An agent’s crash course to VA loans

A Marine’s best weapon may be their rifle, but a real estate agent’s best weapon is knowledge. 

Vetted VA’s Chris Griffith says, ‘tap, rack, bang,’ is a statement all Marines know by heart. It is a muscle memory reaction to an unfiring rifle. In the housing industry, agents need to develop their own muscle memory reaction to changing circumstances, new obstacles and shifting markets in order to stay in the fight. 

Chris Griffith is the CEO of Vetted VA, a training company and trusted source for VA home loan information. For many homebuyers and housing industry professionals, there are lots of myths and misunderstandings about the VA loan and lending process. 

Whether it is believing that the appraisals take longer, the value is lower or there are more obstacles in the road, the average homebuyer and housing industry professional is ignorant to most of the benefits the VA loan provides. Vetted VA seeks to change that narrative.

Learning the ropes of VA loans

One of the first ways that narrative can be transformed is by distributing equal education around VA loans to all housing industry professionals. 

“It’s best to drive them [agents] into a conversation towards improvement…engage in a dialogue with people who are truly subject matter experts, find a good teacher or mentor who teaches you through the process as opposed to just telling you how it is,” said Griffith. 

Vetted VA has developed a training curriculum for agents, or any housing industry professional, to learn more about VA loans. The courses, roughly 50 hours worth of training, don’t just push resources like the VA website in an agent’s face and let them do the rest. They encourage real learning so agents are prepared for all their veteran clients, not just a one-off. Vetted VA also moderates a Facebook group: Vetted VA for Professionals. 

“If you’re a loan officer at Veterans United, an agent, we don’t care. If you have a question, we’ll answer it for you,” said Griffith. “We try to make sure the agents understand the theory, understand the reality and understand what the veteran’s options are.”

Financing options available to veterans

There are many options: VA renovation loans, VA one-time close loans, VA energy efficient mortgages and VA interest rate reduction, just to name a few. 

Not only are there a multitude of varieties of loan options available, but — Griffith would argue — that the VA loan and appraisal process is one of the most flexible and affordable options out there. 

“I would encourage everyone to watch how much better the VA loan performs over the next 12 months, and then try to say there’s something wrong with it again. There’s more discretionary allowances, there’s more flexibility, it has the lowest pricing by far, it has the greatest regulation preventing overcharging around it and it is one of the most efficient mortgages out there.” said Griffith. 

With market uncertainty continuing and 2023 looming, agents shouldn’t shy away from potential homebuyers in the VA market. Just as down markets are a perfect time to re-invest in new technologies, it can also be the perfect time to invest in a new client base. 

Agents shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions and seek guidance in the world of VA loans. There are several resources, including Vetted VA, that aim to debunk the myths surrounding VA loans and home buying. Or, agents can take Griffith’s advice and find the veterans, lending professionals and experienced agents in their own community to learn from. 

“Most professionals feel like we’re alone. You can do your job perfectly, alone and unafraid, but without a strong peer network watching out for you, you can still get blown up. I would encourage everyone to find a mentor that will teach you something.” 

When asked if there was one, strongest message he could leave agents with, Griffith said,  “I would tell all agents to at least consider for a moment that the VA loan could be possibly the most versatile tool in your bag.”