against your lender, it’s simply a required document to make the loan eligible to be VA guaranteed.
However, they key to all this is to make sure to work with a lender that has specialized experience in VA Home Loans. Generally speaking big bureaucratic banks can’t execute and get this type of stuff done in a timely manner. It is highly advisable to find a specialized VA loan officer/lender that knows the ins and outs of the VA Loan program and has worked with these scenarios before. They’ll know how to get it done and ensure Veterans and their families are taken care of while they are deployed overseas.