55 items found
- Title Search | PadScouts
Title Search A buyer should always obtain a title search from a title company before purchasing a home. The company searches public records and other sources for any liens, easements (such as the utility company’s right to access part of the property), or other encumbrances or title restrictions that may affect ownership or use of the property. Under the Illinois purchase contract, the seller is expected to correct those problems as a condition to closing. If your mortgage lender doesn’t already require it, you should also consider purchasing a title insurance policy to protect your title to the property against adverse claims by third parties, or any clouds on the title missed by the title search.
- Highest and Best Offer | PadScouts
Highest and Best Offer In a highly competitive market, multiple buyers will submit offers for the same property. In these situations, it is possible that Sellers will contact all Buyers who’ve submitted offers to resubmit their highest and best offer. This is a negotiating tactic that may be utilized to request Buyers to submit their best offers for the property.
- Seller's Agent | PadScouts
REALTOR (R) Seller's Agent A REALTOR (R) is real estate professional that is both a licensed real estate agent or broker AND a member of the National Realtor's Association. They are experts in the residential real estate process and help represent Sellers and Buyers during their real estate transaction. On this page, we will discuss the role, duties, and responsibilities of the Buyer's Agent: Role Showings: Sellers's Agents will coordinate with you and the prospective buyers to schedule time and access for property showings. Negotiations: Seller's Agents will assist the Seller in the Offer Negotiation process when the Seller receives offers to purchase their home. These include individual offers, multiple bids, and other offer situations. Management: Seller's Agents will assist the Seller in managing the entire buying process by organizing all of the requisite documents and ensuring all parties involved in the transaction are active in ensuring the selling process is being executed properly and in a timely fashion. Benefits - You do not need a real estate agent to sell a home; in fact, some home sellers leave the Seller's Agent out of the equation. However, you might benefit from hiring one. To save time. Agents are professionals who are active in the market and will have a pulse on the general market conditions in your area. Pricing a home properly on the market is important so that Sellers can receive the highest payment for their property and to sell quickly. Mispriced homes can end up staying on the market longer than desired by Sellers and may impair the Sellers ability to purchase another home and/or move on time. To get information and help with negotiations. Good agents should have wealth of information to help you make a decision. And, they’ll handle a lot of complex paperwork on your behalf. Offer Contract Contingency Negotiations Home Inspection Reports Appraisal Reports Earnest Money Escrow Extension Requests Another plus is that your agent will handle a ton of paperwork on your behalf. Unless you love filling out forms – and have experience in real estate transactions – this is a chore best left to the professionals, who should ensure that everything is done by the book. You could easily make a mistake with these documents. Mistakes can cause deals to fall apart or (worse) make you liable for an inadvertent breach of contract. (Licensed agent will have errors and omissions insurance to limit this risk.) An experienced agent will make sure that everything that needs to take place — counter-offers, extensions, appraisal, inspection, walk-through, loan approval — happens when it’s supposed to and how it’s supposed to.
- Prepare Home For Sale | PadScouts
Prepare Home For Sale Of course, every home buyer is different. So, it’s impossible to prepare a home that is acceptable to every buyer. But, in order to improve the chances of selling your property, it is necessary to understand the buyers in your market. Each market is different so this page will only attempt to speak to the macro national trends in the market. Although you may love your property the way it is, new buyers will be looking for a fresh face. Spend time preparing your home for sale by conducting a deep cleaning, and refresh its appearance by providing a fresh coat of paint. Your agent can also help provide guidelines, such as decluttering, removing overly personalized effects and getting rid of pet odors. Millennial Home Buying Statistics It’s no secret millennials continue to make up the majority of today’s home buyer demographics. Millennials make up 66% of first-time home buyers, and 34% of the home buying market overall, so if you plan to sell a property, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with some millennial home buying statistics. According to Inc.com, only 11% of millennial home buyers consider their first home as permanent, yet they have specific wishlists. Because down payments are so hard to save up for, today’s young home buyers tend to prefer turn-key properties. Some home buying trends stay the same regardless of the generation. Over half of Millennials prefer to purchase