Buying my first house

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Get familiar with your area. try zillow.com.  Also, meet with a loan officer and get a preapproval so you know what you can afford.  If you are planning on house hacking go on craigslist and post a request to rent a room in your area and see what gets offered.  It will give you a good idea what you can rent a room for.

Couple things to know about VA loans. There is a service fee. about 3%. If you have a service connected injury that fee is waived. Make sure you don't pay PMI. Some banks will try to sneak it in. Usually with VA loans your property has to be livable. They wont fund you if it needs construction, so a fixer upper will be difficult to get funded.