VA Loan Expert Interview: Bernard Edwards Speaks to Chad Vasquez

Nicole Carlson
Military VA Loan editor

VA loans are a great mortgage option for many military families. We launched the Show with our guest host Bernard Edwards to learn from real estate professionals that serve veterans and their families about what it’s like to use a VA loan when purchasing or refinancing a home.

In this episode, Bernard Edwards speaks with real estate professional Chad Vasquez who shares some of the lesser known details about home buying with a VA loan.

Get started on your home buying goals today.

>>View first episode: Bernard Edwards interviews VA loan consultant William Doom

A VA loan requires no down payment, but you will be charged a VA funding fee.

“With the VA loan, many know one of the benefits is that it requires no money down,” says Vasquez, “but, what surprises them is being charged the VA funding fee.”

A VA funding fee is a one-time, upfront payment required for all VA home loans. This fee helps sustain the program as it is self-funded and doesn’t use taxpayer dollars or other VA program funding. Your funding fee will be determined by the loan amount, your service history, including length and time of service, and the type of loan. Funding fees vary from 0 to 3.3 percent of the loan.

Vasquez also notes: “The good news is that the amount can be added to your loan, so the fee isn’t out of pocket.”

>>Related: 2018 VA Funding Fee Chart

Appraisals may be harder to get for VA loans than conventional loans.

“The VA appraiser is going to make sure that the property is in a certain condition — it can’t have a hole in the roof or extreme peeling paint. This is to protect the veteran and ensure they’re purchasing something of good quality,” says Vasquez.

“The most unique thing I’ve seen required for a VA loan is that the door between the garage and kitchen must be a fire-rated door. This isn’t required for other home loans, but it’s a good safety feature.”

Edwards adds: “For some, it may seem that VA appraisals are a bit harder to pass, but that’s actually great for you as a homeowner. It’s extra assurance of what you’re purchasing that other loan types don’t give.”

Get started on your home buying goals today.

Bernard Edwards - MilitaryVALoan partnerBernard A. Edwards, the host of “The Show” is the founder of Troops To Agents, which empowers veterans and spouses to become successful real estate professionals. He also is launching The Military Transition Camp, dedicated to helping military members design every aspect of their post-uniform life: mindset, health, purpose, career, money, fitness, emotion, relationships, and spiritual growth. Follow him on LinkedIn or Instagram for behind the scenes footage and insights from his interviews and travels. Service history: Technical Sergeant (E-6) Retired; 16 years of service; U.S. Air Force.


Bernard Edwards: Hey everybody. It is the Military VA Loan Show and I’m here with none other than Chad Vasquez. We’re going to talk a little bit about real estate, about VA loans, and on this show, how we always do, about becoming a homeowner with your military VA loan. Chad, you’ve been in real estate working for how many years now?

Chad Vasquez: Coming up on three years in Hawaii, so I’ve got a little bit of knowledge on how things go here on the island.

Bernard: What was the first year, besides when you had your actual license, when you experienced using a VA loan?

Chad: Using VA loans to buy my first home was in Texas. Then, I actually came to Hawaii and started doing real estate. It’s a little different here, but using your VA loan is an incredible opportunity.

Bernard: Nice. When you first used it in Texas, you weren’t working in the business as much at

that time. You knew that you wanted to get into real estate, you wanted to be able to

invest. What was that experience like? What were some of the surprises that you had?

Chad: That’s a great question. With the VA loan everyone knows some of the benefits are that it’s no money down. That’s one of the fantastic things. One of the surprises in the VA loan is there’s actually a VA funding fee. That’s something that everyone pays so that the Veteran’s Affairs can actually insure those no money down home loans. It can be around 1.5% the first time. It actually goes up each time you use the VA loan. The good news is that actual amount gets put into your loan, so it’s also not out of pocket.

Bernard: Nice.

Chad: But that was a surprise.

Bernard: Nice. Yeah, and one thing that Chad just mentioned is that a lot of people get it, they have this idea that the VA is the one that’s actually giving you the loan, but the VA is actually insuring the loan and with that we don’t have to pay private mortgage insurance, which is something that’s common in the civilian sector.

Chad: Correct.

Bernard: And another thing that we’re able to save money each month. You’ve had quite a few clients, tons of clients each year that have that military background. For them, what’s the process been like as far as obtaining their VA loan?

Chad: Really good question. Usually we either talk to them first or a VA qualified lender does, but either way talking to a real estate agent to get some good advice. We’re always going to give you information, the knowledge that we have about the local housing market, so you can make the best choices for you and your family. That’s the most important. Equally to talking to a real estate agent, is talking to a good knowledgeable VA lender — somebody who does a lot of VA loans, somebody who can help you with that process.

Bernard: Yeah, it’s definitely, there’s some unique things to all different types of loans out there, conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, and you do, like Chad’s saying, you do want to have somebody that specializes in that, that’s shown proven success in your particular market because each market could be a little bit different. I mean here on island we have kind of different pockets of the island, and even the way that things might work on one corner of the island versus another may be a little bit different and you do want to work with someone who’s really versed. What are some of the unique things, say, when it comes to home inspections and appraisals that you’ve seen with the VA loan?

Chad: Nice. So here when the VA or Veteran’s Affair appraiser comes out to make sure the value of the home is equal to the size of the loan you’re getting, they’re going to make sure that the property is in a certain condition. That means it can’t have like a hole in the roof, it can’t be having really bad peeling paint, things like that they’re going to hit on the inspection just to make sure the veteran is protected, they’re getting something of a good quality. Some of the unique things we’ve seen is, for example, the door between the garage and the kitchen has to be a fire rated door for the VA. It doesn’t have to be for other home loans, but that’s a good safety feature as well.

Bernard: Great. That’s one thing I’ve noticed is that, yes, for some people they may seem that the VA appraisals and inspections are a little more harder to pass, but that’s great for you as a homeowner ,because that’s extra assurance that you’re getting versus one of these other loans that doesn’t do all that policing for you. You have to go out and find and add these things, whereas the VA loan process they’re really having your back and ensuring that that property that you’re going to get is an investment. There might be some minor things, carpet, cosmetic type things that aren’t able to pass, but really big items that are knocking down the value of your property, those things are not going to pass. That’s the VA having your back.

Chad: Yup.

Bernard: Now, for you, I get to interview real estate professionals from all walks of life, and one of the awesome things about you, you’re a veteran and you’re currently serving in the Guard. Can you tell us a little bit about your military career from active duty to now what you’re doing?

Chad: Absolutely. I was active duty Marine Corps infantry back in 2000 when I joined the first time. After I got out there was a break in service. When we moved back here to the island of Oahu in Hawaii there are all five military branches here, so I actually wanted to go back and do reserve time. So I’m now currently in the United States Air Force Reserve. That helps a lot too because I actually can keep a pulse on things that are changing with the military. There’s things that have changed even in the last 10 years that weren’t the same when I got out.

Bernard: That’s awesome. Well, Chad thank you so much for stopping by.

Chad: My pleasure.

Bernard: Thank you for your service. Check us out on where we’ll be coming at you with more questions and answers.

Chad: Thank you very much. Aloha.

Bernard: Thank you.