How to Surprise a Veteran Loan Officer


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Having been involved with mortgages for the better part of 20 years, it’s rare for me to get completely caught off guard by a situation.  And yet, that’s exactly what happened on Monday of this week. 

Sara and I are working with a wonderful family that is buying their first home using the Federal VA program.  VA loans are great – they allow eligible veterans to purchase a home without a down payment and have really great rates and terms.  There is no monthly mortgage insurance so the payments are typically very good for these loans.  What I have found over the years is that the VA administration truly does care about taking good care of veterans, making sure they have access to an affordable loan program for the purchase of a safe and sound home. 

Occasionally I run into a Realtor or seller reluctant to use VA financing because of the stricter standards for the property that are adhered to.  In addition, because VA appraisers are chosen randomly by the VA itself, the process can be a bit unpredictable.  Guidelines may be specific but they are interpreted differently depending on the appraiser picked by the VA.  Nevertheless, my experience over the last ten years has been overwhelmingly positive with VA appraisers.  I have found them to be reasonable and committed to ensuring that veterans are not placed in housing that does meet the standards of the program.

So here I was on Monday, opening an email with another VA appraisal.  At first glance everything appeared to be in order.   But then I turned to page 14 of the report and realized the appraiser was holding up our transaction for minor cosmetic items.  Nothing structural is involved.  Nothing that threatens the safety of our consumer or his family are involved.  We appear to be working with someone with an agenda that I truly don’t understand. 

I have faith that everything will work out.  The Realtor representing the buyer is wonderful and the underwriters I get to work with every day at Pacific Residential Mortgage are the absolute best in the business.  Nevertheless, I find myself scratching my head as to how any of us could have been prepared for what happened a couple of days ago. 

I have no hesitation to continue to recommend the VA program.  It’s a tremendous loan and with all the sacrifices that veterans make it’s the least we can do for them.  I can think of no better way to say “thank you” to service members than to endeavor to make their purchase as stress-free as possible.  It’s our opportunity to thank those that serve by serving them.

Apparently the appraiser didn’t get the memo.

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