A Home Relocated: Navigating VA Loans and Military Assistance

July 1, 2021
father and mother with three children on the beach

We feel honored to work with all of our clients, but some cases truly change us for the better. Helping a family find their very own space to call home is one of the most rewarding feelings for an agent, and it’s even more rewarding when that family happens to include one of our country’s Military service members. 

Bringing a family together in a home where everyone is happy, including the dog, is why we do what we do. This was the case with the Kortabani family who officially moved into their new home in March 2021, with the help of our owner John Barkett, who acted as the buyer’s agent. 

The Buyers

Major Elias Kortabani and his family of five were on the search for a new place to call home in Florida. While the family was stationed in Honolulu, a member of Major Kortabani’s immediate family became ill. The nearest military base where he could continue his duties while regularly visiting his family member is MacDill Air Force Base. Once the transfer request was approved, the hunt for a home began.

“Elias, a Cyber Security Chief at 516th Signal Brigade in the United States Army, has served three combat tours in Iraq and one combat tour in Afghanistan, allowing him to earn the rank of Major after many years of service,” said John Barkett, "It was important for him to be able to continue his duties both for the Army and for his family, and to make the transition as seamless as possible."

Although the relocation occurred rather quickly, the Kortabani family had complete trust that John would be able to find them a home they could settle into.  

The Challenge

While living in Hawaii, the Kortabani family basically had just a few days to find a home during a visit to Tampa Bay ahead of their permanent move. John drove them all over until they found a beautiful newer home in Riverview at an amazing price. John also wrote a detailed personal letter to the seller of each home the Kortabanis were interested in, helping tell their story and work toward a favorable price. 

When it comes to home financing, you need an agent who can help you through the process and ensure you’re shopping within your means. Having an agent who is willing to go the extra mile to negotiate a deal that works in your favor, handle all the paperwork remotely, and do whatever it takes to help you get your dream home is the ideal situation. 

In addition to the short window of time for shopping, the Kortabani family financed their home with a VA loan. These mortgages, offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, allow service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses a “home loan guarantee benefit and other housing-related programs to help them buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for their own personal occupancy.” A service member's length of service, duty status, and character of service can determine whether or not they are eligible. In the case of  individuals on active duty, they must serve 90 continuous days in order to qualify. 

There are a number of misconceptions about VA loans that might deter an uninformed seller or seller’s agent. Many people believe VA loans take forever to close, partly because of their federal origins. In truth, a VA loan has a comparable approval timeline to any standard mortgage. Many sellers also believe they are required to cover a VA buyer's closing costs. Although the VA limits the amount of closing costs the buyer can pay, it is determined by a negotiation rather than an outright requirement. 

A good real estate agent will work with both parties to ensure there is a monetary agreement that benefits both parties, ensuring the closing runs as smoothly as possible. 

The Property

Once the family was preapproved for their VA loan and they toured a number of homes during their short visit, they finally found the perfect space to call their own. 

The property featured everything this family needed—an open concept, spacious bedrooms, natural lighting, and the opportunity for a fun “kids corner.” 

Located in Riverview, Florida the home is centrally situated for the family’s needs: Major Kortabani can easily commute to MacDill, they have easy access to the interstate for visits to the east coast to visit their family, and they have the option to venture to the beach or local amusement park in less than an hour.

Key Takeaway

Working with a trusted real estate agent who understands the unique needs of your family is the first step in buying a home. A trusted partner, like Barkett Realty, will work with you to make the entire process enjoyable and seamless. In the case of the Kortabani family, they were able to find their perfect match both in their home and in their agent. 

If you’re looking to buy a home in Tampa Bay, the Barkett team is here to help. Get in touch with us to learn more about your local home buying possibilities.

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