About VA Home Loans
VA loans are government backed home loans for qualified Veterans, service members, and their survivors to buy, build, improve, or refinance a home. While there are still loan requirements to be met, VA loans are easier to qualify for and many offer better terms than a traditional home loan, such as no down payment, no mortgage insurance, flexible credit guidelines and the industry’s lowest average fixed mortgage rates.
History of the VA Loan Program
The United States government created the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act in 1944 to help returning service members purchase a home without a down payment or good credit. The federal government generally does not make loans under the act – they guarantee the lender against loss of principal if the buyer defaults. Over the years there have been some modifications to the program and as of 2019, the program has guaranteed 24 million VA home loans.
Types of VA Loans
VA Purchase Loan: purchase a new or existing single-family home, condominium, manufactured home, or a multi-unit home with no down payment. Each lender will have their own products and policies, which is why it’s important to work with someone experienced in this area.
VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL): Also known as VA Streamlines, these loans offer low-cost refinance loans to Veterans who have an existing VA . The new mortgage rate must be smaller than your current loan rate.
CA Cash-Out Refinance: The second refinance option for Veteran homeowners, this loan offers qualified homeowners the opportunity to refinance their mortgage and take out cash from their home’s equity, typically up to 90% of the home’s value. Again, each lender will have their own requirements and terms.
VA Energy Efficient Mortgage: This loan allows Veterans to borrow additional funds to pay for to make energy efficient improvements to their purchase or on a refinance.
Every Veteran’s situation is different, so going over all of your loan options, I can help ensure you make the best financial decision for you.
Do I qualify for a VA loan?
The program was designed for veterans (and surviving spouses) who completed a specific length of service and most lenders will have an additional set of requirements. You may be eligible by meeting one or more of the requirements listed below:
- You served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime.
- You served 181 days of active service during peacetime.
- You have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves.
- You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
Even if you don’t meet these requirements, you may still be eligible. Contact me to discuss.
Lender requirements may include sufficient reliable income to repay the loan, acceptable levels of debt, and a credit score that meets the lender’s credit requirements (typically at least 620).
Applying for pre-approval is the first step in the process.
How do I apply?
The VA loan application is a standard loan application form 1003. You should contact a specialist like me to verify eligibility and start your application.
You will need:
- A copy of your driver’s license or other government ID
- Past 2 years W-2 statements (if self-employed, past two consecutive years of tax returns)
- Previous two pay stubs
- Recent documentation of assets such as checking, savings, investments, trust fund accounts, etc.)
- DD-214 and COE (Certificate of Eligibility)
If I’ve already received a VA loan, can I apply for another VA loan?
Yes, once you earn the benefit, you can continue to reuse the program over your lifetime.