Veterans who had a VA loan before may still have "remaining entitlement" to use for another VA loan. The current amount of entitlement available to each eligible veteran is $36,000. This was much lower in years past and has been increased over time by changes in the law. For example, a veteran who obtained a $25,000 loan in 1974 would have used $12,500 guaranty entitlement, the maximum then available. Even if that loan is not paid off, the veteran could use the $23,500 difference between the $12,500 entitlement originally used and the current maximum of $36,000 to buy another home with VA financing. An additional $14,750, up to a maximum entitlement of $50,750 is available for loans above $144,000 to purchase or construct a home.
Most lenders require that a combination of the guaranty entitlement and any cash down payment must equal at least 25 percent of the reasonable value or sales price of the property, whichever is less. Thus, in the example, the veteran's $23,500 remaining entitlement would probably meet a lender's minimum guaranty requirement for a no down payment loan to buy a property valued at and selling for $94,000. The veteran could also combine a down payment with the remaining entitlement for a larger loan amount.
Restoration of Entitlement
Veterans can have previously-used entitlement "restored" to purchase another home with a VA loan if:
• The property purchased with the prior VA loan has been sold and the loan paid in full, or
• A qualified veteran-transferee (buyer) agrees to assume the VA loan and substitute his or her entitlement for the same amount of entitlement originally used by the veteran seller. Remaining entitlement and restoration of entitlement can be requested through the nearest VA office by completing VA Form 26-1880.
• The entitlement may also be restored one time only if the veteran has repaid the prior VA loan in full but has not disposed of the property purchased with the prior VA loan.
Showing Your Home
A potential buyer's first impression of your home will be the condition of its exterior. If prospective buyers don’t like what they see from the outside, they won’t want to see the inside. Appearances do matter, so make sure the potential buyer sees your home’s potential from the beginning instead of convincing them how it could look.
Consider the Following:
• Pruning your shrubs and trees and trimming the lawn
• Add potted flowers or beds of pretty seasonal flowers, especially concentrating on the front entryway
• Paint any areas that show signs of wear: the mailbox, the front door, window ledges, shutters, etc.
• Remove unsightly rubbish, put away gardening equipment and coil up hoses
• Clear all walkways of snow, ice, dirt and leaves
• Check the outside features such as faucets, latches and garage doors to make sure they are in working order
• Be sure that your house number is visible from the street
The inside of your home is equally important. You want it to shout “WELCOME” when the potential buyer enters your home for the first time.
You May Want to:
• Keep decorations minimal and neutral so that buyers can envision their furnishings matching the décor
• Arrange the furniture so that each room has a spacious appearance
• Create a fresh clean smell (no tobacco or pet odors)
• Remove unnecessary items from the basement, attic and closets
• Consider changing any light fixtures that may be harsh or unappealing
• Be sure that everything that stays with the home is in good working order: door hinges, door knobs, faucets, appliances, heating system, fans, etc.
When Showing Your Home:
• Try not to be present during a showing to grant the prospective buyers privacy
• Make sure that during the day all the blinds and curtains are open and at night all the lights are on
• Keep pets, litter boxes and feeding bowls out of sight
• Entice prospects with pleasant smells, which can be a strong yet subtle influence. You may want to simmer potpourri, especially cinnamon or spiced apple scents. You also could have fresh baked goods that provide a homey atmosphere.
• Outline all of the costs to maintain your home. Have copies of all utility bills for the past 12 months. Include gas, electricity, heat and water bills.
Remember: the average homebuyer spends approximately 20 to 30 minutes viewing a home before seriously considering purchasing it. Take extra steps to make sure every home showing counts.
Use this handy list to plan your move and make sure nothing is forgotten.
When you get your orders, Get Organized!
-Start a file for all moving-related receipts, contracts, etc. This will come in handy for filing travel vouchers, tax returns, claims, and the like.
• Insurance policies (or list of companies, policy numbers, type of insurance, address, phone number).
• Last leave & earnings statement (LES)
• Power of Attorney (check expiration date)
• Original will
• Bank books
• State and federal tax records
• Car registration and title
• Deeds and mortgages
• Professional licenses
• Divorce papers
• Spouse resume and last pay statement
• List of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments
-Get approval for concurrent travel (overseas only)
-Check into additional retainability or service commitment.
-Visit your transportation office to start the household goods moving process. Be sure to discuss:
• Dependent travel overseas
• Shipment and storage of household goods
• Unaccompanied baggage.
