While we’re eager to get things moving now that we’ve decided to buy, other players in the game are making sure we don’t rush into anything. A VA loan requires an inordinate amount of time and paperwork, and some of that paperwork is going to take some time to get our hands on.
But, IF everything goes as planned we may be in our new home by next January. Here is our tentative timeline:
- Get pre-qualified for VA loan: We have done this already, and as we know our income isn’t going to change we feel confident in looking at certain properties; we know how much we can afford.
- Order VA eligibility form: Brett has already started this process, but if push comes to shove I already have mine on hand (we used my eligibility to buy our first home).
- Request retirement and Social Security award letters: I am now officially retired from the State of Oregon, but more toward the end of the month is the earliest I can request an award letter. Brett will order ones for his Social Security and pension benefits. I cannot get one for my Social Security because I cannot apply for benefits until October.
- Apply for my Social Security Benefits. I want them to start next January, so October 1 is the first day I can apply (and I will be applying on that day). Once my application is approved I can request an award letter, and once we have that award letter we can . . .
- Get pre-approved for VA home loan. We need the pre-approval to make an offer, and this will be the earliest we can do this. The VA approval is good for 90 days. We’re not too worried about losing out on either The Prince or The Pauper, for example, because the average days on market here for condos is somewhere between 100 and 200! Who knows though, another condo we like and can afford may become available as well.
- Make an offer! If offer is approved, then we will . . .
- Start VA “clean up” process. The VA requires you to close all sorts of open credit accounts, ones you didn’t even know you had. And, which ones they choose are anyone’s guess. I can only think of two open accounts that we don’t use that the VA might want us to close.
- Order home inspection (if our offer has been accepted).
- A nice, quiet month of waiting. If we end up buying The Pauper, or another condo that needs some work, we will start meeting with contractors, handymen, etc. to get a tentative timeline for that work.
- Officially apply for home loan. My Social Security income will begin this month so it will be all systems GO! The VA will already have most of the necessary paperwork, but some may need to be updated, and they will run another credit check. How long this could take is anyone’s guess.
- Hopefully close by the end of the month, but this may go into February.
As things move along we’ll have a better grip on the process, so the times above are only guesses. Of course, nothing ever goes according to plan, but we are secure in our income sources and amounts, and safe in our current home until the end of May. Our agent will help us break the lease here if we do end up moving earlier than that; at worst we will lose our deposit. But, hopefully not!