A Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) loan is a fantastic service that helps veterans make large purchases, such as buying a home. The advantages this program offers make home-buying much more accessible and are not available to civilians.
Before you start digging in to see if you qualify for a VA loan, let’s talk a little more about what they are.
What is a VA Loan?
VA loans aren’t loans issued by the Department of Veteran Affairs, but by private lenders like banks and mortgage companies. The VA guarantees the loan being applied for so that you can enjoy more favorable terms from the lender, which is what makes this loan advantageous.
The favorable VA loan terms include:
- No down payment required as long as the sale price doesn’t exceed the appraised value.
- No private mortgage insurance premium requirement.
- A limit to the amount you can be charged for closing costs.
- The possibility of closing costs being paid by the seller.
- The inability of a lender to charge a penalty fee if the loan is paid off early.
- The ability of the VA to possibly provide some assistance if you experience difficulty making payments.
- Not only advantageous for first-time homebuyers.
- The benefit is reusable.
- The VA-backed loans are assumable, as long as the person assuming the loan qualifies.
- Easy to refinance
Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?
You can be eligible regardless of what branch of the military you served in. Eligibility extends to military spouses as well.
To qualify, you need to meet at least one of the following requirements:
- Have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
- Have served 181 days of active service during peacetime
- 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves
- Are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
Once you are certain that you qualify for veteran status, the VA has additional criteria to qualify you. These factors pertain to the state of your financial situation and the home you are looking to purchase. For instance, the VA requires an appraisal process that examines the home’s sale price, fair market value, and condition. Pest and termite inspections are also part of the VA loan process. Additionally, the VA will also require that you have sufficient “residual” income after major living expenses are paid to cover things like food and transportation.
In addition to your eligibility in the eyes of the VA, there are also items set by the lender to consider. These include your credit score, current debt situation, and reliable income to repay the loan.
Applying for a VA Loan
To receive one of these loans, you’ll need to acquire a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). It is not necessary to obtain a COE before applying for a loan though since most VA loan-approved lenders can issue a COE instantly.
However, if you’d like your COE before you apply for a loan, there are two additional ways to obtain it:
Why Use a VA Loan?
VA loans exist to help military veterans buy, build, retain, and ultimately own a home of their own. The program gives veterans advantages that can greatly ease the home-buying process that are not available to civilians.
Are you a veteran interested in purchasing a home?
Park Place Finance is a VA Loan-Approved mortgage lender that will help you obtain the advantages this program offers. If you’re interested in learning more or starting the loan approval process today, read more about getting a VA loan with Park Place.