There are many loan options available to help consumers fulfill the dream of homeownership. The type of mortgage that is chosen usually depends upon the individual’s qualifications. However, many people may not know that they are eligible for the VA home loan program which is one of the best mortgages available today.
What is a VA Loan?
The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has helped millions of military members purchase homes since the inception of the VA Loan Guaranty Program in 1944. This program provides veterans with a federally guaranteed home loan that does not require a down payment. By doing so, the VA has provided the reality of homeownership for millions of veterans throughout the years. In addition, the VA loan program also offers existing homeowners an easy and quick means of refinancing through the IRRRL program.
VA guaranteed loans can be obtained through VA approved lenders, banks and mortgage companies. This guarantee protects the lender against loss in the event of a default by the homeowner. It is actually a replacement for the down payment that is normally required by the lender in order to reduce their risk.
A VA loan can be used to buy or build a home from one to four family units; at least one unit must be owner occupied by the veteran (including townhouses and condominiums). A manufactured home that is set to a permanent foundation and taxed as real estate can also be purchased with a VA loan. Further, energy efficient improvements that are approved by the lender are eligible for VA financing.
Even though there is no down payment required, a VA loan does not require private mortgage insurance which is an added expense to the monthly mortgage payment. VA loans also offer competitive mortgage rates that can often be lower than those offered with conventional financing.
Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?
A consumer’s relationship, length of service or service commitment and duty status will determine if they are eligible for a VA loan. VA loans for homeownership are available to servicemembers, veterans and surviving spouses. Qualifying for a VA loan is determined by credit, income and a valid Certificate of Eligibility. In addition, the home must be for personal occupancy. The Veteran’s Administration provides a detailed list of the eligibility requirements, including specific years.
Those from WWII, Post WWII, Korean War, Post Korean War, Vietnam War, Post Vietnam War, 24 month rule and Gulf War.
Active Duty – all (minimum 90 continuous days of active duty service)
-Spouses who have not remarried after the death of a Veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability;
-Spouse of a servicemember that is missing in action or a prisoner of war;
-Surviving spouse who remarries on or after reaching the age of 57 and on or after December 16, 2003;
-Spouses of certain totally disabled veterans whose disability may not have been the cause of death.
-Some U.S. citizens who have served in the military of a government allied with the U.S. during WWII;
-Individuals who have service in organizations such as Public Health Service officers, cadets at the U.S. Military, Air Force or Coast Guard Academy, midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, Officers of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, merchant seaman with WWII service, etc.
There are many benefits offered with the VA loan in addition to the no down payment feature. While some consumers know for certain that they are eligible for a VA loan, others may not and should discuss the possibility with a VA approved lender. Continuing to be the most successful loan program available, VA loans are available to serve those who have served their country.
My loan process was very easy and quick. Not to mention a great loan rate. I couldn't be happier!
Capt Sam T. - US Army
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