Hurry Up and Wait


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!



8 thoughts on “Hurry Up and Wait

  1. Interesting. We didn’t have to close any accounts to get a VA loan. Sounds like a good time line. Even with a good offer and loan in hand it still took us 45 days to both buy and sell houses this year.


    1. It’s very random with the VA, and they may not ask us to close anything this time. The last time, it seemed their choices were totally random, but several were accounts we had opened many, many years earlier (i.e. an old Sears account that we opened to buy a washer and dryer, which we paid off in a couple of months but then forgot about the account). We’ve checked our credit reports, and this time we don’t seem to have any of those accounts, but who knows with the VA?


    1. Fingers crossed that this all goes smoothly this time. The big hold-up will be the award letter for my Social Security. But, once the award is in place (even before they start actual payment) we should be good to go.


  2. Thank you for this information. I thought you had to be active or have served a long time to qualify for a VA loan. I just looked up the requirements. I can’t believe it never crossed our mind to check.


    1. I served just three days over the minimum amount of time needed to qualify for veteran’s benefits (183 days). It might be longer now though. I qualify for VA home loans on my own, and I also received benefits from the (old) GI Bill. Actually the GI Bill benefits were the reason I joined the navy in the first place – I wanted to go back to school and couldn’t afford it otherwise. Besides those benefits I also got a pretty great husband out of the deal :-)!!


      1. He got school covered with the GI bill. He was so glad to have participated. They were reducing the size of the military and changing his position to civilian so it was leave after 4 1/2 years honorably or change what her was doing within the army. So he left the army for school. The thing he most wanted to do when he joined wasn’t open to him, so when he left he studied that field. I think it’s 181 days in peacetime for the loan with initial checking. Does sound like a pain to go through the process. We didn’t even realize he could get veteran discounts until last year. He just always assumed he was done getting any benefits or allowances except being able to retire slightly earlier. His dad served in Vietnam and they were treated awful. He always sees himself as a different sort of veteran since he had such an easy service in comparison. It was all before I knew him. The only time it effected our married life was with adoption. Because of all the places he “lived”.


      2. Are you eligible for USAA insurance coverage? I’m not sure who is eligible these days, but if you are eligible you can save a bundle. When we tell other insurance carriers that we have USAA, they have all said “we can’t touch their rates.”

        The difference between conditions depending on when you served is amazing. Brett and I were just looking yesterday at the housing available on a base where we were stationed in the mid-80s. The housing is new, gorgeous and full fitted-out – some units even have granite countertops and stainless appliances, fridges with in-door ice-makers, garages, etc. Amazing. In my 15 years of living in military housing we had one house with a dishwasher, and one other house had a carport (not a garage). The houses we lived in always seemed to be remodeled right after we moved out, and these days so many of those houses we lived in have been torn down as most of them were built in the 1940s. It’s a different world now, and service members and their families deserve the good stuff, but I’m still glad we served when we did. Brett was drafted, but joined the navy before he had to report for basic training. He cruised around the Mediterranean on an aircraft carrier instead of having to go to Vietnam, and ended up staying in the navy for 22 years.


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