Sorry I'm a little late to the game! I'm a real estate agent in Tucson and a veteran myself. My husband & I have used our VA loan benefits to purchase two homes & have also done an IRRL (interest-rate reduction loan). The VA loan entitlement has many benefits, other than no down payment, that a lot of veterans don't know about. A couple of these are the ability to refinance into a lower interest rate without an appraisal and assumability of your loan by future buyers at today's low interest rates.
Today, most mortgage lenders do VA loans. The main reasons they may take a bit longer (just a little) is because the home you purchase has to be appraised by a VA appraiser & they have up to thirty days from the time the appraisal is ordered to perform the appraisal. Also, the loan has to be reviewed by VA underwriters, as well as the lender's underwriters. The home can't be a fix-up, meaning it has to have floor coverings & a kitchen (functional stove & sink). Also, depending on the climate, it will need a heater & a clear termite report (free of termites or just treated). Taking these factors into account, we usually try to schedule the closing for 6 weeks from the offer, as opposed to the usual 4 weeks. This should give you plenty of time.
I recently found out about a program called Homes for Heroes (HomesForHeroes.com). It's a network of real estate professionals that offer discounts and rebates to community heroes (including veterans). As a buyer, you would receive 25% of your agent's commission as a credit towards your closing costs (that's usually $750 for every $100,000 of home). Plus, they have lenders in their network as well that will give you discounts on their origination fees. I'm sure a Homes for Heroes agent will know a good local lender that has done lots of VA loans and will help you get everything you need to get together to get the process going.
Get your DD214 ready, check out Homes For Heroes, and find the home of your dreams!
Chartered Real Estate Consultant
Tierra Antigua Realty