homes in the suburbs, with only 25% opting for urban areas. Current Home Buying TrendsWhether you position yourself as a real estate agent for millennials or as an investor looking to target millennial housing trends, it is still important to keep in touch with current home buying trends overall. Although millennial real estate trends are dominating the industry landscape, it is important to keep in mind that other generations still make up a significant proportion of potential buyers. Here are some key highlights on current home buying trends from the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Generational Trends report: Previously owned homes prevail: In 2017, 85% of home buyers purchased previously owned homes, while the rest purchased new homes. The most common type of home purchased was the single-family home. However, interestingly, the majority of home buyers under the age of 37 who purchased a new home did so in order to avoid renovations and having to pay to remedy problems. Online presence is key: A vast majority of today’s home buyers first find their property online. Nine out of ten buyers stated that real estate photos were the most important feature on online listings. In addition, buyers between the ages of 53 and 71 felt that virtual tours were the most important, as this generation tends to move the longest distances. Financing remains a necessity: Although 88% of home buyers finance their home purchase, the statistic increased to 98% when it comes to buyers under the age of 37. Although most consumers use their savings for a down payment, the proportion increases for millennials, while older generations to use proceeds from a previous sale. Most buyers across all generations still view buying a home as a good investment. Agents are more needed than ever: 87% of all home buyers worked with an agent, but the share increased to 90% for buyers aged 37 and younger. Buyers who worked with an agent cited that they wanted help finding the right home, negotiating the purchase price and terms of sale, as well as help in understanding the purchase process. Selling To The Millennial Home Buyer: What Do Millennials Want In A Home? When devising a strategy on selling to millennial home buyers, it is important to ask yourself, “what do millenials want in a home?” Selling real estate to millennials is no easy feat, as they have a unique set of preferences and demands that set them apart from buyers of other generations. Check out the following list of “must-have” features for today’s youthful buyers: Updated kitchen and bathroom: Brand new fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms are important for budget-conscious millennials. Because of their limited budgets, most millennials’ savings will go towards a down payment and furniture, and not updates. Open floor concept: Although formal dining rooms used to be popular, today’s buyers prefer an open concept where the kitchen, dining and living areas all flow together. All rooms are used as hangout spaces. Home office space: The number of Americans who work remotely continues to grow each year, making a home office an important factor for home buyers. Having a dedicated space will help them focus on the task at hand. Proximity: It could be attributed to high gas prices and traffic, or to eco-consciousness, but young buyers tend to emphasize the property’s location. Proximity to work or public transportation, as well as walkability, are all important considerations. Low maintenance features: Today’s “weekend warriors” tend to not want to spend their weekends carrying out chores and honey-do lists. Instead, millennials are showing a preference for low-maintenance, low-upkeep features. Home technology: Technology has taken center stage in real estate for millennials, as these digital natives have saturated the home buying landscape. Prepare to talk to potential buyers about wireless service providers, carrier signal strength, and smart home features. Energy efficient: Energy efficiency features such as solar panels help millennial buyers kill two birds with one stone. Increased efficiency allows them to protect their budgets while satisfying their environmental consciousness. Online photography: Mentioned earlier, the vast majority of home buyers find their property online. Setting up a real estate website for millennials is essential, which should include photographs and virtual tours of the property after it has been professionally staged.
- Real Estate Attorney | PadScouts
Real Estate Attorney What is a real estate attorney? A real estate attorney is someone who is licensed to practice real estate law, meaning they have the knowledge and experience to advise parties involved in a real estate transaction, such as a home sale. What does a real estate attorney do? Real estate attorneys know how to and are legally authorized to prepare and review documents and contracts related to the sale and purchase of a home. They are responsible for conducting the attorney review . In a home purchase transaction, both the buyer and seller can hire an attorney to represent their interests during the process. Or, in the case where an attorney is overseeing a closing where the home is being purchased with a mortgage loan, the attorney may actually represent the mortgage