6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Home with VA Loans

Buying a property with a VA loan is one of the smartest decisions qualified veterans can make. While the process works fairly similar to conventional mortgages, there are a few things that make using VA loans slightly different.

The Department of Veteran Affairs backs VA loans, which allow veterans to not pay a deposit on a property. This can be an excellent way into the property market but there are still ways it can go wrong.

To ensure you’re approaching the situation the relevant caution, here are 6 mistakes to avoid when buying a home using VA loans.

1. Not using a knowledgeable real estate agent

VA loans have numerous property restrictions that provide the Department of Veteran Affairs with confidence in the sale. It would be wrong to expect you to know these by heart, so rely on your real estate agent instead.

They should know the process intimately and should only show you properties that fit the criteria.

2. Buying above your means

Not needing to put down a deposit is great, right? Surely it means you have more money to spend on the property? Not necessarily. You’ll still need to make monthly payments to your lender on time regardless of your current financial situation.

Therefore, you should keep your budget well within your financial means and not overspend.

3. Don’t forget property is an investment

Just because you have access to a very competitive mortgage scheme doesn’t mean your property shouldn’t be a good one. Property is one of the most secure forms of financial investment and you should still shop around for an attractive home in a good area.

This way, when it comes time to sell you’ll get a much greater return on your investment.

4. Still monitor your credit score

Your credit score matters less for VA loans but it does still matter. While you’ll likely still qualify for a mortgage even if your score is bad, your interest rates will be higher.

If you’re not in a rush, consider working on your credit score before investigating your options.

5. Don’t forget to shop around

VA loans are a competitive market, just like standard home loans. You’ll find varying interest rates, some of which are more attractive than others. It pays to shop around to try and minimize your monthly repayments and interest rates.

You can find an evaluation of 9 of the top VA loan lenders here.

6. Don’t forget about the extra fees

Buying a home comes with lots of extra fees that aren’t included in the asking price. Regardless of the type of loan you take out, these often catch people out when it comes time to close.

Things like an inspection and appraisal cost, as do real estate fees. You should set aside as much as 10% of what the deposit would have been if using a standard loan provider.

7. Don’t overlook an inspection

Inspections aren’t required but they’re very useful. Learning about possible repairs before closing can help to adjust the price. Alternatively, you can get the seller to make the repairs before they leave. Either way, it’s useful to know about these issues before you move in.

If you get made aware of any repairs, ensure it’s written into the contract that they’ll either be sorted before you close or that the seller will reduce the asking price accordingly.


Using VA loans to buy a home can be an easier way into the property market for veterans. Even so, it’s worth treating the process as if your money was on the line because this will make you more cautious.

The most important advice is to find a real estate agent and a lender that works with your interests, as this will make the purchase much smoother.

Contact Florida’s Choice Realty

It is understandable to have additional questions and need further guidance. If so, give Florida’s Choice Realty a call. We can help you find the condo, townhouse or single-family dwelling of your dreams.

Begin your search for real estate in Jacksonville by working with a trusted Realtor from Florida’s Choice Realty. We’ll make your dream of home ownership a reality.

6 Best Neighborhoods in Jacksonville

Jacksonville encompasses a huge swath of land in northern Florida. Located on the Atlantic Ocean and with the St. Johns River running through it, Jacksonville is the perfect place to live for people who love to play on, in or next to the water.

Visitors come here to tour the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, the Museum of Contemporary Art and MOSH. Residents visit these attractions too, but they have discovered that Jacksonville is much more than a nice place to visit.

In fact, it’s an incredible place to live. Industry abounds here, and with excellent schools, large parks and beaches everywhere, this is a wonderful place to raise a family.

Jacksonville is huge, which makes it critical for people considering a move to rely on an experienced local Realtor. Let’s take a look at some of Jacksonville’s best neighborhoods.

Downtown Jax

If you want to live in the center of the action, then you’ve got to take a look at Downtown. Of course, this serves as the city’s central business district, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t spectacular real estate options.

Downtown actually is a peaceful area on the St. Johns River. Delectable dining options abound here, mainly focusing on fresh seafood, and there are a number of upscale pubs with river views.

