Did you know that there's a huge percentage of veterans who don’t even know they have a wonderful home loan benefit? VA loans are an excellent way for veterans to purchase a home or refinance an existing one. Unfortunately, along with the lack of knowledge about the program, there are a lot of misconceptions about the VA loan process. VA loans do not have to be difficult to understand.
Check out this list below to help shed some light on common myths and facts on the VA home loan.
Myth #1: Veterans only have one chance to use their VA home loan benefit.
FACT: Veterans can use their benefit multiple times throughout their life. Guidelines may apply; however, there is actually no limit.
Myth #2: You can only have one VA loan at a time.
FACT: If you used your VA benefits to purchase a home that is now being rented and you did not use all of your eligibility, you can apply the remainder to a second VA home loan.
Myth #3: VA loans can only be used to buy a house.
FACT: VA loans can be used to refinance, too—up to 100% of the home’s value in some cases.
Myth #4: VA loans are small and only ideal for starter homes.
FACT: VA loans are available at traditional loan limits and above. (Subject to county loan limits)
Myth #5: VA loans take too long to process and close.
Myth #6: It’s too difficult to qualify for a government program.
FACT: In some ways—it’s easier to qualify for a VA loan. Typically, a slightly lower credit score and less stringent guidelines apply to VA financing.
Myth #7: VA loans are too expensive with the upfront Funding Fee.
FACT: Actually, when you do the math, a VA loan may be less than other programs. The VA funding could be financed into the loan and is a one-time fee; there is not an additional fee. In addition, funding fees are waived if:
Veteran receiving VA compensation for a service-connected disability, OR
Veteran who would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability if you did not receive retirement or active duty pay, OR
Veterans who are rated by VA as eligible to receive compensation as a result of pre-discharge review of existing medical evidence (including service medical and treatment records) that results in issuance of a memorandum rating, OR
Veterans entitled to receive compensation, but who are not presently in receipt because they are on active duty, OR
Surviving spouse of a veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability (whether or not such surviving spouses are veterans with their own entitlement and whether or not they are using their own entitlement on the loan)
Myth #8: Vets have to be discharged or retired to use their VA loan benefit.
FACT: Active service members get full access to the VA mortgage benefit, too! (After 181 days of continuous service or 90 days during Gulf War period for active duty personnel.)
Myth #9: Members of the Reserves or National Guard are not eligible.
FACT: Members of the Reserves or National Guard are eligible after six years of honorable service.
Myth #10: Vets who are serving away from home or overseas can’t get a loan until they can return to occupy the property.
FACT: Military men and women who are away on active duty can obtain a VA loan if they intend to return home within a year or have a spouse who will occupy the property in the interim.
Myth #11: Widows or widowers of Vets are not eligible for the VA loan benefit.
FACT: Surviving spouses of fallen veterans who died on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability may be eligible for a VA loan.
Myth #12: I have to have my VA Certificate of Eligibility in hand before I can look for a house or apply for a loan.
FACT: Don’t let the lack of your certificate stand in the way of applying for a home loan or looking for a new home. Lenders can request your certificate through an automated system if you do not have your certificate yet.
Myth #13: VA home loan appraisals and inspections are tougher than those for conventional or FHA financing.
FACT: VA does not appraise or inspect your home. Your lender contracts with a VA-approved appraiser who will review the property to determine a value for the home. This is not a home inspection. If you would like an inspection of the home, contact a licensed home inspector.
VA home loans don't have to be difficult to understand. Hopefully, after reading this article, you have a better understanding of how and when you can use a VA loan.