It’s Getting Easier to get a VA Loan offer accepted in Orange County, CA

It's getting easier to get a VA Loan offer accepted in Orange County, CA. The last few years have been tough for home buyers using VA financing. Even though VA is a very easy loan to close, at least for lender who specialize in VA financing, sellers have always shied away from VA buyers. The reason vary and are mostly due to misinformation, old information, and "myths" about the VA loan program. But what made it even harder for VA buyers since the beginning of COVID was the extreme shortage of homes for sale.

Inventory levels have increased, but still have a ways to go.

Supply Shortage = Extreme Sellers Market

When COVID started in early 2020 the real estate market had slowed down. Home buyers and sellers put their plans on hold. Sellers didn't want people walking through their home and buyers were facing their own disruptions. Within months things changed. Employers allowed their employees to work from anywhere. Demand from homebuyers increased quickly, but with very little supply on the market home prices began to rise quickly. To complicate things even more, mortgage rates dropped to record levels, making home financing cheap. This just added more buyers to compete for a limited supply of home. I've heard the real estate market during this period called an Extreme Sellers Market and a Insane Sellers Market. In Orange County and the rest of southern California (and the whole US) there were anywhere from 20 to 40 or more offers on every home. It didn't matter if the home needed work or was in a poor location. Everything sold quickly and for more than the listed price. 

In a normal balanced market the listing price is what the seller is hoping to get for tor the sale of their home. They may get a few offers under or above the listing price and after some negotiations they may even help pay some of the buyers closing costs. But during the Extreme Seller Market of 2020 and 2021 the list price was more of a starting point. A floor price. Bidding wars ensued. The buyers that had the best shot at winning a bidding war were those with a big down payment or even just straight cash buyers. These buyers could waive the appraisal, paying above the appraised value. Plus they could waive the inspections, which is crazy but is what it took in some situations.

And this is why VA buyers had a very difficult time getting an offer accepted. A VA buyer planning to take advantage of 100% financing was usually not in a position to pay more that the home would appraise. If there were 20, 30, or 40 offers, the listing agent needed to quickly eliminate the weakest offers. A 100% financing offer was considered a weak offer in this scenario. Even Veterans who had a fully underwritten PreApproval and were willing to waive the loan contingency faced the challenge of competing against offers from other buyers bidding above what the property would appraise for. 

OC Inventory levels are rising but still have ways to go.

Why is it Now Easier for VA Buyers in 2022

2022 has gotten off to an interesting start. Mortgage rates began rising immediately after the New Year. My May mortgage rates are more than 2% higher than they were in 2021. This has helped to put a damper on demand (the numbers of buyers actively looking to buy a home). Sellers are more willing to consider offers from buyers with low down payments, including VA buyers with $0 down payment. Homes are sitting on the market longer, resulting in increased inventory. There are now fewer offers to compete with. It is still a sellers market in Orange County and southern California, but it's not as bad as it was a few months ago. 

What a VA Buyer should do to be as competitive as possible

There are things that any buyer should do before they begin their home search. And especially before they make an offer. It's even more important for VA buyers to get "all of their ducks in a row". 

  1. Get a Fully Underwritten PreApproval. Each lender seems to have their own definition of what a "fully underwritten PreApproval" is. Most lenders will just have a loan officer do a quick review and run the loan through Desktop Underwriter, which is Fannie Mae's automated underwriting engine. The problem with this is if the loan officer calculates income differently from what a VA underwriter calculates, then the loan could be declined in the middle of escrow. Some lenders, like Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, will do a full processing of the loan. Loan Disclosures are sent out as if the VA buyer already has an accepted offer. Income and assets are documented and VERIFIED using Verification of Assets and Verification's of Income. Then the loan is submitted to an underwriter for a full review and approval. Typically a Conditional VA Loan Approval is then issued. The non-property related conditions are then cleared. This is known as the Fairway Advantage Approval Program. The Fairway Advantage take the stress out of the homebuying process.
  2. Cash Guarantee. Fairway Independent Mortgage includes a Cash Guarantee to the seller when the buyer has gone through the Fairway Advantage program. Fairway guarantees the loan will close, and on time, or Fairway will either buy the property to close the transaction or will issue the seller a $10,000 check if the seller wants to keep the property and try to sell again. The guarantee is triggered if financing falls apart due to a financing reason. For example, if the buyers loses their job in the middle of escrow and is no longer qualified to buy the home, Fairway will buy the home. If the buyer purchases a car and takes on a big payment and no longer qualifies (this would not be smart on the buyers part, but you never know) Fairway will buy the property. If the appraisal comes in low then Fairway will either buy the property for the lower of the appraised value of the purchase price. If the seller wants to put the home back on the market, Fairway will give the seller $10,000. This is Fairway Mortgage's way of getting the point across that it stands behind it's Fairway Advantage home buyers.
  3. Get a VA Purchase Analysis before making an offer. It is important to know the numbers before making an offer. The VA lender should be able to present the numbers in a clear and concise manner so that the buyer has a very accurate idea of what the full payment will be including taxes, insurance, and HOA dues. And the VA Purchase Analysis should also have a fairly accurate estimate of how much money will be needed to close escrow. Even though VA does not require a down payment, there are still closing costs and Prepaid expenses that need to be covered. Knowing how much will be needed will eliminate surprises at the closing table.