lender. Contractual issues with the purchase: If your home purchase involves any out-of-the-ordinary elements that could complicate your purchase contract, a good real estate attorney can make sure that all your contracts take into account the complexity of your situation as well as help you out if contractual issues arise during the process. Peace of mind: If you just have a feeling that something could go wrong or you want to be sure all your bases are covered, having a lawyer on your side can help give you the confidence that even if the transaction does go awry, you have a legal professional who is looking out for your best interests and can help you work through a tricky situation. How much does a real estate attorney cost? How much you’ll spend paying your real estate attorney (or attorneys) will depend on what services they’ve provided for you and who is responsible for that particular closing cost. If your mortgage lender requires an attorney to be present at closing, whether the buyer or seller covers the cost of the closing attorney will depend on how your contract was negotiated. How and how much a real estate attorney charges will vary, but here are some basic ranges to give you an idea of what you’ll spend: Fixed hourly rate: A real estate attorney who charges an hourly rate may charge $150 – $350 per hour, but this can vary a lot depending on how experienced the attorney is and what area you’re in. Fixed rates for specific services: They may also charge a flat fee for the particular services they provide. For example, a real estate attorney might charge $500 – $1,500 to conduct a home closing. Their fees may also depend on the sale price of the property in question. How can I find a real estate attorney near me? Here are some places to start looking for a reputable real estate attorney: Ask for a recommendation from your Realtor, Friends or Family. Utilize your state’s Bar association directory: Your state Bar association’s website can help you locate lawyers in your area who practice real estate law. Use the American Bar Association’s directory to help you find your state’s website. Use an online legal review site: There are many online review websites that will give you information on attorneys in your area, including their specialties, fee structures and any reviews left by former clients. If you are a transacting in Illinois, these are some real estate attorneys to consider: Gary Mages Need 2 more
- Calculating Your Proceeds | PadScouts
Calculate Your Proceeds When an offer comes in, a seller can accept it exactly as it stands, refuse it (seldom a useful response), or make a counteroffer with the changes they want. In evaluating a purchase offer, sellers estimate the amount of cash they'll walk away with when the transaction is complete. For example, when they're presented with two offers at once, they may discover they are better off accepting the one with the lower sale price if the other asks them to pay points to the buyer's lending institution. Once a seller has a specific proposal, calculating net proceeds becomes simple. From the proposed purchase price, they subtract the following: Payoff amount on present mortgage Any other liens (equity loan, judgments) Broker's commission Legal costs of selling (attorney, escrow agent) Transfer taxes Unpaid property taxes and water bills If required by the contract: cost of survey, termite inspection, buyer's closing costs, repairs, etc. The seller's mortgage lender may maintain an escrow account into which they deposit money to pay property tax bills and homeowner's insurance premiums. In that case, remember sellers will receive a refund of money left in that account, which will add to their proceeds.
- Home Inspector | PadScouts
Home Inspector Home inspectors are certified and licensed by each State to provide home inspections for real estate transactions. Home inspectors have a lot of ground to cover. Every reasonable, visible inch of a home is evaluated from top to bottom, and the inspector records the findings in a report for the Buyer, a real estate agent, or another client.
- Contingencies | PadScouts
Contingency of Sale If your proposal says, "This offer is contingent upon (or subject to) a certain event", you're saying you will go through with the purchase only if that event occurs. The following are two common contingencies contained in a purchase offer: Financing. You, the buyer, must be able to get specific financing from a lending institution . If you can't secure the loan, you will not be bound by the contract. Home inspection . The property must get a satisfactory report by a home inspector "within 10 days after acceptance of the offer" (for example). The seller must wait 10 days to see if the inspector submits a report that satisfies you. If not, the contract would become void. Again, make sure all inspection conditions are detailed in the written contract. The above two examples are contingencies that are common for residential real estate home purchases. However, contingencies can be more specific to your situation. And, technically, you can write in any contingency you would like in an offer or what the Seller would like to add in the counter offer . However, contingencies are only valid for a contract if both the buyer and the seller agree and accept the offer.
