If you serve or have served in the military and are considering buying a home with your VA home loan, you probably have a lot of questions. The homebuying process can be difficult enough to navigate without adding the VA loan to the mix, but if you know the basics and work with a knowledgeable loan officer, buying a home could be a breeze.
There are some amazing benefits provided to our men and women in uniform. One of those benefits worth taking advantage of is the VA home loan (also called VA loan for short). Among other housing-related programs, the VA provides a financing option for eligible service members, veterans, and surviving spouses to purchase, build, and/or maintain a primary residence.
VA loans are available through VA-qualified lenders like banks and mortgage companies to provide home loan financing with favorable options. For military members, the VA loan program enables eligible veterans and active-duty military personnel to finance up to 100% of a home’s value.
Some additional terms worth mentioning include:
VA loans are guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs
Maximum 100% LTV (loan to value) purchase
Seller may pay all or part of buyer’s closing costs and up to 4% of the value of the property in seller concessions
You can obtain a VA loan through a VA-qualified lender of your choice once you obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). To be eligible, you must have a good credit score, sufficient income, a valid COE, and meet certain service requirements.
Do You Qualify for a VA Home Loan?
According to the VA, the length of your service or service commitment and/or duty status may determine your eligibility for specific home loan benefits. After about six months of service, most active-duty military personnel, members of all military branches, and veterans qualify to apply for a VA home loan. Reservists and members of the National Guard can apply after six years, unless they are called to active duty before that.
Here are some common qualifications for a VA home loan:
Serving 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
Serving 181 days of active service during peacetime
Serving as an active member of the National Guard or Reserves for six years or more
Being married to a service member who died in the line of duty or from a service-related disability
A VA home loan can really help veterans get into their dream home, but it’s important to remember that qualifying for a VA loan is a separate process from qualifying for a mortgage. Make sure you partner with a loan officer that can help guide you through the entire loan process, from gathering up must-have documents, to prequalification and closing. They should also help you obtain the required COE to ensure a timely closing, as well as answer any questions you have about the homebuying process.