Request your FREE VA Purchase Analysis

The first step in the home purchase process is to request a Purchase Analysis. In this case, a VA Purchase Analysis. The VA Purchase Analysis will give you a clear and concise breakdown of the numbers you need to know, side by side. 

FREE VA Loan Purchase Analysis

Authored by Tim Storm, a California Mortgage Loan Officer MLO 223456 – Please contact my office at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Direct line is 949-829-1846Authored by Tim Storm, a California Mortgage Loan Officer MLO 223456 – Please contact my office at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Direct line is 949-829-1846.

Orange County VA Mortgage Loans

In Orange County, CA a VA (Veterans Administration) guaranteed home loan is the preferred loan program for active, non-active, Reserve, National Guard, and retired military of the armed forces. There are several reasons, including the fact that no down payment is required up to a $700,000 purchase price,  and no private monthly mortgage insurance required.

Veterans and active duty military in Orange County are able to use a VA mortgage loan for purchasing a home, building a home, or refinancing an existing mortgage. And the existing mortgage does not need to be a VA loan. Many current Orange County homeowners are finding that being able to refinance out of a Conventional loan and into a VA loan at 100% loan to value is a great thing. And remember, no mortgage insurance, which FHA and Conventional loans will have.

We will discuss what role the VA plays in a VA guaranteed mortgage, the benefits of a VA home loan for Orange County Veterans and Active Duty personnel, who is eligible for a VA loan, and the documentation you will need to present to your Orange County VA direct lender in order to apply.

Did you know that more than 27 million veterans and service personnel are eligible for VA financing, yet many in Orange County aren’t aware it may be possible for them to buy homes again with VA financing using remaining or restored loan entitlement? The lack of realizing the benefits of a VA loan seems especially true for current homeowners who do not realize how high the Orange County VA loan limits currently are in 2011.

VA Does Not Offer Loans Directly to Orange County Veterans and Does Not Guaranty You Will Qualify

The VA does not actually lend the money to you directly. They offer a guaranty to a lender, in this case a local Orange County direct VA lender,  that if you should default on the loan, they will pay the Orange County VA lender a percentage of the loan balance.

*The word GUARANTY does not actually guarantee the Orange County veteran will qualify for a VA home loan.

Primary Benefits of a VA Mortgage for Orange County Veterans:

  • 100% financing, up to a $700,000 purchase price in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
  • No monthly private mortgage insurance is required. (Conventional financing requires this at over 80% loan to value. FHA requires this on all loans.)
  • There is a limitation on Orange County home buyers’ closing costs – costs are regulated by VA. Some costs cannot be paid by the Veteran.
  • The loan is assumable, subject to VA approval of the assumer’s credit. This is an awesome feature.
  • 30 year fixed loan. VA also offers a great 5 year program, but with interest rates so low its hard not to take advantage of a 30 year fixed.
  • Seller can pay up to 4% of the Orange County veterans closing costs and even pay down they buyer’s debt to help lower their debt-to-income ratio.
  • Interest rates are similar to FHA interest rates.
  • You don’t need perfect credit. Typically, most Orange County VA lenders wants a minimum middle FICO score of at least 620. You can buy a home only two years after a foreclosure.

Frequently Asked Questions from Orange County Veterans about VA loans:

Q: My parent is a veteran. Can I obtain a VA loan if I have not served in the military myself?

