Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Second-home purchase gets easier for veterans

But original VA loan must be paid off to qualify

The tremendous the growth of the housing market is being pushed along by the lower-than-expected long-term interest rates and the idea that real estate is a wise investment. In addition, consumers are more reluctant to plow their hard-earned cash into the inconsistent conventional financial markets and now are buying an additional piece of real estate sooner in their lives.

In fact, the second-home market is so huge and important to the United States' economy that the largest survey ever conducted by National Association of Realtors was dedicated to the second-home phenomenon that grew 40 percent in the number of homes sold from 1995-2000. NAR's definition of "second home" now includes single-family dwellings, including condominiums, other than a primary residence. Last year, the purchase of investment property and vacation homes accounted for more than one-third of residential transactions.

Some of these homes will eventually become retirement homes where seniors and aging baby boomers will spend most of their time. Why not purchase it with the help of a VA loan? While federal regulations require that all loans insured by the Department of Veterans' Affairs be used only to acquire a "primary residence," it is possible to purchase a second home using your VA loan guaranty. As in many cases involving the use of real estate, the definition of primary residence is the place you live "most of the year." So, if you use the home more than six months of the year, it can be defined as your primary residence.

"The law was not intended to help people enter the business of real estate and purchase lots of homes," said Chris Michel, a former naval reservist and founder and president of military.com, an Internet site targeting present and former military personnel and their families. "The law was written to help people afford the home that they are going to occupy.

Read the entire Tom Kelly Inman News article at Citywide Services

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