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Marching Forward with Homeownership: VA Loans & Today's Rates

Updated: Apr 5


Sun shining on an American flag hanging from a home's front porch with "VA LOANS" written above it.

VA Loans

The Department of Veteran Affairs, also known as VA, recognized that supporting Veterans, Servicemembers, and surviving spouses (VA) in homeownership provides a distinctive opportunity to show appreciation for the dedication of these valiant men and women. In that, they created the standards by which participating lenders are able to offer home loans to eligible recipients. By providing home loan guarantee benefits, which enhance the ability for participating lenders to issue loans in confidence, they entice more participation and foster more opportunity to the military community. As part of The Department of Veteran Affairs mission to serve all who served, they provide housing related programs to help one build, repair, buy, and/or retain a home. Check out our VA Loan page to learn more or contact one of our Branch Managers, Mesha Dimitruk, to find out if you're eligible.


Qualifications for a VA loan:

  • Military Service Eligibility:

    • Served at least 90 days of active duty during wartime.

    • Served at least 181 days of active duty during peacetime

    • Have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves, or those who served 90 days (At least 30 of them consecutively) under Title 10 or 32 orders.

    • *Requirements vary depending on when you served.

    • Read more about eligibility requirements here.

  • Benefits of an VA loan:

    • No Down Payment Options Available

    • No minimum credit score required

    • Greater Financial Flexibility


These minimum requirements apply to some of our loan options. There are many other alternatives and requirements available as well.


March Mortgage Rates


Hand placing blocks with percentage signs on them in an upwards trend with March Mortgage Rates written on the side.

Even though spring has historically been a busy time for homebuyers, mortgage rates continue to fluctuate, causing further impact to buyer confidence.  We saw a slight dip between March 18th and 29th. According to Bankrate, on March 29th, we ended the month with an average of 6.91% for a 30-year fixed, 6.50% for a 15-year fixed rate, and 6.37% for a 5/1 adjustable mortgage rate.


Although rates are still higher than what everyone was hoping for, the 30-year mortgage rate was down 5 basis points to 6.91% at month end, compared to the prior week. Since February, mortgage rates haven’t seen a consistent downward trend just yet. During the Federal Open Market Committee’s March meeting, the Fed decided to hold interest rates steady for a fifth time (CNET). While the Fed doesn't directly control mortgage rates, their decisions can influence borrowing costs across the market. This means that adjustments to the benchmark rate can lead to similar movements in mortgage rates.


What does this mean for you?

For home buyers in a fluctuating rate environment, the most important piece of preparation is a formal pre-approval. Understanding buying power, estimated monthly payment, available interest rates (Along with correlating costs) and obtaining and itemization of estimated cash due to close, are the keys to success. Learning if there is something within your credit profile that is adversely impacting your credit is best learned early in the process, so you have time to address the issue and improve your scores which directly relate to the rate options you are offered (And the cost or credit available for a specific rate). Knowing the rate your pre-approval is qualified at is important however, equally important to understand, you cannot lock-in a rate until you have a property under contract.


As for home sellers, the higher rates may lower the competitive buyer pool which could mean fewer bidding wars and greater instances of closing cost credit requests. Understanding the market trends in the community you are selling will afford you the opportunity to create a solid strategy for your sale and working with an experienced local Realtor will aid in capturing the best price for your property.


Overall, current rates and their impact depends on a variety of different factors such as location, property type, loan amount, credit score, occupancy, and individual financial situations. It is important to consult with a mortgage professional to understand how your transaction details affect rates available to you.


One thing to remember is individual rates will vary. Rates also depend on your credit score, loan amount and more. Make sure to stay on top of mortgage rates so you can get the best deal for your dream home!


About Essex's Branch Manager, Mesha Dimitruk

Mesha spent the first decade of her career working in mortgage operations, immersed daily in the technical steps required from application through closing and committing herself to an unrivaled level of customer service. This time afforded her a deep appreciation and understanding of the guidelines, regulations and calculations that go into loan qualification which are the keys to unlocking true borrowing potential. The shift to sales came naturally as she began to use her technical skills and product knowledge to help solve financing puzzles. Learning about clients as people, understanding their goals and perspectives, reviewing the details of their qualification and ultimately providing facts and presenting real opportunities make up the foundation of her services.


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