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AAFMAA Mortgage Services

First-Time Buyer Purchases Home While Overseas

2021-06-30

My name is Seung “Jeremy” Park and I’m 31 years old. I’m currently stationed in South Korea, along the country’s western coast approximately 40 miles south of Seoul. I’ve separated from the service and will be returning stateside in July. 

I’ve just bought my first house, where I’ll be living with my family and my parents. We’re super excited to be purchasing our first home. 

As a child of an immigrant family, I want to let people know that my homeownership was made possible through my military service and its associated benefits. I’m sharing my story in the hopes that others will be encouraged by my experiences and become homeowners, too.

I was born in South Korea and moved to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. My parents worked hard to provide me with a good education and a happy childhood. My parents had worked hard to pay rent, but they just did not make enough to save up for a down payment to buy a house.

I joined the Army in December 2015. After basic and job training, I was assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, which is home to the Army's most active airfield in the Pacific. I worked in an aviation unit as the technical supply (aircraft parts logistics) technician, but was injured on multiple occasions during training. My injuries gradually worsened over time. I was referred to be Medboarded (a Medical Separation) in 2019. However, because I already had a civilian job lined up, I decided to just separate from the Army. Medical Separation requires servicemembers to be stationed stateside for processing, so I’ll be moving back to the U.S. shortly.

During my military career, I received an Overseas Housing Allowance. Knowing that my income would change after separation, I put some thought into how I wanted to live once I returned and I realized I was ready financially to buy a home. 

Since my parents have provided a lot for me, I believed it was time for me to show them my gratitude by allowing them to live at my new house with my wife and family. For many years, my parents have been renting a home in a good neighborhood convenient to a large grocery store, the YMCA, parks, shopping, and schools. I decided I would buy their home for them, but I needed to secure a VA Loan for the financing. 

The process of buying a house is already complicated enough, but it’s even harder to do so from overseas. The time difference alone makes communication and responding to lenders a lot harder. I did a Google search on VA lenders and read the customer ratings for AAFMAA Mortgage Services LLC (AMS). I reached out to them online, and my inquiry went to Beth Dozier, a Military Mortgage Advisor in AMS’s Virginia Beach, VA office.

Beth reached out to me immediately, and we began going back and forth about the loan. I tried to respond to Beth as soon as possible, 24/7, to keep things moving forward, which often meant getting up during the night to email her with the required paperwork. Because it was a VA Loan, I was able to put zero down. 

I also gave my father a Power of Attorney (POA) so he could coordinate and prepare a significant portion of required documents locally and be present at the signing.

Since my parents are already living in the home, the rest of us just need to move in. We are so happy to have a home and feel like this is a milestone that we’ve worked very hard for.

Looking forward, I hope my brother can also buy his own home. I have already referred his contact information to Beth, who helped me a lot during the process). 

It’s great when a company goes above and beyond to serve members of our military and help them utilize their VA Loan entitlement. 

We’re Here to Help

If you’re not certain about whether or not it’s the right time to purchase a home, or refinance your existing mortgage, please contact AMS online today or give us a call at (877) 387-6856. One of our Military Mortgage Advisors, who are licensed Mortgage Loan Originators, will provide you with an honest and fair comparison of your mortgage options, including a wide range of low-rate and low-cost mortgages designed to meet your needs.

Ensuring existing and prospective AAFMAA Members obtain the best mortgage possible is our mission. Get your free mortgage assessment today!