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Should you take advantage of VA loan benefits?

It’s certainly worth looking into if you are:

What makes a VA home loan particularly appealing for many eligible veterans (and their families, when applicable) is that a down payment is not required and they can finance more than 80% of a home’s value or purchase price because mortgage insurance is not required.

There are some drawbacks too, though, and we’ll guide you through all the questions you’ll want to ask before applying for a VA mortgage. If you’ve already done your homework and know that a VA home loan is right for you get VA mortgage quotes from competing VA home loan lenders.

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Are you eligible for a VA loan?

The eligibility requirements needed to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility are listed below for active-duty service members, veterans, spouses and other eligible beneficiaries:
Status Qualifying Wartime & Peacetime Periods Qualifying Active Duty Dates Minimum Active Duty Service Requirements
Currently On Active Duty Any Any 90 continuous days
National Guard & Reserve Member Gulf War 8/2/1990 – Present 90 days of active service
Special Circumstances
  • Were discharged honorably, OR
  • Were placed on the retired list, OR
  • Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable, OR
  • Continue to serve in the Selected Reserve
8/2/1990 – Present Six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard
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VETERAN
Status Qualifying Wartime & Peacetime Periods Qualifying Active Duty Dates Minimum Active Duty Service Requirements
Veteran WWII 9/16/1940 – 7/25/1947 90 total days
  Post-WWII 7/26/1947 – 6/26/1950 181 continuous days
  Post-Korean War 2/1/1955 – 8/4/1964 181 continuous days
  Vietnam War 8/5/1964 – 5/7/1975 *For Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date is 2/28/1961 90 total days
  Post-Vietnam War 5/8/1975 – 9/7/1980 *The ending date for officers is 10/16/1981 181 continuous days
  24-month rule 9/8/1980 – 8/1/1990 *The beginning date for officers is 10/17/1981
  • 24 continuous months, OR
  • The full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
  Gulf War 8/2/1990 – Present
  • 24 continuous months, OR
  • The full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty
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SPOUSE

The spouse of a Veteran can also apply for home loan eligibility under one of the following conditions:

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OTHERS

You may also apply for eligbility if you fall into one of the following categories:

*If you do not meet the minimum service requirements, you may still be eligible if you were discharged due to (1) hardship, (2) the convenience of the government, (3) reduction-in-force, (4) certain medical conditions, or (5) a service-connected disability.
 
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What is a VA loan?

VA loans are home loans designated specifically for people who have served, or are presently serving, in the U.S. military who want to purchase a primary residence.

VA Home Loans were first made available in 1944 when The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act added this additional benefits package to eligible service members. They are administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA does not actually lend anyone money; it backs these loans and reimburses private lenders if borrowers default on them. Because this provides a safety net for these lenders, VA loans are widely available and at a reasonable cost.

VA Mortgage lenders offer a variety of home loans that cover a broad range of needs, including:

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The Benefits of a VA Loan

There are many benefits to choosing a VA home loan. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

  • No down payment required (unless required by the lender or the purchase price is more than the reasonable value of the property)
  • Buyer informed of reasonable value
  • Negotiable interest rate
  • Ability to finance the VA funding fee (plus reduced funding fees with a down payment of at least 5 percent and exemption for veterans receiving VA compensation)
  • Closing costs are comparable with other financing types (and may be lower).
  • No mortgage insurance premiums
  • An assumable mortgage
  • Right to prepay without penalty
  • For homes inspected by VA during construction, a warranty from builder and assistance from VA to obtain cooperation of builder.
  • An assistance to veteran borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty