Key point.  Don't use USAA for your mortgage needs if you are in a seller's market, or any market.


I just signed my closing documents on a home in San Diego, CA.  In the particular neighborhood we purchased in, it is very much a seller's market.  Homes are listed and accept offers within 24 hours at or above asking price.


I was pre-approved by USAA for up to a $500k mortgage with $100k down.  When dealing with USAA in the nearby financial center, the associate was not knowledgable about all of my questions (particularly on whether I should use my VA at all).  Being a first-time homebuyer, I figured, hey, USAA has been okay for my banking, investments, and insurance, I may as well trust them with my mortgage.


Boy, was I wrong.


In our competitive market, I was getting offers flat out refused because my lender was to be USAA.


Example: List price 475k to 490k.  Offered $490k, 20% down, and $20k in earnest money.  What did the listing agent tell my agent?  No, we are not willing to work with USAA due to their reputation of being slow, and delaying the closing date as a result.


I shopped around for a well-recommended mortgage broker.  Our very next offer on a different, but better home: Asking price, 20% down, $20k earnest money, guaranteed contingency removal in 17 days, guaranteed closing in 30 days, VA appraisal ordered within 24 hours of offer acceptance.  The guaranteed dates could only be secured by a private lender, and USAA would never even entertain that.  This offer was accepted, and our mortgage broker was able to follow through on all of his promises.  We will close in 29 days, and I feel extremely fortunate that we decided NOT to go with USAA as our lender.


The communication between our agent, the listing agent, and our broker made the entire homebuying process completely headache and worry free.  Having a direct line to my broker who lived in our time zone, I could meet in person, and would answer his phone any time of the day (not just Central Time nonsense) was key to the whole process.


On to the banking... USAA has this absurd policy at the financial centers here in San Diego, to not issue cashier's checks, but only certified Teller Checks.  The teller claimed, "Teller checks work exactly the same way as cashier checks, and are just as good."  This is flat-out untrue.  Teller checks still require a hold, like any other check, whereas a cashier's check might as well be cash.  Fortunately, when I told her it was for $98,000, she realized it must've been to go to an escrow service.  Thankfully, she had the cognizance to inform me that many escrow services DO NOT accept certified checks.  I called the escrow company who confirmed that for VA and FHA purchases, escrow services will not take "certified checks," as they need to have the ability to deposit the checks into escrow immediately.


[sarcasm] Thankfully, USAA's inability to provide the necessary service means I get to pay a wiring fee to complete my home purchase! YAY! [/sarcasm]


To make matters even worse, since we're out on the west coast, wiring funds cannot be conducted during all of the financial center hours, since all of those transactions must be ran in conjunction with the time in San Antonio, TX.  So I get to call USAA at 6:30am tomorrow, to pay for an unnecessary transaction, since USAA should be offering cashier's checks in the first place!


So here's my advice.


-Use a mortgage broker or a private lender.  The -slight- bump (USAA's rep claimed these lenders would cost four times more to use, WRONG)  in origination fees are well worth the improved buying experience.


-Use MoversAdvantage ONLY to get a real estate agent.  Our agent was amazing.  These are not USAA agents, but agents local to your area who have no affiliation to USAA.  You apparently get a commision refund, similar to RedFin.  If you have issues with your agent, they can apparently be changed by your MoversAdvantage coordinator.


-That being said, don't put too much faith in MoversAdvantage.  I never spoke to my MoversAdvantage coordinator once.  Not a single time.  She was completely and utterly useless to me.  I hope there is some way to ensure she gets no commission in my home purchase.


I hope just one person sees this and learns from my -almost- mistake.





Dear Member,


I empathize with your frustration, and thank you for taking the time to explain what issues you have been having. I have escalated this over to someone in our mortgage department, someone will be able to review your account and see what we can do to help. You should be hearing back soon. Thank you for posting here in the Community!