If you’ve ever purchased a home before, you know the procedure; but, if you haven’t, it generally goes like this: you create a list of priorities for your future home, start an internet search for homes with your criteria – or enlist the aid of a realtor, then you attend open houses or private showings, and after you decide on a house to purchase you make an offer and sign a contract. Then you have a home inspection and appraisal done; if they go well, then you finalize your loan documents, complete some paperwork, get your keys and move in! It’s a lot, but totally worth it in the end!

When you’re a veteran, the process isn’t too different (although, it may take slightly longer), but you may have a few advantages from having served in the military. For instance, when searching for financing you’ll qualify for a VA loan which offers perks like $0 down payment, no mortgage insurance, and credit leniency. Here are some important tips when purchasing a home with a VA loan:

  1. Work With An Experienced Realtor.

The best realtors for this task will be committed to ensuring you get the perfect home while educating you on the requirements and advantages of your special loan. A VA-savvy realtor will have loads of experience in this area and will take the time to answer any and all questions you have, so that you avoid wasting money and time.

  1. Get Pre-Approved.

Not that a VA loan requires significantly more time than a conventional one, but it does have specific rules that you’ll need to have the extra time for working out. A VA loan will require that the home you purchase be in good condition. This ensures marketability of the property and the safety of the buyer. Depending on the location of the area you’re looking into, it could take some time to find a suitable home within your budget. If you’re searching for a home as an active military member, you may not have the extra time to wait for something to open up, so getting pre-approved is a huge benefit. (Hint: some banks promise fast pre-approval with a VA loan).

  1. Use Technology To Your Advantage.

Get the ball rolling early by using real estate marketplace apps to sort out homes you’re interested in. Send them to your realtor to get the scoop on an open house or private viewing. If you’re out-of-state, your realtor will be happy to use a live video chat app while walking through the house so that you can see every corner of the home before deciding to purchase it.

  1. Read The Fine Print.

Some sellers may have stipulations for their listings; such as cash only, which would prevent you from using your loan. Be sure to check with your realtor that your VA loan will allow you to make an offer on the house.