Most of the real estate in Downtown consists of condominiums and townhouses. Despite being centrally located and perhaps boasting views of the river, many of the options here are surprisingly affordable. If you’re interested in living in a neighborhood with a great nightlife scene and plenty of shopping and dining, then Downtown is perfect.


Named for the Mandarin orange, this neighborhood is characterized by massive oak trees that drip with Spanish moss. That’s appropriate, because this is one area where history and nature live side by side. Nonetheless, this is a residential area with a few points of interest thrown in for good measure.

Mandarin is found to the south of San Marco on the St. Johns River. Residents will want to spend some time at the Mandarin Museum and Walter Jones Historical Park. It’s located right on the river and is probably the best way to get a taste of old Florida.

Opportunities to own single-family dwellings abound in this quiet neighborhood. You’ll find plenty of shopping and services along with churches and parks. Access to the St. Johns River is convenient, and many of the homes here offer spectacular riverfront views.


Widely considered to be one of the best neighborhoods in Jacksonville, Baymeadows is a great place for young professionals and their families. While most people rent here, there are single-family homes for sale in this safe and quiet neighborhood.

This is a really walkable neighborhood that boasts plenty of restaurants and grocery stores. Sidewalks are everywhere, and so are dogs. This is considered to be one of Jacksonville’s most dog-friendly neighborhoods.

Orange Park

In this heavily residential neighborhood, which is a suburb of Jacksonville, most families own their homes. Retirees and young professionals live in Orange Park, and the public schools are outstanding.

With many shops and family-owned businesses, this is a great place to live. Everything from grocery stores to doctor’s offices are nearby. Many parks are found here, including a skateboard park.

Families who are seeking a home on a quiet street may find just what they are looking for here. The neighborhood features a good mix of older and new construction homes, and the price range is wide, so this is a suitable area for almost any budget.

The Beaches

Who doesn’t dream of living right on the beach? It’s why many people move to Jacksonville. The most desirable neighborhoods are called Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach.

In The Beaches, First Street is the primary thoroughfare. It runs through all three neighborhoods, connecting them and making it easy to access businesses and services in each. Jacksonville Beach is the furthest to the south, with Neptune Beach immediately to its north and Atlantic Beach north of that.

In Jacksonville Beach, you’ll find the Beaches Museum, a popular wedding venue that also displays exhibits highlighting the region’s past. Cradle Creek Preserve and the Jacksonville Beach Golf Club also are located here.

Neptune Beach may be small, but it nonetheless boasts lovely Jarboe Park and numerous grocery stores, restaurants and excellent public schools. Atlantic Beach is slightly larger. With many parks, a country club and dozens of unique shops, this is a fun place to call home.

In general, The Beaches is an upscale area where people may pay a premium for having an ocean view. While most of the real estate here consists of single-family dwellings, condominiums and townhomes also are available. Expect to find a good mix of older homes as well as new construction. If you’re looking for a large lot with plenty of greenery and a large house with a wealth of square footage, this is where you’re likely to find it.

San Marco

With a hip, bohemian vibe, San Marco appeals to people who appreciate a laid-back and eclectic lifestyle. If you live here, you’ll have many opportunities to shop at fashionable clothing boutiques and browse the offerings at art galleries. The dining here is not to be missed, and Theatre Jacksonville, which is the country’s oldest community theater, is found here. Plus, there’s the San Marco Theatre to admire for its art deco façade. This theater shows a mix of new releases and art-house films.

Graceful mansions dot the riverfront in San Marco, and you’ll find plenty of quiet and quaint streets to explore. Accordingly, you’ll discover a fascinating mix of properties. Explore a 1928 gem of a bungalow on one street and a practically new Italianate mansion on the next. San Marco’s real estate prices tend toward the high side, but residents in general feel that the coveted lifestyle makes the prices worthwhile.

Contact Florida’s Choice Realty

If you are interested in these or other great neighborhoods in Jacksonville, then give Florida’s Choice Realty a call. We can help you find the condo, townhouse or single-family dwelling of your dreams.

Begin your search for real estate in Jacksonville by working with a trusted Realtor from Florida’s Choice Realty. We’ll make your dream of home ownership a reality.