You don’t buy a home every day. For that, count yourself lucky.

But because you don’t, it’s easy to miss a couple of questions when you are “interviewing” your prospective loan officer.

Remember, this is going to be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. Getting it right can be easy if you know the right questions to ask. Here are seven, with some guidance on what the answers should be:

1. How many VA home loans do you, personally, close each month?

In my experience, a good loan officer will close at least five VA purchase loans every month. This number could fluctuate a bit by region — areas with very few veterans may offer limited opportunities for VA loans — but experience closing these loans is critical.

2. What is the average time it takes to close on a home, from contract to closing date, with your company?

In competitive markets, the average time is 30 days or less.

3. What do you charge for the VA origination fee?

The maximum charge is 1 percent, but some lenders may charge less.

4. Do you charge “discount points”?

These points are basically fees that lower your interest rate. In many cases, especially if you are planning to move or refinance, it doesn’t make sense to pay them.

5. How does your team communicate during the home-buying process?

Be sure your lender will keep you updated. If they don’t have a plan in place to do so, find somebody else.

6. Do you have a secure way to send and receive sensitive information?

Many of the forms you’ll fill out will require strong security measures. You don’t want your Social Security number roaming the internet.

7. What additional costs are associated with the loan?

Remember, just because you’re not putting any money down doesn’t mean the loan won’t cost you anything at signing: You still have to pay for closing costs, although they can be covered by the seller or with a lender credit.

Getting clarity on these small items can help turn an average home-buying experience into a great one.

David Piatek is in the Illinois National Guard and has over 12 years of experience specializing in VA home loans. Find him via email at

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