VA Loans: Everything you need to know
The Veterans Affairs Department guarantees VA loans. Check out the posts below to know everything about it.
What is a VA loan?
VA loans are guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Government-backed loans are not actually made by the government, but because they are backed by a government agency, lenders feel more comfortable offering them because there is less risk than a conventional mortgage.
As a result, it’s possible to obtain a VA loan without a down payment, and sometimes with more flexible credit requirements. The VA loan still requires you to meet certain requirements, and it still needs to be approved by the lender, but if you qualify, it can enable you to obtain homeownership while having less money than you would need in the bank otherwise.
How do VA loans work?
VA forms verify your eligibility for the program, so you fill them out. A VA loan also comes with a guaranteed dollar amount, which is known as the entitlement amount. There is a possibility that lenders would lend up to four times the amount of your entitlement.
If all of that is in place, it is possible to qualify for a VA loan without a down payment. Additionally, VA loans do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI), but you will need to pay a VA funding fee, which will be a percentage of the total loan amount when you close. By charging that fee, future borrowers can continue to benefit from the program.
VA Loan Process
For many borrowers, applying for any kind of mortgage may seem daunting. But, when broken down, this rundown of 6 steps to getting a VA loan is easy to understand.
- Select a VA-approved Lender
According to the surface, any lender will do. You may discover, however, that not all lenders are the same. To begin with, VA mortgages can only be originated by lenders approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Furthermore, some lenders specialize in conventional loans, while others concentrate almost exclusively on VA loans.
- Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
You can get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from an experienced lender. It will prove that you are eligible for VA loans at the outset. It will also tell the lender what amount the Department of Veterans Affairs will guarantee on your VA loan, which is your entitlement.
- Pre-Qualify for Your Loan Amount (optional)
Prequalifying is important, but not necessary. You can save some time and avoid surprises by completing this step. A VA loan professional will ask you about your income, credit history, employment, spouse’s status, and other factors in order to pre-qualify you for your loan amount. You can help avoid surprises later during underwriting by providing your lender with complete details during pre-qualification.
- Go House Hunting and Sign a Purchase Agreement
The fourth step is usually one that borrowers enjoy since they get to see potential homes. You can maximize your VA benefits by working with a real estate professional who specializes in the VA process. VA allows certain costs and fees to be paid by the seller if both parties agree. A knowledgeable agent will know this and will help you negotiate seller-paid fees.
- Lender Processes Application and Orders VA Appraisal
The first step in your application is signing a purchase contract. Your lender will then order the VA appraisal. You cannot choose an appraiser at random. To qualify for VA financing, the home must be appraised by a professional certified by the VA to perform appraisals according to VA standards.
- Close on Your Loan and Move-In
All that is left is to close and move in after being approved by the underwriter. At closing, the property officially becomes yours. Signing the closing documents confirms that you have understood and agreed to the loan terms.
Who qualifies for a VA loan?
VA loans may be available to you if…
- Your service meets the requirements. Check the VA website to learn how long you must serve.
- You are the un-remarried spouse of a service member who died in service from a service-connected disability. You can also apply if you are an eligible spouse who receives Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Benefits. If your spouse is missing in action or a prisoner of war, this section may be of interest to you.
- You have a satisfactory credit history. Bankruptcies and foreclosures in the past won’t necessarily bar you from applying.
- It is proven that you are employed and earning income. Proof of employment for two years must be provided. You may need better credit or a down payment if your monthly debt, including housing costs, exceeds 41% of your gross monthly income.
- Different lenders use different standards to determine who can borrow, so if one lender rejects you, keep searching for another.
VA Loan Eligibility Requirements
Once you’ve checked that you meet the service requirements for a VA loan, your income, assets, and credit must be verified, as well as the property you’re buying.
A VA loan can also be used for condos and manufactured homes, but not all lenders will finance these types of properties. For a condo, you can get a VA loan, but not for a manufactured home. You must purchase the property within 60 days of its purchase. It is not possible to use a VA loan to buy a vacation or investment property, but it can be used to buy a one-to-four family home as a primary residence for an eligible member.
The VA does not stipulate a minimum credit score for VA loans, so lenders have different requirements. VA loans have a median credit score of 580.
Your lender will consider your ability to repay the loan based on your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). In terms of DTI, it represents the amount of your monthly income that goes to repaying debt. Some lenders may set a limit on your DTI, but the VA does not.
Types of VA loans
- Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program
- VA-Backed Purchase Loan
- Cash-Out Refinance Loan
- Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)
There are many services and benefits offered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Among them is the VA loan. The VA offers these mortgages directly, as well as through third parties including banks and financial institutions. VA-backed loans are offered by these third parties, making it easier for Veterans to qualify. Veterans are less likely these days to get a direct VA loan, but rather a VA-backed loan from a third-party lender.
VA Loan Limits
In a typical US county, the cap is $510,400, but it is higher in expensive housing markets, such as San Francisco. If the purchase price of the property exceeds the VA loan limit, a down payment will be required from you.
VA Loan Pros
You can gain a number of advantages over a conventional loan if you qualify for a VA loan. This includes:
- The VA offers better terms and interest rates than most other home loans.
- Typically, VA loans do not require a down payment, as long as the purchase sales price of the home does not exceed its appraised value.
- A mortgage insurance premium (MIP) or private mortgage insurance (PMI) is not required. MIP Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requires you to self-insure your loan against the potential loss of your down payment. PMI is designed to protect lenders when the down payment for a home is less than 20%.
- Paying off your loan early is not subject to a penalty.
VA Loan Cons
Even with all of these benefits, there are a few things you should consider before applying for a VA loan:
- Fees for VA funding must be paid. As the VA home loan program does not require down payments or monthly mortgage insurance, this one-time payment lowers the cost of the loan for taxpayers.
- Compare the total cost of the loan with the total cost of the house. Because the VA funding fee needs to be taken into account, your loan could exceed your house’s market value.
- The 30-year term may not be available for manufactured homes that require a minimum down payment.
- Rental properties cannot be financed with a VA loan.
How to apply for a VA loan?
When it comes to applying for a VA loan, it’s similar to applying for any other mortgage. Here are six things to keep in mind.
- Secure A Certificate Of Eligibility (COE)
- Get Pre Approved
- Shop For A House
- Make A Purchase Offer
- Undergo VA Appraisal And Underwriting
- Close On Your New Home
Veteran Affairs Home Mortgage
Veterans, active duty service members, and spouses of military personnel can obtain VA loans with no down payment. A VA loan is issued by a private lender (such as a mortgage company or bank) and guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
During World War II, the United States government created the VA loan program to help returning service members buy a home without having to make a down payment or have excellent credit. Veteran, active duty military members, and their families have used this program to buy or refinance homes for more than 25 million mortgages.