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Buying from a Bunker: Service Members Can Secure Home Loans While Abroad

Military members live on the go.

From domestic reshuffling to extended overseas deployments, service members and their families face frequent relocation. Hassles and headaches can easily follow.

All that moving can take a toll on finances and credit health. But serving overseas doesn’t mean military members have to hold off on their pursuit of a home purchase.

Qualified borrowers can secure financing and complete the purchase and financing process from thousands of miles away.

The key: Power of Attorney

Most service members are probably familiar with the phrase. This is basically where you give a spouse, loved one or other trusted person the legal ability to sign contracts and other binding documents in your place.

Those who possess Power of Attorney can fill out loan documents, take care of a Certificate of Eligibility, enter into a purchase agreement and handle the closing. For VA loans, the agency requires the lender to verify the veteran or service person is still living and not missing in action.


It is also required that the veteran’s written consent is procured because it is, after all, the service member paying the mortgage.

From the outset, it’s important to determine with a lender whether a specific or a general Power of Attorney is necessary.

In some cases, a general power of attorney will suffice, so long as the veteran or active duty service member has signed both the sales contract and loan application. But, in other circumstances, a specific POA that identifies the actual property and clearly addresses the borrower’s entitlement is required.

Lenders often require their own specific POA, which is something to keep in mind for borrowers who are shopping among multiple rates and companies.

The process is designed to protect service members and ensure they’re aware of an impending real estate transaction that will result in a mortgage obligation and use of VA home loan entitlement.

There are also hardship exemptions available that can relax requirements for service members.

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About the author: Chris Birk writes about real estate and the mortgage industry for a host of sites and publications, from Lenderama and Bigger Pockets to the Huffington Post and Motley Fool. A former newspaper and magazine writer, he is also content director for a leading VA lender. Follow him on Google+.

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