I had read the reviews for USAA's home buying experience and it was a little daunting to say the least. But I think that more often than not those with terrible experiences are more prone to share those, than those who have good experiences...and rightly so, because, especially within this military community, I think that we want to look out for each other even more so. With that said, I will share my experience.
Getting preapproved was too easy, took less than a day to get that done. I thought the preapproval letter on their web site was really convenient. Using a VA home loan, not everyone was jumping at the opportunity to accept my bid, so I had to print out a few different preapproval letters and the feature was just really useful.
I should also add that I used the Movers Advantage program and I got an AMAZING relator who was on top of everything. She has been really wonderful. She is knowledgeable of the VA home loans, she explained every step of the home buying process and she really just knew her stuff, I think above everything the reason that this has been such a successful experience is because she was an experienced and very knowledgeable relator.
So after we signed the contract I went to USAAs site and was able to do everything online. Once you go back to their website you basically initiate the process, let them know you have a signed contract, enter all the pertinent information, review all the information you entered for the preapproval and submit it. Then the roadmap and the task list are created. USAA has a task list that is automatically generated once you have entered a signed contract. This task list allows you to upload all the documents you need. You can even get a jump on this before they send out the loan application and the roadmap. I did this all in one day of signing my contract.
The next day I was then contacted by my loan originator with USAA, her name was Dana, she was very nice. We scheduled for a phone call appointment the next day. During the call she explained the process and let me know what letters would be needed. She basically provided a wealth of knowledge that was a bit overwhelming and provided any answers to any questions I had. She let me know that she would contact me if there was anything she needed from me. I told her that I preferred to be contacted by e-mail and she obliged to contact me that way. She was always responsive, I got questions answered within 24 hours, it was fine and done by my preference.
The loan application was sent over night after I initiated the loan application. I was able to review all the documents, sign them, scan them and get them uploaded on the same day I spoke with Dana. As a precaution I saved each signed loan document in a file in case they requested it again, just as a precaution, but if you upload the docs into the task list it is also save there too. Oh, btw, sign all the forms. The only form I didn't return signed was the request for COE because I provided the COE, but they still needed it so I just went ahead and submitted it. Working in an administrative field, I get it.
Since I am a first time homebuyer I was extremely anxious about every step of this process, so the time that went by while USAA was reviewing my documents felt excruciating slow. I signed the contract March 8th, my loan package was sent out Mar 9th, she called me the 10th, I e-mailed her my signed documents that night. During this time I got my inspection done for the home and an appraiser was ordered on March 10th. That had been the only snafu in this process. Someone dropped the ball on the appraiser. When there was no contact from the appraiser during the time she had given me, I e-mailed her to let her know that he never got a hold of anyone. She apologized and reordered an appraisal and he came out the following week.
At this point, Dana went on vacation and I was helped by two other mortgage processors, Mr. Stevens and Mr. Rodriguez. Mr. Stevens gave me an update on the process, let me know that he was submitting everything to the underwriter, and let me know what else they needed. He was great, was able to retrieve my homeowner’s insurance (which was through USAA) from their other department, and answered my questions. Then I was contacted by Mr. Rodriguez who was just as amazing, just really very very helpful.
The appraiser came to the property Mar 25th. We got the final approved appraisal today actually 4/3/15. And we are set to close 4/14.
It’s hard being a first time home buyer and not really understanding what all the waiting is about, but even here as I tell you the timeline, it’s really not that long, I was just very anxious and nervous and excited. The times in between are typically them reviewing your paperwork and all you can do is be extremely diligent to get everything they need in a reasonable amount of time. I was very responsive to their requests, it never took me more than a day to find what they needed and submit it. I think it was perhaps helpful that I also do all my banking through them.
So my hope is that you too will have a good experience with USAA’s home mortgages. I absolutely believe that people have had bad experiences with them, so hopefully it is all your bad experiences that has helped to make them better. I am very thankful to each member of USAA that has been there to answer my questions and process my loan, it was a very good experience. As we approach our closing date, I will be sure to update this in case there are any mishaps, but in the present moment USAA has provided me great customer service and support during this process.
I had a really similar problem with verification of employment. It went on for like three weeks, sort of just lingering on. I just ignored it knowing that if there was something they needed from a previous employer I could get it. It was perhaps naive of me to not focus on that part so much, I just went along and turned everything else in and waited. But it did take some time and at one point I even asked if there was something I could do to move the process along, which they told me there was nothing I could do.
I personally like not speaking to the people on the phone, I just didn't really have the time to do it and I like maintaining e-mail copies of our conversations so I have something to refer back to...that actually saved my closing date.
I hope that things start to get better for your whole process. This was my first time buying a home so I didn't know the speed by which things should get done, as you are more familiar I could see how delays would get frustrating. Wishing you the best.
Just a quick update, signed the papers today, close tomorrow. I have to say that USAA has been great, although there was another little hiccup over the closing date. My contract stated the 14th, but USAA's system wouldn't not let me put that date in so I had to go out three days. It was explained to me that that was so that there was time to do the appraisal. Whatever the case maybe, we almost didn't close on our closing date because USAA would not change the closing date in the system, but my amazing relator who had an e-mail from a USAA rep which stated they would close on that date basically had to show them that they did say they would do that.
I think that USAA has been great, but I must credit my relator to being an agressive superstar. She really worked very closely with USAA to make sure that we were all on the same timeline. So if you ever want to buy a home in the Portland Metro area in Oregon, I know a woman who will get the job done.