- Selling | PadScouts
Home Selling Understand the Home Sale Process Selling your property is an important transaction. A home sale includes multiple third party involvement, even if you don't use an agent. Understanding all of their roles is important to ensure a smooth transaction. Home Selling Steps Step 1: Find A Listing Agent Professional Involved: Realtor The 1st Step to the home selling process is to find a listing agent that will serve your best interest. A good listing agent will be prepared to present a Competitive Market Analysis, and a provide marketing strategy. If you choose to work with the Realtor, you will sign a Listing Agreement . Step 2: Pick A List Price Professional Involved: Realtor The 2nd step occurs after you sign a listing agreement where you to select a listing price. Your Realtor can help you decide the right pricing strategy and to calculate your proceeds for different prices. But, at the end of the day, it is your home and you can select the price. Steps 3: Marketing Plan Professional Involved: Realtor The 3rd step involves you and your Realtor coming up with a plan to market your property. This is where you will decide if you'd like professional photography, videography, 3D tour, and where your listing will be displayed (i.e. Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.) Step 4: Prepare Home Professionals Involved: Realtor The 4th Step is your responsibility. Your Realtor can provide you with guidelines and details to help your property achieve a sellable look. Preparations include cleaning the exterior/interior, touch-up paint, removing personal decorations, eliminating pet odors, etc. Step 5: Show Your Home Professionals Involved: Realtor The 5th Step is where buyers will come and see your home. Most showings are conducted by your Realtor or the buyer's Realtor. Your Realtor will likely use a lockbox to allow the Buyer's Realtors access. You are in control of the scheduling. Step 6: Negotiate Final Price Professionals Involved: Your Realtor Buyer's Realtor The 6th Step occurs when a Buyer submits an Offer . Your Realtor will help guide you on how to negotiate the price. They will be the liaison to negotiate on your behalf. In this step, you will also negotiate the contingencies for the contract. Step 7: Escrow & Title Report Professionals Involved: Realtor Mortgage Professional Real Estate Attorney Title Company The 7th Step occurs after the offer is accepted. The buyer's earnest money will be placed into an escrow account and your realtor will order a title search . Step 8: Schedule Appraiser Professionals Involved: Realtor Mortgage Professional Appraiser The 8th Step is when the mortgage appraiser schedules an appointment with you to appraise the value of the property. The buyer is entitled to back out if appraisal results are negative. Step 9: Home Inspection Professionals Involved: Realtor Home Inspector Real Estate Attorney The 9th Step is where the home inspector conducts a home inspection . You may need be prepared to negotiate with the buyer if there are issues that need to be addressed because of the contingencies in the contract . Step 10: Closing Professionals Involved: Realtor Real Estate Attorney Mortgage Professional Title Company The 10th step is the closing. Your agent will walk you through the documentation. The title company will transfer the property deed and finalize the documents and cut the checks to the respective parties.
- Pricing Strategy | PadScouts
Pricing Strategy Being able to sell your home quickly is a matter of competitive pricing. There is a fine line between pricing low enough to sell, versus pricing just above market value. Your Realtor is responsible for conducting a market analysis in order to recommend the best possible listing price to help your property sell within a reasonable amount of time. Although the Realtor may recommend a price, the Seller is ultimately the person who will make the final decision. Each Seller’s situation is different and you’re allowed to sell your property for lower or higher than your Realtor’s recommendation. But, speak with your Realtor to understand the implications of selling higher or lower than the recommended list price.
- Copy of Buyer's Agent | PadScouts
REALTOR (R) Buyer's Agent A REALTOR (R) is real estate professional that is both a licensed real estate agent or broker AND a member of the National Realtor's Association. They are experts in the residential real estate process and help represent Sellers and Buyers during their real estate transaction. On this page, we will discuss the role, duties, and responsibilities of the Buyer's Agent: Role Showings: Buyer's Agents will contact seller properties to schedule time and access for property showings. Negotiations: Buyer's Agents will assist the Buyer in the Offer Negotiation process when a Buyer decides to purchase a property. Management: Buyer's Agents will assist the Buyer in managing the entire buying process by organizing all of the requisite documents and ensuring all parties involved in the transaction are active in ensuring the buying process is being executed. Benefits - You do not need a real estate agent to buy a home; in fact, some home buyers leave the Buyer's Agent out of the equation. However, you might benefit from hiring one. To save time. Agents can often help you find homes in your price range, and they may have access to more properties than what you’ll see online. To get information and help with negotiations. Good agents should have wealth of information to help you make a decision. And, they’ll handle a lot of complex paperwork on your behalf. Offer Contract Contingency Negotiations Home Inspection Reports Appraisal Reports Earnest Money Escrow Extension Requests Another plus is that your agent will handle a ton of paperwork on your behalf. Unless you love filling out forms – and have experience in real estate transactions – this is a chore best left to the professionals, who should ensure that everything is done by the book. You could easily make a mistake with these documents. Mistakes can cause deals to fall apart or (worse) make you liable for an inadvertent breach of contract. (Licensed agent will have errors and omissions insurance to limit this risk.) An experienced agent will make sure that everything that needs to take place — counter-offers, extensions, appraisal, inspection, walk-through, loan approval — happens when it’s supposed to and how it’s supposed to. Market expertise: Conducting a home search by yourself can be a full-time job. Though the Internet makes it easy to find homes in your price range, a good agent usually has access to more properties. That includes For Sale By Owner (FSBO) properties and homes that aren’t yet listed. In addition, some sellers of desirable homes do not wish to “go public.” Only agents (and their colleagues) working with those sellers even know about those so-called “pocket listings.” The exception: There is ONE instance in which you must use an agent to purchase property. That applies if you bid on FHA foreclosure properties. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires all bidders to use licensed agents.
- Types of Mortgage Loans | PadScouts
Types of Mortgages There are four main types of mortgage loans. They are the Conventional Loan , FHA Loan , VA Loan, and the USDA Loan . The one that works best for you will depend on your situation: Conventional Loan - When most people think of a mortgage, they’re thinking of a conventional loan. Conventional loans are the closest you can get to a ‘standard’ mortgage. There are no special eligibility requirements, pretty much all lenders offer them, and you can qualify with just 3% down and a 620 credit score. Conventional loan requirements vary by lender. However, all conventional loans have to meet certain guidelines set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These include a 620 credit score, a debt-to-income ratio lower than 43%, and at least a 3% down payment. The mortgage also has to be within conventional loan limits: up to $510,400 in most areas. If you apply for a conventional loan with better credentials — like a credit score of 740+ and 20% down payment — you’ll get access to lower rates and a lower monthly payment. On the flip side, maybe you’re just on the edge of qualifying for a conventional loan. If you have a credit score right around 620, and higher levels of debt, you’ll want to be extra sure to shop around. Thanks to their wide availability and low rates, conventional loans are the most popular mortgage in the U.S. In fact, almost 3 in 5 buyers use a conventional loan when they buy a house or refinance. Minimum down payment for a conventional loan It’s a common myth that you need a 20 percent down payment for a conventional loan; you can actually get one with as little as 3 percent down. All told, there are six major options for conventional loan down payments, ranging from 3-20 percent. Conventional 97 loan — 3% down Fannie Mae HomeReady loan — 3% down Freddie Mac Home Possible loan — 3% down Conventional loan with PMI — 5% down Piggyback loan (no PMI) — 10% down Conventional loan without PMI — 20% down For more information about HomeReadyTM and Conventional 97, and piggyback loans, contact your mortgage professional. If you’re in Illinois and would like assistance in learning more about mortgages, ask us and we can point you to a few mortgage professional options. FHA - An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA insurance protects mortgage lenders, allowing them to offer loans with below-average interest rates, easier credit requirements, and low down payments (starting at just 3.5%). FHA loans are especially popular with first time, lower-income, and/or lower-credit home buyers, thanks to their flexibility and low rates. But FHA financing isn’t limited to a certain type of buyer — anyone can apply. To qualify for an FHA home loan, you’ll need to meet these requirements: A 3.5 percent down payment if your credit score is 580 or higher A 10 percent down payment if your credit score is 500-579 A debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less Documented, steady employment and income You’ll live in the home as your primary residence You have not had a foreclosure in the last three years FHA loans usually have below-market interest rates. That means they’re lower, on average, than comparable conventional loans. Note, the APR on an FHA loan is often higher than the APR on a conventional loan. That’s because FHA rate estimates include mortgage insurance, while conventional rate estimates assume 20% down and no mortgage insurance. USDA Loans - USDA loans are mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of its USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan program. USDA loans are available to home buyers with low-to-average income for their area, offer 100% financing with reduced mortgage insurance premiums, and feature below-market mortgage rates. USDA home loans are putting people in homes who never thought they could do anything but rent. USDA loans are special mortgages meant for low- to moderate-income home buyers. These loans are guaranteed by the US Department of Agriculture. That guarantee acts as a form of insurance protecting USDA mortgage lenders, so they’re able to offer below-market interest rates and zero-down home loans. USDA runs this program to encourage homeownership and economic development in rural areas. Insurance - USDA “guarantees” its loan program — meaning it offers protection to mortgage lenders in case USDA borrowers default. But the program is partially self-funded. So, to keep it running, the USDA uses homeowner-paid mortgage insurance premiums. As of 2016, this is the current mortgage insurance rates For purchases, 1.00% upfront fee paid at closing, based on the loan size As a real-life example: A homebuyer with a $100,000 loan size in Blacksburg, Virginia, would be required to make a $1,000 upfront mortgage insurance premium payment at closing, plus a monthly $29.17 payment for mortgage insurance. USDA upfront mortgage insurance is not paid as cash. It’s added to your loan balance for you. Eligibility - USDA eligibility is based on the buyer and the property. First, the home must be in a qualified “rural” area, which USDA typically defines as a population of less than 20,000. Second, the buyer must meet USDA income caps. To be eligible, you can’t make more than 15% above the local median salary. You also have to use the home as your primary residence (no vacation homes or investment properties allowed). Borrowers also have to meet USDA's "ability to repay" standards including: Steady job and income, proven by tax returns FICO credit score of at least 640 (though this can vary by lender) Debt-to-income ratio of 41% or less in most cases See if a property is eligible for the USDA Loans: https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=mfhc VA Loan - VA loans are mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs for veterans who have served in the United States armed forces. VA Loan Eligibility for Veterans Most veterans must complete a minimum term of qualifying active-duty service to be eligible for a VA loan, though this requirement does have a few exceptions. The minimum term of service varies depending on the dates of that service. Veterans serving from August 2, 1990 through The Present Day Veterans who served from August 2, 1990 through the present day must have completed 24 months of continuous service or a full period of at least 90 days during which they were called or ordered to active duty. Veterans serving from September 8, 1980 through August 1, 1990 Veterans who served from September 8, 1980, through August 1, 1990, must have completed 24 months of continuous service or a full period of at least 181 days of active duty. The beginning date that applies to officers for this requirement is October 17, 1981. Veterans serving from May 8, 1975 through September 7, 1980 Veterans who served from May 8, 1975, through September 7, 1980, must have completed 181 continuous days of active duty. The ending date that applies to officers for this requirement is October 16, 1981. Veterans serving from August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975 Veterans who served from August 5, 1964, through May 7, 1975, must have completed 90 days of active duty. The beginning date that applies to veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam for this requirement is February 28, 1961. Veterans serving from February 1, 1955 through August 4, 1964 Veterans who served from February 1, 1955 through August 4, 1964 must have completed 181 continuous days of active duty. Veterans serving from June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955 Veterans who served from June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955 must have completed 90 days of active duty. Veterans serving from July 26, 1947 through June 26, 1950 Veterans who served from July 26, 1947 through June 26, 1950 must have completed 181 continuous days of active duty. Veterans serving from September 16, 1940 through July 25, 1947 Veterans who served from September 16, 1940 through July 25, 1947 must have completed 90 days of active duty. Additional eligibility requirements for veterans Veterans who were discharged due to hardship, government convenience, reduction-in-force, certain medical conditions or a disability connected to military service can be eligible for a VA loan even if they don’t meet the minimum term of service requirement. Veterans who were dishonorably discharged are not eligible for the VA home loan program. VA Loan Eligibility for Non-Veterans - The VA home loan program is available to non-veterans, too. This eligibility class includes certain active military borrowers, their families, and others. Service members on active duty Active-duty service members can be eligible for a VA loan after they have served 90 days of continuous active duty. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are eligible. Military spouses Some military spouses can be eligible for a VA loan, too. If the service member to whom the spouse is married is alive, the spouse can be eligible if the service member has been officially declared missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW) for at least 90 days. This eligibility is limited to one-time use. If the service member to whom the spouse was married has died, the surviving spouse can be eligible if he or she hasn’t remarried and the service member died on active duty, was a totally disabled veteran or was a veteran who died as a result of a service-connected disability. Spouses who have remarried may be subject to more complicated rules. A consultation with a VA-approved lender may be required. A spouse who obtained a VA home loan with an active-duty service member or veteran who subsequently died can be eligible to refinance that VA loan with a new VA loan at a lower interest rate through the VA streamlined refinance program. The service member's or veteran’s death need not be related to his or her service in this case. Children of active-duty service members or veterans, whether alive or deceased, aren’t eligible for VA loans as a benefit of the parent’s service. Reservists and National Guard members Members of the National Guard and Reserves can be eligible for VA loans if they have completed six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard and they continue to serve in the Selected Reserve or were honorably discharged, placed on the retired list or transferred after honorable service to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve. Other people eligible for VA loans Individuals who have completed service with certain federal government organizations also can be eligible for VA loans. Examples include cadets at the U.S. Military, Air Force or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, World War II merchant seamen, U.S. Public Health Service officers and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officers.