Reschenthaler, 60+ lawmakers request VA improve homeownership for veterans

To ensure America’s military veterans might effectively compete in the current housing market, U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and a bipartisan contingent of more than 60 lawmakers urged the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve its mortgage loan process.

“Our nation’s proud and deserving veterans are struggling to secure a home in today’s market using their VA mortgage benefits,” Rep. Reschenthaler said. “As a Navy veteran, I believe the VA needs to examine its mortgage loan process and implement reforms necessary to ensure that veterans can compete and purchase a home in today’s highly competitive housing market.”

The congressman echoed that sentiment in a June 1 letter he led with his colleagues sent to VA Secretary Denis McDonough, asking that the department work to make homeownership more attainable for veterans.

“Specifically, we believe the VA should explore how VA mortgage loans can compete in today’s marketplace and ensure veterans have negotiating power throughout the home buying process,” they wrote.

Rep. Reschenthaler and his colleagues pointed out that, historically, VA mortgage loans were appealing and competitive to sellers. However, the current housing market and the rise in cash and conventional loans with waived contingencies can leave veterans unable to compete with other buyers, according to their letter.

“VA borrowers are less successful than borrowers using conventional loan products, with 11 percent of VA borrowers changing loan products during their housing search, compared to only 1 percent of conventional borrowers who change financing methods,” wrote the lawmakers.

To gain a better understanding about the issue, they requested the secretary answer several questions, such as how the VA is working to improve appraisal policy and procedure to improve the ability of veterans to compete, as well as what Congress might do to assist the VA in its efforts to improve the competitiveness of the mortgage loan program, among others.

Among the members who also signed the letter were U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Brian Mast (R-FL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Mike Turner (R-OH), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), David Valadao (R-CA), Sam Graves (R-MO), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA).