The American Dream

The innocence of asking a child, “what do you want to be when you grow up,” maybe be the seed that starts the journey toward the American dream. So many great leaders have described the American Dream, such as Martin Luther King’s famous, I Have a Dream speech that rallied a nation’s desire for equality. Or as Judy Garland puts it, “somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

So I ask you, what is your American dream?

I am honored and humbled to be featured in six episodes of The American Dream television show. I invite you to share my excitement in discovering the American dream right here in our backyard, Washington DC.

In cities all across the country, the American Dream features 8-12 Power Players of Real Estate to establish them as the “Expert of their Market’ within our show and our network. I have been chosen to represent DC in six upcoming episodes of The American Dream.

The American Dream is a Television show in its 5th year, which started in California and is now streaming and airing in nearly every major city. Our central focus is real estate and the people behind it. The show weaves its storylines between topics like homeownership, lifestyles, entrepreneurship, charity, neighborhood, and family.

“John exemplified the qualities of passion and creativity. He was a perfect match to represent Washington DC in The American Dream.”

Craig Sewing, Host of THe american dream

Craig Sewing, host of The American Dream, explains, “The American Dream, a national cable talk show, is different from other programs. Our mission strays away from all negative viewpoints often found in the media, instead choosing to focus on educating, empowering, and engaging with viewers to help achieve personal American Dreams through subjects that include real estate, finance, and entrepreneurial mindset.”

Over the next few weeks, I will begin shooting the first few episodes, which will reflect my overall storyline of relationships, history, and community. The opportunity to bring DC’s culture, entertainment, and incredible neighborhood history to a national state is both exciting and humbling.

My 20 plus years in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland real estate market have brought thousands of new relationships and the chance to support the building of neighborhoods and the healthy growth of our city. I am blessed to work and live in the heart of Capital Hill. My home is surrounded by historical landmarks, incredible eateries, and exposure to some of the city’s most relished residential properties.

As a veteran, I will dedicate an episode to raise the awareness of our military service members as they transition from base-to-base throughout their careers. As one active duty spouse reflected, “I have a default master’s degree in logistics from moving my family ten times in the past 20 years.” I have had the honor to work with both active duty and veteran families to navigate the VA loan process resulting in faster closings and reduced upfront fees.

Join me in this journey of the American dream as we discover the sights and sounds of our local community and city. I want to thank all of my clients (friends) and family who have supported my dream of becoming a person of incredible passion, love, and integrity.

What is my American Dream? Well, stay tuned and follow me over the next year on The American Dream as I share my story with a city I love dearly.

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What you need to apply for a VA home loan.

Like most home loans, you will be required to fill out a bunch of paperwork in order to apply for a VA loan. Everything from your personal information to the documentation of your finances will need to be submitted and reviewed.

If you don’t want to delay your application and slow down the process, it’s important that you make sure to submit everything the lender needs as soon as possible. So, to help you prepare and be organized, we’ve put together this overview of what you need to apply for a VA home loan.

Military Service Information

One of the first steps to getting a VA home loan is documenting and providing proof your military service. You cannot get a VA loan unless you meet the proper service requirements.

Certificate of Eligibility

This document is one of the first that your lender will need. You can either request it yourself or your lender can request it for you. Having your lender request it is usually faster and easier.


You will also need a copy of this form if you are no longer in the military. It will help verify your service history and be used in conjunction with your Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

Statement of Service

If you are still active duty, your commanding officer will need to sign a statement of service. This letter must include your full name, social security number, birthdate, the date you entered active duty, any lost time, and the name of the command. And, of course, your commanding officer’s signature.

Personal Information

You should automatically know most of this information without needing to look it up. However, some information, like your prior addresses and maybe even your social security number, may require you to put in more time to make sure it’s accurate.

Prior Addresses

You will need to know and provide the address of everywhere you’ve lived during the past two years. Make sure you don’t leave any place out, even if you only lived there for a month or two!

Social Security Numbers

If you have yours memorized, great! If not, make sure you look it up before your application. In addition, if you will have a co-borrower on your loan, like your spouse, you will need to know their social security number as well.

Financial Information

This portion of the process is one of the most involved parts of applying for a VA mortgage loan, as it has the most documents you will need to gather. It includes everything from income verification and employment to related debts.

W2 Forms

You will need to find and submit your W2s for the past two years. These forms will be used to verify your income and make sure it’s either been consistent or has improved year to year.

Leave & Earnings Statement

Your latest leave and earnings statement (LES) will show the lender two important things: (1) proof of income and (2) your expiration of term of service (ETS). If your ETS is within the next 12 months, you will need to provide further documentation.

If you have already left service, instead of an LES, you will be required to submit your most recent pay stubs for the last 30 days, or documentation of any disability or retirement income.

Childcare Costs

If you have children, most lenders require a written childcare statement. This should outline how much you spend each month on childcare and, if applicable, how much you pay in child support.

If you do not have any childcare expenses, you will still need to declare this fact on the statement and include an explanation for why you don’t have these expenses.

Tax Returns

If you’d like to include any self-employment or rental income, or if more than a quarter of your income comes from bonuses, commissions, or side businesses, you will need to submit your two most recent federal income tax forms.

Bank Statements

Because mortgages usually come with closing costs, even VA mortgages, your lender may require you to provide your banks statements for the past 60 days to make sure you’ll be able to cover these expenses. When submitting these statements, make sure you include any blank pages, as well.

Job History

Lenders may also want to know your job history for the past two years. As part of this information, you will need to provide the name of each employer, as well as their address, phone number, and dates of employment.

Credit History

An important part of any mortgage application is your credit history. While the VA does not have a minimum credit score requirements, some lenders do. In addition, all lenders will be looking at your overall credit history to make sure you seem like a good credit risk.

Proof of Errors

If there are errors on your credit report that haven’t been removed yet, you will need to submit proof of these errors to your lender.

Explanation of Late Payments

If your credit report shows any late payments, it doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot get a VA loan. However, your lender will likely require a written explanation for these late payments. Basically, lenders want to be confident you’ll make your loan payments on time, and that any prior late payments were due to extenuating circumstances.

Bankruptcy & Discharge Documents

If you’ve ever declared bankruptcy, you will need to provide these documents, in addition to the documents showing that your bankruptcy was discharged and you are no longer under any financial obligations.

Start Your Application

While this list doesn’t cover absolutely everything you’ll need to get a VA Loan, it does cover what you’ll need to start the process.

Once you’ve gathered all of the documents and information listed above, you’re ready to find your perfect lender, start the search for your dream home, and dive into the actual application process. Because of your preparation, you can expect the process to be hassle- and headache-free.