One of the benefits we often forget, when describing VA home loans and FHA mortgages, is they are assumable. What this means is that a buyer can "take the payments over" from a seller, if the existing loan is a FHA mortgage or VA home loan.
First, let me tell you why this is exciting:
Today, a VA home loan rate will be around 5%. I believe that inflation will kick in, sometime in the next 6-18 months, causing mortgage rates to skyrocket to 6.5% or higher. Left unchecked, inflation could drive mortgage rates into double digits by 2012. The good news is that home prices will probably jump up, too (if runaway inflation is present).
How hard will it be to sell a house in five years, with mortgage rates at 10% ?
That same veteran looks to sell that home, in 2014, for $400,000 but VA home loan rates are at 10%. The new buyer, looking to finance $408,000 at the market rate of 10%, would have a payment of $3580; that's over twice the original payment.
What would happen if the selling veteran, held a $100,000 second mortgage, for 25 years, at 12%, and allowed the buying veteran to assume his 5% VA home loan?
The payment on the second mortgage would be $1,053. Add the (now) 25-year, original VA home loan, at 5% payment of $1,642 and you have a financing package that is about $900 cheaper than a $408,000 VA home loan.
Now, here comes the bad news:
Unless the original loan is formally assumed, with VA approval, the selling veteran will have his VA home loan eligibility tied up.
Even with a formal assumption, the selling veteran is still responsible for the original loan payments for the first five years. You had better be certain that the buyer is credit-worthy.
The seller is stuck with a note, not cash. That note could be sold on the secondary market but prices are typically about 70 cents on the dollar; that could cost the seller some $30,000 in profit.
The same rules apply for an FHA mortgage, too (except that neither the buyer nor seller needs to be a veteran).
On balance, the assumption of a VA home loan or FHA mortgage could be an excellent selling feature. Low prices and historically-low mortgage rates make these loans a consideration when comparing them to a conventional loan.