Settling back into civilian life can be difficult — and even more difficult if you don’t really have a home of your own to come back to. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs seeks to make that transition and the lives of veterans easier. You served our country well and now it’s our turn to serve you. According to the Veterans Affairs website, the VA home loan program offers a home loan guaranty benefit and other types of housing related programs to help veterans obtain a home. Whether that’s through building your own home, repairing an existing home, purchasing or keeping your home, or adapting a home for yourself, a VA home loan can help make that a possibility. Private lenders provide the home loan, but the VA guarantees a part of the loan, which gives you better terms than you might see if you strike out on your own. If you’re wondering about who qualifies for VA home loan eligibility, read on.
VA Home Loan Eligibility
There are a few qualifications for VA home loan eligibility. You’ll need to have served 90 days (consecutive) during wartime or 181 days during peacetime. Alternatively, if you served in the National Guard or Reserves, you’ll need over six years of service there. You may also have VA home loan eligibility if you were married to a service member who passed away in the line of duty or who has a service-related disability. If you were discharged from service under dishonorable conditions, you will not be eligible to apply.
You don’t need to hit an income threshold in order to qualify, but you do need to provide proof that you have a stable income that can cover your monthly expenses – this includes the mortgage payment. You also need to show that you’ll have residual income after major expenses (mortgage, car payments, etc.,) are paid for, which would cover food and transportation, among other things. This builds in a safety net for the VA and for the borrower — they know they’ll have enough money to cover their bills every month and in case of an emergency, borrowers know they have a bit of leeway with their expenses.
Private lenders may also ask for other qualifications, such as debt, income, or credit requirements.
How Do I Apply For a VA Loan?
After you make sure that you’re eligible for the VA loan, you should get in touch with a lender that the VA has approved (you can find those resources on their website) and begin the application. You’ll also need to get your VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility, which you can often receive through your chosen lender. (Other ways to get this include via mail using the VA Form 26-1880, asking a VA Loan Specialist to assist, or applying online with the VA’s eBenefits portal.)
After your COE is obtained, you’ll finish up your loan application, gather all necessary paperwork, and turn it into the lender for approval.
What are the Main Benefits of Getting a VA Loan?
A veteran loan has provided the status of “homeowner” to over 20 million veterans, some first time owners, and some previous homeowners. In 20145, just shy of 135,000 home loans were taken out by first time homebuyers and over 185,000 home loans were taken out by veterans who had previously owned a home.
You don’t need mortgage insurance and lets you have 100% financing. Furthermore, the mortgage rates from the VA are at least 50 basis points lower than the rates available on conventional mortgage loans. In most cases, you also won’t need to provide a down payment, nor will you have to pay a mortgage insurance premium every month, meaning that more of your payment goes straight to the actual mortgage.
If you’re a veteran and need a little assistance with getting a loan, get in touch with the Department of Veterans Affairs and see how you can start your application process. Everyone deserves a roof over their head, especially the brave men and women who have served our country well.
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