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VA home loan activity in Western New York is the busiest it has been in four years.

More and more veterans and their families, who are shopping for a house, are recognizing just how valuable the loan guaranty benefit is.

VA loans offer the following important advantages over most conventional loans:

No downpayment.

An interest rate usually lower than conventional mortgage interest rates.

The buyer is informed of the estimated reasonable value of the property.

Limitations on closing costs.

An assumable mortgage (for loans closed on or after March 1, 1988), the assumption must be approved in advance by the lender or VA.

Right to prepay without penalty.

Forbearance (leniency) extended to worthy VA homeowners experiencing temporary financial difficulty.

Today qualified veterans with full eligibility can obtain a home loan for as much as $184,000 with no money down. Our current interest rate is 9 1/2 percent.

In these times of tighter mortgage underwriting standards, it is reassuring to know that the tried-and-tested VA home financing program is still available. Our mission, which is to deliver home loan benefits for veterans, is being achieved today with as much enthusiasm as it was when the first GI loan was guaranteed in 1944.

Over the past 46 years, the VA home loan program has guaranteed $345 billion worth of home loans and given 13 million veterans, including 172,000 in Western New York, the opportunity to become homeowners. Imagine the increased market that has been created from VA loans and the amount of commissions earned as a result.

Over the past two years we have streamlined loan underwriting to the extent that VA home loans are now being processed faster and easier than ever before. We are observing that most mortgage lenders are closing VA home loans within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of application.

If any independent sales broker, real estate franchise, board of realtors, builders association or veterans organization would like us to conduct a training session for members/staff, please contact Christina Shaffer or myself at 71 6/8 46-5293 to arrange an appointment. It is preferred that groups of at least 40 people attend such presentations.

Keith C. Boerner is loan guaranty officer for the VA regional office in Buffalo and is responsible for the delivery of VA home loan benefits and services in Western New York.

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