What is the advantage of a VA loan?
The biggest advantage is most likely the ability for veterans and service members to purchase a home with no money down. Additionally, there is never any monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI). VA loans are easier to qualify for than conventional loans and interest rates are generally lower as well. A VA loan is a great benefit to have.
What is a funding fee and why do I have to pay it?
A funding fee is the cost associated with obtaining a VA loan. It helps to ensure that the loan continues to require no down payment and have no monthly mortgage insurance. There are some cases in which the VA considers a veteran to be exempt from the funding fee: If you receive or are eligible to receive disability benefits, or if you’re a surviving spouse of a veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability.
Do disability benefits affect my eligibility to receive a VA loan?
If you are a disabled veteran, there is no reason why you should not be eligible for a VA loan. In fact, if you are disabled, you are entitled to even more benefits. Veterans receiving benefits for service-connected disabilities, spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-related disabilities, and veterans entitled to receive service-connected disability compensation are not required to pay the VA funding fee.
Can I have a co-borrower who is not a veteran on my loan?
Yes, you can have a co-borrower on your loan. However, depending on the co-borrower, their relationship to you, and their status as a civilian or a veteran, it can affect your loan. When couples look for a home together, they often put both their names on the loan. Applying for a VA loan with your spouse as a co-borrower, regardless of their veteran status, is no different than with other loans.
What happens to my benefit if I’ve already had a VA loan before?
This is a question of entitlement. Entitlement can seem like a tricky situation at first glance, but it’s really not that complicated. You can have your entitlement restored one time only in order to purchase another home with your VA loan. In this case, you must have paid off the loan yet still own the property and want to use your entitlement to purchase a second home.
However, if you’ve paid off the loan and the property is no longer owned, you can have your entitlement restored as many times as you want. You can reuse your VA loan eligibility for every home purchase.
What documents do I need to qualify for a VA loan?
Veterans and service members are required to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). If you don’t have it, you’ll need to apply for one using the VA Form 26-1880 (which will require a copy of your DD-214). Along with the COE, you will need all of the typical items required to document your credit, savings and employment information.
Does my entitlement expire?
Your entitlement does not expire. If you are on active duty, your entitlement is good to use immediately. If you’re discharged or released from active duty, a new determination of eligibility must be made based on your length of service and your type of discharge.
Who is eligible to receive VA loan benefits?
You may be eligible for a VA loan if you meet one or more of the following conditions:
You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime
You have more than six years of service in the National Guard or Reserves
You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-connected disability
Can I use my VA loan for a second home?
You can most certainly use your VA loan benefits to buy a second home. But that home must be considered your primary residence in order to qualify for your loan. It gets a bit sticky here, between eligibility, entitlement and occupancy requirements, but ultimately if you are living in your second home or vacation house for more than six months of the year, you’re in the clear.
Can I use a VA loan to buy a rental property?
No. But you can use a VA loan to refinance an existing rental home you once occupied as a primary home. The VA’s Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), also known as the VA Streamline Refinance, can be used to refinance an existing VA loan for a home where you currently live or where you used to live, but no longer do.
Can I use my Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to qualify for a VA loan?
Yes! Your BAH acts as verifiable and reliable income that helps reduce your debt-to-income ratio. Keeping a low debt-to-income ratio is a key factor that’s used when underwriters determine your qualifications for a mortgage.
Speak with a Veteran Home Loan Specialist today
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