We wanted to post this update about how our experience posted here: https://communities.usaa.com/t5/Buying-a-Home/battered-veteran/m-p/78963#M1802 turned out.
We are very happy to say we got really good news on 11/20 about getting cleared for closing - finally, and actually closed the following week before Thanksgiving. We feel very blessed and wanted to say that USAA did come through for us after all. Thank you USAA!
Still, we were on edge until closing, and don't think this should be the experience for anyone who has been qualified repeatedly and maintains the same 'buyer profile'.
Also, one surprise we still had in store was regarding that VA funding fee -- we offered over and above asking price so the Seller could cover this fee (or so we thought) but later learned we left about 9k on the table that is now part of our loan but couldn't be used towards that VA funding fee. USAA did allow us the option to redisclose the loan but it would have meant extending our closing another week. It would have saved us 50 bucks a month to do this but by that time we were out of time and didn't have the luxury of another week.
We don't want that to happen to anyone else. Make sure you ask questions over and over again to your processor and your realtor so you are completely clear on what you can and cannot do in terms of seller covered costs and how things need to be worded. I say this but we were always exhaustive with questions and this still happened to us. I think in our case if we listed a % instead of a dollar amount (for seller covered costs in the agreement) maybe we wouldn't have left anything on the table.
I'm sure USAA is constantly trying to improve their processes and provide appropriate training to all employees but sometimes the simplist things work best, i.e. in the case of working with and qualifying homebuyers, why not have a simple online buyer profile form that is maintained separately but associated with the loan process as it moves along? K-I-S-S - Keep It Simple Stupid, and have abbreviated checklists and quick reference points related to the process as it moves along.
We know you have a workflow chart and lists but in our case we were never able to continue using it to upload information -- and we are suggesting something as a preface to the deeper profile information.
We are convinced in our case it would have meant an earlier closing, leaving no money on the table (why would anyone want to borrow more than they need to? We certainly didn't want to!) which would have meant 50 bucks less a month in payment, and overall a less stressful experience and process for both us and the USAA employees who were trying to help us through the process.
We hope this information helps someone even if the current process remains.
Best wishes to all who are in the process now, hang in there, your new home will be worth it!