No, the VA loan benefit does not extend to a veteran’s children.

Q: What is required to prove I served in the military?

You should have your DD214. Your lender will need this, along with a completed Request for Certificate of Eligibility. Your Orange County VA lender can help.

Q: My spouse who has passed away was an eligible veteran. Am I eligible for the home loan benefit myself?

A surviving spouse is eligible if they have not remarried, and the eligible veteran died during active duty service or as a result of a service-related disability.

Q: Is a VA loan better than a Conventional mortgage for Orange County homeowners and buyers?

In many cases, yes. VA guaranteed loans often offer a lower interest rate than conventional mortgages, especially for higher balance mortgages between $417,000 and $700,000, the Orange County 100% financing limit. Also, they do not require monthly private mortgage insurance when borrowing more than 80% of a home’s value, and they can be easier to get approved for because of the flexibility with credit and the allowance for higher debt to income ratios.

Q: How long does it take to get approved for a VA loan in Orange County?

It varies depending on the current workload of your lender, but it is typically the same as for Conventional and FHA mortgages – 3 weeks to 45 days. Much depends on your ability to quickly deliver the items required for loan processing. But if you’ve already been PreApproved by a local Orange County Direct VA lender, then closing in 3 weeks is a possibility.

Of course the first step is always to talk with a Orange County VA loan expert who can provide customized loan scenarios based on your qualifications and goals.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA FHA and VA Loan Officer – Please contact my office at Home Point Financial for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan. 949-640-3102.

Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family. Ask for your Free First Time Home Buyer Report.

tstorm (at)

Orange County VA Loans | Seller Concessions vs Closing Cost Credit

Orange County VA loan borrowers need to understand the difference between Seller Concessions and a Seller Credit for Closing Costs. Most loan programs will allow for the seller to pay some or of buyers closing costs, but VA goes a step further. VA allows for Seller Concessions.

What is a Seller Concession?

According to the VA, a Seller Concession is anything of value added to a transaction by the seller or builder for which the buyer pays nothing additional and which the seller is not customarily expected or required to pay or provide.  Below are several examples of Seller Concessions.

  • Payment of the buyer’s VA Funding Fee – this can be large for Orange County VA home buyers
  • Prepayment of the buyer’s property taxes and insurance. These are items included in “prepaid” expenses.
  • Gifts such as a television set or microwave.
  • Payment of extra points to provide permanent buydown of the interest rate. For example, if it is customary to pay 1 Origination and 1 Discount for a 5% rate, but the seller pay 2 additional Discount points to buy the rate down to 4.5%, that would be a Seller Concession.
  • Provision of escrowed funds to provide temporary interest rate buydowns – like a 2-1 Buydown program.
  • Payoff of credit balances or judgements on behalf of the buyer.

Seller concessions do not include:

  • Payment of the buyer’s non-recurring closing costs
  • Payment of points which are typical for the market

Imagine that. If an Orange County Veteran wants to purchase a home but first needs to pay off credit card debt, he or she could negotiate to have the seller pay off the debt as part of the purchase.

There cannot be more than 4% in Seller Concessions. But remember, you will not need to include normal discount points or buyer’s closing costs as part of the 4% limit.

Talking With an Orange County VA Loan Expert is the First Step

The first step is always to talk with a local Orange County VA loan officer. Your VA loan officer should be able to answer most questions, prepare detailed loan scenarios, and walk you through the VA loan PreApproval process.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA  VA Loan Officer MLO 223456– Please contact my office at Emery Financial Group for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan.  877-786-4243 x 7.

Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family. Ask for your Free First Time Home Buyer Report.

877.786.4243 x 7 | tstorm (at)


VA Home Loans Remain Unchanged for Orange County Borrowers

While other loan programs continue to go though multiple guideline changes, the VA loan program has been mostly unchanged for Orange County VA home loan borrowers. FHA and Fannie Mae have recently tightened their guidelines. VA has not.

FHA and Fannie Mae Tighten Condo Financing Guidelines

FHA and Fannie Mae recently tightened their guidelines for financing on condominiums. FHA, which has an extensive approved condo list in Orange County, recently started requiring that projects on the list be “recertified”, a costly and time consuming process. Also, projects that were not previously on the list will need to go through a full review and approval process, which will take even more time and more cost. Plus, there is no guaranty that a project will be financeable. Even Fannie Mae is requiring a much more thorough look at condo projects. Each lender has their own approved condo list for Conventional loans, making lending on condo’s very tricky. VA is the only program that continues to have a valid project approval list. This is a big advantage for Orange County VA home home buyers interested in a condo. If they specifically look at VA approved condo projects, they will have an advantage over FHA and Fannie Mae home buyers. The key is to know how to find Orange County condo projects on the VA approved list.

Fannie Mae Lowers the Debt to Income Ratios

In December 2009 Fannie Mae decreased the debt to income ratios used to qualify borrowers. Although the “guideline” ratios rae still 28/36, it was possible to get a home buyer approved with a debt ratio of 60% in some cases. Now, Fannie Mae will not allow ratios over 45%, unless there are strong compensating factors. In ases with strong compensating factors, they will allow a ratio of 50%. This dramatically effected the amount borrowers can qualify for. VA guidelines remain unchanged, with some borrowers getting approval with debt ratios as high as 60%.

FHA Increases the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium

FHA increased the Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium to 2.25%. The UFMIP is similar to the VA Funding Fee, which on a typical transaction is 2.15%. The great thing about VA loans is there is no a Monthly Mortgage Insurance, which FHA has. Fannie Mae also requires Mortggae Insurance if the down payment is less than 20% of the property value. There is talk that FHA may increase the Monthly Mortgage Insurance beyond the current .55%. (versus VA, which is 0%).

So while all of these changes have taken place, the VA loan program has held steady. Orange County mortgage rates on VA loans are also very low, as are interest rates for most programs. Compared to Fannie Mae, VA is actually very competitive. Fannie Mae has “pricing hits” that begin when the loan to value is over 60% and when the FICO is less than 740. The pricing hits can really add up if the FICO score drops under 660, or if the property is a condo over 75% loan to value. If the loan is a cash out refinance, be prepared to pay extra for a high rate. VA does not have pricing hits and will even allow a VA cash out refinance to 90% of the properties value. Imagine the following scenario: cash out to refinance on a condo for a borrower with a 660 FICO score at 80% loan to value. (Fannie Mae won’t even go over 80% on a cash out refi, and FHA won’t allow over 85%.)

The first step an Orange County VA eligible home buyer needs to take is to talk to an Orange County VA lender who can answer questions and prequalify you for a loan before you begin looking at homes.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA Loan Officer MLO 223456– Please contact my office at Emery Financial Group for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan.  877-786-4243 x 7.

Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family. Ask for your Free First Time Home Buyer Report.

877.786.4243 x 7 | tstorm (at)


How to Buy a Home in Orange County with $0 Out Pocket with a VA Loan

It is possible to purchase a property in Orange County with no money out of pocket if your eligible for a VA loan. Commonly referred to as a VA NO NO, with a little negotiating, it can be done.

What is a VA NO NO?

VA refers to the Veterans Administration, which offers 100% financing for eligible veterans and active duty military personnel.  The first “NO” refers to the fact that no down payment is required on a VA loan up to the loan limits for each region. In Orange County, the VA loan Limit for 100% financing is $593,750.  The second “NO” refers to negotiating to have the seller pay all the Veterans closing costs. Closing costs, depending on the purchase price, can easily be between 2% and 3% of the purchase price.  During the offer/counteroffer stage of a transaction, the buyer needs to negotiate to have the seller pay the estimated amount needed to close and the Veteran can end up purchasing a home with no money out of pocket.

$8,000 First Time Buyer Tax Credit

If an Orange County VA eligible First Time Home Buyer plays their cards right, they can purchase a home with no out of pocket funds and the government will pay you $8,000 to do it. To qualify for the Tax Credit, a property must be in contract by April 30, 2010, and then escrow closed by June 30, 2010. The tax credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price, or $8,000, which ever is less. In Orange County, home buyers would be hard pressed to find a property for less than $80,000, so 99% of Orange County First Time Home Buyers should get the full amount.

The first thing to do is check with an Orange County VA Expert Loan Officer who can put together multiple loan scenarios based on your goals and qualifications. Orange County VA loan PreApproval is very important, especially prior to making an offer.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA Loan Officer MLO 223456– Please contact my office at Emery Financial Group for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan.  877-786-4243 x 7.

Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family. Ask for your Free First Time Home Buyer Report.

877.786.4243 x 7 | tstorm (at)