Can I Use My VA Loan Benefits While I'm Deployed?
Buying a house can be a stressful process for anyone. But for an active-duty member of the military, things can get especially hairy if you get deployed during the VA home mortgage loan process. Or maybe your family's growing and your spouse and kids need a bigger place before you get home. The good news if you absolutely can use your VA Loan benefits while you're deployed. There are just a couple of extra steps.
Get a Power of Attorney (POA)
If you're deployed overseas, you're probably familiar with Power of Attorney (POA) and possible even have someone designated already. So you know POA is a legal document that lets you appoint someone (usually a family member, spouse, or trusted friend--but can be anyone you choose) to handle your affairs--like signing legal documents or getting a mortgage--when you're not able to.
There are two types of POA you need to think about, general and specific. General Power of Attorney allows whoever you appoint as your agent to act on your behalf in many different situations, whereas Specific Power of Attorney only lets the agent act in situations you specify in the document.
If you're using your VA Loan benefits while you're deployed, you're most likely going to need a Specific POA. Even if you and your spouse are able to sign all the initial documents, the POA needs to list specific details about the property (like the price, and details of the home inspection). Your Specific POA should also include:
- Your expressed intent to get a VA loan to purchase or refinance a house
- A clear identification of the property
- The sales price, loan amount, interest rate, and any other information that's relevant to the loan
- Your intent to occupy the property as your primary residence
- Your intent to use all or a specified amount of entitlement
Qualify for a VA home mortgage loan
To qualify for a VA Loan you have to use the home you're buying as your primary residence--and you usually have to do it within 60 days of buying. The good news is you can get an extension for up to a year if you're deployed and:
- You plan on retiring in the home when you get back
- There are repairs to make on the home
- You have an unusual circumstances (talk with your VA Loan specialist and see what you can work out)
- Your spouse plans on living in the house while you're away
Verify you're alive and well
The lender of your VA loan also has to verify that you're alive, well, and not missing in action (there is an exception for your spouse can use your VA Loan benefits if you're MIA). They can usually do that with a simple phone call right before your POA signs the papers.
So if you're planning on buying a home while you're deployed, don't hesitate to get a POA and use your VA Loan benefits. That way you can focus on the task at hand knowing that your home and your family are being taken care of while you're gone.
Still have questions? Get the facts about VA loans.