• Privately owned vehicles (POVs)
• Pet shipment
• Movement of mobile home (if applicable)
• Do It Yourself Move (DITY) NOTE: DITY move reimbursements are considered taxable income
-Get approval for dependents medical and educational clearance.
-Request a sponsor at your next installation
-Check with veterinary services about requirements for moving pets
-Check DEERS enrollment.
-If a dependent has special medical / educational needs, they must be enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).
-Check immunizations for each family member.
-Prepare house for selling or renting (if applicable)
-If you are selling your home, shop for a realty company that meets your needs. Contact the Housing office to list your house for rent and obtain more information.
-Include children in all family plans. Listen to their concerns and tell them honestly as much as you can about the move. Reassure them that things will work out well for all family members in the new location.
-Start planning to ship auto, household goods, etc. to be available when you arrive.
-Order a current credit report. Check it for incorrect or outdated items. You may need a clean credit report to get a rental or buy a home in the new location.
-Check out your new installation on the SITES system.
-Make billeting/temporary lodging arrangements. Call the guest house for reservations. Call Finance for details on temporary lodging expense entitlements.
-Call the housing office to give notice of intent to terminate military family housing. Make arrangements for re-inspection and final inspection of quarters. BAH will not start until final termination of quarters.
-If you are planning to live on post at your new installation, check with your housing office for an advance application if your new installation will accept it. Your application date will be the first day prior to the month you will be arriving at your new base.
-If the sponsor is going on a remote tour, you need to decide where the family will reside until the sponsor returns.
-If you are residing off post, give notice to the landlord. Usually, 30 days written notice is required for return of your security deposit.
-Schedule house-hunting trips. Permissive TDY may be granted for up to 10 days. Be sure to request your TDY prior to leaving your losing installation. Remember it must be signed by 05 or above.
-Start cleaning out junk drawers and closets. Plan a garage sale. Check with swap and assist programs and thrift shops. Good used furniture, appliances and clothing can be donated to community Goodwill shops.
-If you go house hunting without the family, take lots of pictures, and pick up maps, brochures, and flyers to share with the children. This gives them the chance to visualize the new home more realistically with fewer childhood fantasies and misconceptions. Older children will be interested in the styles of clothes the kids wear, number of kids in the neighborhood, their ages, information on the school they will be attending, popular activities nearby, etc.
50 Days to PCS
-Complete dental work and exams
-Complete eye care and exams
-Contact legal office to obtain Power of Attorney (POA), if necessary. You may need POA to:
• Buy/sell a house
• Ship household goods
• Ship/register a vehicle
• Provide for child care
• Provide medical care
• Arrange for termination of quarters
-Check your homeowners insurance to determine scope of transit coverage. Some policies will only cover at one specified location. In some policies 100% coverage expires after 30 days. Some policies only cover major perils and not "rough handling, mysterious disappearance, etc."
-Prepare a general inventory by room, closet, attic, garage, etc. of all household and personal possessions for your own use and so that you will be able to make an accurate estimate of their value for insurance purposes. Remember to include books, pictures, silver, china, glassware, linens, clothing, tools, sports and hobby equipment, musical instruments, and cameras as well as furniture, lamps, rugs, curtains, etc. You may wish to do a room by room videotape, and include a voice description of the most valuable items as well as serial numbers, etc.
-Assist the children with inventory of their rooms and take pictures of possessions to take with them. Talk about the small toy/game to take in their suitcase and help them decide which one pack.
-Survey your possessions so that you can have items repaired and cleaned that you plan to put into storage or ship to your overseas location.
-Obtain a written appraisal for valuable items such as antiques, jewelry, furs, and paintings. To obtain appraisals, check with a professional who deals in the kind of valuables, (i.e. antiques, check with an antique dealer).
40 Days to PCS
-Keep cleaning and sorting. Remember charitable organizations such as swap and assist programs. Keep receipts for tax time.
-Use up things you can’t move, such as food, cleaning supplies, and flammables.
-Update driver's licenses.
-Update ID cards.
-Arrange for absentee voting ballots or obtain address where you can write for ballots.
-Keep talking about the move with the family. Honesty is essential. Children, as well as adults, need time to deal with feelings of loss and separation.
-Make a list of everyone who needs to know your new address:
• Auto insurance company
• Friends and family
• Creditors, including credit cards, mortgage company, auto loans, etc.
-Obtain a change of address kit from post office and fill out cards. You may need to do this twice if using temporary quarters at next base. Contact the new base for a temporary mailing address.
