Author: I Am Benchmark

M. Rivenbark

We were looking to make a new start in Tennessee! When we found Becky Rockwell with Benchmark, we found a treasure in the mortgage world! We decided to use my VA loan on the third and final house! What a great experience! With Becky at helm, Rachel and Christie made the whole experience seamless! The purchase went off smoothly! If we could, we will recommend anyone to use Becky Rockwell for your mortgage needs! Thank you ladies for all the hard work!

Field Report from Sevierville, TN

Field Report: Future Retirement Income as Qualification Factor

Can I use my future retirement income to qualify for a VA loan?

If you are planning to retire from the military, you may be able to use your future retirement income to qualify for your VA home loan. The lender will need to document that your future income will be sufficient to qualify for the loan amount you are seeking.

In order to use your future retirement pay, you must document a specific start date and a specific rate of pay. To do this, the lender will often request a letter on official letter head signed and dated by your commanding officer stating your approved retirement date and your monthly retirement amount.

Check out the ‘Field Report’ below to see how we qualified an Active Duty Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force based on his future retirement income!

The Scenario

Active Duty Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force applied for a purchase VA Loan. He had been turned down by another lender for unstable income because he was less than 12 months away from Expiration of Term of Service (ETS) and not yet receiving retirement income

The Obstacle

The individual could not qualify based on his active duty pay and his planned retirement was not until 4 months later.

How We Overcame

We requested an official letter stating his retirement date and this amount of his monthly retirement, which was signed and dated by his Commander.

The Result

Benchmark was able to close the loan 95 days prior to his retirement income starting!


Ready to use your VA Home Loan benefit? Take the first step and Check you Eligibility with our free COE tool.

A. Hill

Alex Wall has gone above and beyond to help me with my home loan that I purchased few years back. Even though it has been years since I purchased my home he still checks in and sees how the house is going. Benchmark Mortgage is really great company to get a loan through because they will sit and talk to you about any questions you may have. They give you advice on your loans and purchases. As a veteran, they gave me quite the discounts and helped me achieve the monthly premium that I wanting.

You can not go wrong with using Benchmark Mortgage as a lender.

A. Hill

Field Report: Arizona to Nebraska while on Active Duty in Texas

The Scenario

The veteran borrower previously lived in his owner-occupied property in Arizona, technically a departing residence, which he had been renting out for 18 months. He was currently renting while on active duty in Texas, when he received PCS Orders to Nebraska and decided to purchase a home there.

The Obstacle

Rental income was needed in order to offset the mortgage payment (PITI) on the property in Arizona, so we could qualify for a mortgage on the property in Nebraska. He had a lease agreement on the property in Arizona, but we could no longer use it. We could have used that rental income to offset the payment of the PITI, If the borrower had departed the previous residence fewer than 12 months ago. In this scenario, he had been gone for 18 months, which means that a full tax cycle had passed. In order to use any of the rental income, we would need to claim it on the tax return, however, the borrower had not claimed the rental income on his 2017 tax return.

How We Overcame

We decided that the best solution to the problem was to have the borrower “amend” their 2017 tax return to claim the rental income. Remember that perception is reality. Although it may not have been fun to have this conversation with the veteran client, it was necessary to make the deal work. Veterans are resilient! What may have been a huge inconvenience to some, was viewed as his being spared the hardship of not being able to buy a home. Our veteran client was happy to comply, and promptly had his 2017 taxes amended.

The Solution

Due to the borrower amending their 2017 tax returns, it now showed a $400 per month loss to the borrower’s income. Our underwriter had already verified that he would still be qualified for the loan (even with a loss of up to $750), so he was within tolerance. We approved the loan, and the veteran client was able to purchase his home. Finally, we closed on schedule, with all parties coming away happy and satisfied.

Benchmark brings you home.

J. Morris, Benchmark Veteran client

J. Morris

Over the years, my wife and I have used Bret Frerichs as our Mortgage Professional to purchase multiple properties. Bret and his staff have the professionalism and knowledge that you will not find just anywhere. Bret has always had a dedication and drive to give back to the active military and veterans that have sacrificed so much for this great country. I always refer potential clients to Bret F. just as I will only deal with him myself. Thanks again for everything!

S. Barber, Benchmark Veteran client

S. Barber

I reached out to Selena Ward with Benchmark Mortgage Jan of 2018. That was the third time I have used my VA home loan. I have to say that Selena and her team made this time around the smoothest and easiest. Everyone knows that the VA loan is not the most streamlined Mortgage program even though it is a great program for us that have served our country through the military. Selena has made it her personal mission to learn the VA loan process so that it runs as smooth as possible. I could not be more impressed with her expertise on the system and willingness to walk me and my wife through it. No matter how many times we asked the same question over and over. Being a State Farm Agent, I have gotten to know a good number of realtors, and many of them have expressed their frustration with the VA loan process. Even to the point that they are reluctant to work with people who are going to use the loan for purchasing a house. They just have not worked with lenders who know it well enough and in the middle of getting the home closed it falls through. Selena Ward is the answer to this problem! I was never worried about the process. If I had questions, they were answered almost immediately, and I was always in the loop. Even the Title company made comments on how surprisingly smooth the process was. I want to thank Selena and her team for their dedication to veterans and the VA loan program that most veterans use. I am very proud to know there are people like her who support veterans every day.

S. Statser

Our experience buying a home with Benchmark Mortgage was wonderful. From the first conversation to the day of closing, we were taken care of by the team better than we could have imagined. They made time to answer all of our questions, as well as provide some suggestions for questions that we didn’t know to ask. They made sure that we understood every step of the home buying process. We hope to be in our new home for many, many years, but when the time comes, we will be using Benchmark Mortgage for all of our financial needs.

P. Ford

I am pleased to submit a good write up of our (Me and my Wife) experience with you. It was a very positive one and I even had someone call me at the end of 2016 to inquire about refinancing because the rates were very low. While I didn’t take advantage of the offer (I should have), I was very impressed that I had someone call me from Benchmark trying to save me money from my mortgage with you all. The message delivered there is Benchmark is dedicated to its clients and not just about money. For that, I am grateful. I do not have a mortgage anymore, but if I ever do have another, I will most definitely go with Benchmark. Thank you so much!!!

veteran Benchmark clients

Don’t Wait For The VA

A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is the ONLY verifiable proof that a Veteran is eligible for a VA loan that is recognized by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Benchmark has launched The Veterans Home Front to make it easy for our veterans to get the American dream they deserve.To this end, we are launching a completely free, no-obligation service to provide a COE for veterans so they can know if they are eligible for a VA loan. Benchmark’s COE expert can help you determine your eligibility by acquiring your COE on your behalf from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

All you have to do is go to our Easy COE button to leave your contact information, and our team will reach out to you to get your story and ask for any other details we may need. After our COE expert has contacted you, in many cases, we are able to get your COE in a matter of seconds. Your COE is yours to keep and use, regardless of which lender you choose to work with.

We have helped Veterans across the country get into the home of their dreams, many in ‘impossible’ circumstances where other mortgage companies have turned them away. We would love the honor of serving you.

Get your Easy COE now

Cpl. (Ret) Jacob Schick, USMC, founder of 22Kill.

Jacob Schick

Corporal (Ret.) Jacob Schick is retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and the founder of 22KILL (

22KILL works to raise awareness to the veteran suicide epidemic that is plaguing our country, and educate the public on PTS and other mental health issues. 22KILL also partners with other organizations nationwide to be able to provide a variety of programs and resources for veterans and first responders.  These programs include traditional and non-traditional forms of therapy for both mental and physical health, with the primary focus being suicide prevention through empowerment.