Veterans Affairs Home Loans are rising in popularity across the country. In 2021, this program guaranteed more than 1.4 million loans with a total value of $447 billion, a 16.5% increase from 2020.
All qualifying U.S. service members and veterans should consider taking advantage of a VA home loan. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of common questions and essential information about all VA home loan requirements – check it out!
What is a VA Home Loan?
This loan option is provided only to eligible veterans, service members, and surviving spouses. While the Department of Veteran’s Affairs does not originate loans, they partially back portions of the loans against default. This guarantee ensures that private lenders can offer more favorable rates and loan terms.
VA home loans feature the following:
- 100% financing under most conditions
- Low closing costs
- No penalties for paying early
- VA financing fees that can be included in the mortgage
- Both fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages
- Approval of a variety of property types
Do ALL Service Members and Veterans Qualify for a VA Home Loan?
Active-duty service members who have served for a minimum of 90 continuous days meet the service requirement. However, for veterans, the requirements depend on your service dates.
You must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) if you plan to apply for a VA home loan. This certificate states that your duty status or service history qualifies you for the program. The VA has a detailed application page outlining the documents you must provide when applying for a COE.
You may still be eligible even if you don’t meet COE minimum requirements. You must have been discharged for a reason like hardship, government convenience, early out, force reduction, a medical condition, or a service-related disability.
Lastly, National Guard and Reserve members are eligible to apply, as are surviving military spouses (if the military spouse is declared dead, missing in action, or is a prisoner of war).
What Are the VA Home Loan Requirements, Conditions, and Limits?
- Borrowers can only secure funds for a primary residence. VA home loans can help borrowers buy a house or condo in a VA-approved project, build a home, improve a home while purchasing it, buy a manufactured home and lot, or install energy-efficient upgrades.
- Borrowers must have a minimum credit score (FICO) of 580.
- Fairway Independent Mortgage’s maximum loan amount is $2,000,000.
- There is no down payment requirement.
- The maximum loan-to-value ratio is 100%.
- There is no private mortgage insurance when using a VA home loan.
- Borrowers may use a VA home loan two years after a foreclosure discharge date (or the date the property was transferred out of the owner’s name).
- Typically, there is no waiting period for a short sale.
- If a borrower filed for bankruptcy in the past, they are usually eligible for a VA loan two years after the discharge date.
- Allowable and non-allowable loan fees keep veterans from being overcharged during the transaction. VA home loan fees that borrowers cannot pay include but are not limited to attorney fees, duplicate fees, pre-payment penalty fees, HUD/FHA inspection fees, appraisal fees, and loan closing or settlement fees.
Are There Any Additional Loan Restrictions or Requirements?
As previously mentioned, VA Home loans can only be used to purchase a primary residence. Because of this, borrowers cannot use the loan to buy investment properties or vacation homes. Houses purchased with VA loans CANNOT be rented out.
Your prospective home must be in good working order and be considered a conventional home to be approved. Your VA appraiser will have the final say on if your home is “acceptable.”
The appraiser will ensure that the property meets the minimum requirements by checking for safe mechanical systems, an adequate heating system, an acceptable roof, and structural soundness.
More Fun Facts About VA Home Loans
Here are a few additional facts about VA home loans!
- Certain borrowers may qualify for more than one VA loan simultaneously. This qualification typically occurs when a service member is being transferred but doesn’t want to sell their previous home yet.
- Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation can process and close your loan in as little as 21 days!
- If you are deployed overseas, you may still qualify for a VA loan if your spouse occupies the home.
- 82% of VA loans require NO down payment.
- Approximately half of all VA home loans are refinances.
- Some veterans qualify for VA funding fee refunds and property tax exemptions.
- The Department of Veteran’s Affairs has guaranteed more than 20 million loans since 1944.
VA home loans change the lives of thousands of service members and veterans each year. If you have questions or think you can benefit from one of these great loans, please take a moment to contact our knowledgeable mortgage team today!