-Establish bank account at new installation. You may be able do this by mail or by phone.
30 Days to PCS
-Plan for plants. Plants don’t travel well and are not allowed overseas. Sell at garage sale. Use as "thank you" to friends.
-Review finances. Advance pay may be authorized. Check with finance concerning details and other benefits for which you may be entitled. Be sure of your mode of travel (car, plane) when discussing travel advances to avoid over/under payment.
-Have a going away party for the children, another for yourself and friends. Help children assemble a list of addresses and phone numbers of their friends so they may keep in touch.
-Plan vacation time or do some sightseeing to make the move more exciting.
-Visit your child’s school. Notify school of your child’s last day and request they have records ready. Discuss educational concerns. If you cannot get the records, get the addresses of the schools so the new school can write for them.
-Pick up medical records from local (off base) physicians.
-Make sure that you have school records for special needs children:
• Academic Achievement Records (tests, report cards, transcripts)
• Psychological Evaluations
• Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, language evaluations
• Current and past individualized educational plans (IEP)
-Cancel or transfer memberships such as health clubs, civic organizations, and volunteer programs
-Research new dance or music teachers at the new location
21 Days to PCS
-Notify utilities and home services of disconnect dates. Don’t forget garbage pickup services, cell phones, and internet providers. Leave essential utilities on until the day after you leave.
-Arrange for closing or transfer of charge accounts.
-Check bank procedures for transferring funds or closing accounts. Get a letter of credit or have enough cash available for the new location in case a deposit is required for utilities.
-Obtain a map. Discuss where you are going, when, how long, and where to stop on the way.
14 Days to PCS
-Verify schedules and services with Transportation.
-Pick up items from the cleaners.
-Return borrowed items. Collect things you have loaned.
-Prepare to get the house cleaned for inspection.
-Take pets to vet for required vaccinations and certificates. Get copies of medical records. Obtain a list of hotels/motels that allow pets or kennels for housing your pet.
-Check luggage and make necessary repairs. Check the locks and make sure you have more than one key for each piece.
-Purchase new luggage as needed. Buy lightweight, but durable pieces.
REMEMBER: They are probably going half way around the world and in most cases must make a return trip home.
-Have car serviced/tuned-up for trip. Check oil, water, battery, belts, hoses, brake and transmission fluids and tires.
-Make travel arrangements.
-Empty safe deposit box.
-If renting your home to someone else during your reassignment, make sure homeowner’s insurance is adequate.
7 Days to PCS
-Settle outstanding bills.
-Drain oil and gas from lawn mower and other power equipment. DISPOSE of all flammables.
-Obtain travelers checks for trip expenses.
-Keep listening carefully to children’s questions. Give frequent reassurance. Children need the security you provide when the security of a home is diminishing.
-Pick up medical and dental records. Unless you have a power of attorney, the sponsor cannot pick up the medical or dental records of the spouse.
• Active duty -- take one copy of your orders to medical records. The records will be given to you to hand-carry to your next base.
• Spouse and/or dependents 18 years or older -- go to outpatient records and dental clinic to pick up the records.
• Either parent may pick up the records of children under age 18.
-Double check your family record file and place in briefcase suitable for hand carrying.
• Copies of orders
• Phone numbers of family and friends
• Duplicates of luggage/car/other important keys
• Home inventory of household goods plus pictures, receipts, and videotapes.
• Medical and dental records
-Take down curtains, rods, shelves, TV antenna, etc. Remove items from attics, crawl space, or similar storage areas. It is your responsibility to make these items accessible to movers.
-Arrange child care for packing and moving day.
-Defrost and clean refrigerator and freezer
-Make sure all library books, rented videos, etc. are returned
-Back up computer files. Pack with the items that you will carry yourself.
3 Days to PCS
-Before movers arrive to pack your possessions for shipment and/or storage, disconnect all major appliances (stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, etc.) if living off-post. Empty the refrigerator so it can dry at least 24 hours before the movers arrive.
-Dismantle stereo sets, outdoor play equipment, etc.
• Audio and video equipment and personal computers require special attention. Always consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions.
• Use tape to code wiring for easier reinstallation
• If you still own a turntable, fasten down the tone arm. Tighten turntable screws and secure the dust cover.
• Clean VCR heads before use in your new home
-Owner-packed cartons - leave open so carriers can view contents and take responsibility for cartons.
-Place valuables, cash or jewelry, purses, and family records file in a safe place (inaccessible to movers) such as locked in the trunk of your car. Include everything that you don’t want packed, such as passports, tickets, etc.
-Separate items to "hand carry and luggage," "unaccompanied baggage," "storage," "ship," and "professional".
-For overseas moves, ship by "unaccompanied baggage" items that will enable you to set up light housekeeping at once at your new station since it might be 1-4 months before your surface shipment arrives. Suggested items include: iron, dishes, silverware, linens, bedding materials, clothing appropriate for climate, a few of the kids favorite toys, etc.
-Give copy of travel plans, with date, route, and phone number to supervisor, orderly room, sponsor, relatives, etc.
-Allow children to choose one small toy/book for carry on luggage, one for suitcase, and several small pieces for hold-baggage. They may even wish to pack one box of non-breakable items. They may put their name and draw a picture on the side of the box to feel more a part of the move.
-Arrange for child care. Take pets to a friend’s home or kennel them. Otherwise, your cat may wind up in a box.
-Watch the packers very carefully to see that they understand and know exactly which items are to be packed. You can indicate this by putting different colored stickers on each item or separate by rooms.
-You may wish to keep a record of the contents of each carton being packed. This may make it easier to locate specific items upon their arrival at your next installation. If any cartons are missing, it will be possible to determine quickly what is missing. Remember that packers do move fast. You cannot hold up the packers while accomplishing this list.
-Mirrors, paintings, and other items easily damaged or broken should be packed by moving company personnel.
-If lift vans (huge crates of wood or metal used for overseas shipments) are loaded at your doorstep, watch the packing of them. Be sure everything is protected against slippage, concussion or friction. The heaviest items should be at the bottom of the van. Remember that these vans will be hoisted by cranes, loaded on ships, and treated roughly. If not packed correctly, your furniture will be suitable for firewood upon unpacking.
-Pack a "moving day needs" box with cleaning supplies, sponges, paper towels, toilet and facial tissue, bath towels, bath soap, shampoo, can opener, paper plates, napkins, plastic eating utensils, snacks, coffee, tea, soda, light bulbs, scissors, hammer, screwdrivers, tape, markers, and trash bags. Put it in your car or safely away from the packers.
-If you have small children, take some of the child-proofing devices (outlet covers, cabinet locks, etc.) with you to use on the way.
-Don’t pack your phone book. It may be helpful for names or addresses later.
-Put everything you don’t want shipped (purses, wallets, garbage) in a locked, labeled closet to prevent packing.
-Fill a cooler with ice and drinks for the packers and movers. Remember that these people are packing your most prized possessions, so it won’t hurt to be extra nice to them.
-Arrange for child care. Again, pets should be somewhere else.
-Be certain that every container or crated item has the moving company’s inventory tag or tape on it and that each item is listed on the moving company’s inventory.
-Check to see that the condition of your possessions is correctly reflected on that inventory. The exact location of existing scratches and worn or marred spots should be clearly indicated.
-Read all packing documents prior to signing.
-Be sure your copy of the moving company’s inventory is legible. This inventory will not be as detailed as the ones you made earlier.
-Place a copy of the packer’s inventory, stored possessions, and baggage receipts in family records file in hand-carried luggage.
-Have your vacuum ready to clean bed rails, piano backs, and other hard-to-move items. REMINDER: Remove vacuum bag before loading.
-Before leaving the house, check each room and closet make sure windows are down and locked, lights are out, and exterior doors are locked.
During the Move
Keep a log of all moving expenses incurred. This will be helpful at tax time. Keep all receipts. If not needed, discard later. If you and your family are traveling separately, keep two logs. Include these items:
•cost of gasoline
Hints for traveling with kids:
•Children have a natural wariness of the unknown. Including them in the planning can help allay fears.
•Stick to your child’s usual bedtime and mealtimes, and read him his favorite story. Unpack the minute you arrive so everyone feels at home.
•Balance your day, taking plenty of time for a romp in the park and a cool drink after an hour in a museum. Even when having fun, kids have a limited attention span.
•Packing pointers: Take one small bag per person. Let each child take only one special toy. Don’t forget a first-aid kit with disinfectant, band-aids, and so on. Tuck in a nylon folding suitcase--great for lugging home your souvenirs or dirty laundry.
•Call ahead to confirm hotel services for children, such as cribs and cots. Need time alone or with your spouse? Your hotel can probably recommend a reputable baby sitter.
After You Arrive at the New Installation
-Immediately notify the transportation office. They will need to get in touch with you to have your household goods delivered. If they cannot reach you, your shipment will be put into storage and delivery will be delayed.