A VA loan is a mortgage loan that private lenders issue for military borrowers. Currently, VA loans are the most substantial loan options available. If you or someone you know qualifies, here is a look at how VA loans work.
What is a VA Loan?
A VA loan is a flexible, $0-down payment mortgage loan option, partially backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans can be utilized to purchase a primary property or refinance an already existing mortgage.
There are a few circumstances that qualify you for a VA loans:
- Served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime.
- Served 181 consecutive days of active service (not during wartime).
- Have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves.
- A spouse of a service member who passed away during duty or a service-related disability.
There are also additional factors that could qualify you for VA loans:
- Served from November 1, 1955 (Vietnam War Era).
- A service member or Veterans mobilized to perform full-time National Guard duty for not less than 90 cumulative days, including at least 30 days consecutive.
- A veteran, service member, or certain surviving spouse with VA-guaranteed home loans in areas that have been declared major disasters by the President and your residence has been substantially damaged. You are now eligible to be charged a first time use funding fee on a new VA-guaranteed loan rather than a subsequent use funding fee. The new VA-guaranteed loan must be for the repair or construction of the dwelling and closed within three years of the presidential declaration of the disaster.
If any of the above applies to you, you are eligible for a VA loan. To see if you meet the requirements, click here.
How They Work
If you are a potential VA loan candidate, know that the process of a VA loan is a bit different from conventional loans.
First, you will have to get prequalified. For this, you need to find a VA lender and receive an estimate on how much of a house you can afford.
Following, you will have to get preapproved. This is a very significant step in the loan process. Your lender will verify your information to give a final decision on your purchasing capabilities. You will be issued a preapproval letter which puts you in a more advantageous position when buying a home.
When you are ready to submit an offer, you will work with your agent to put in a competitive offer on the home.
Here is where the process deviates from a conventional loan as you’ll need to go through the VA appraisal and underwriting processes. The VA appraisal will assure that the home meets the VA’s minimum property requirements. In accordance, if the underwriters determine everything is favorable, you will be clear to close your loan.
Finally, you will close on your home loan. Your lender will guide you through the paperwork and documents needed to complete.
VA loans are a powerful option for qualifying homebuyers. It is important to know that the loan only qualifies for certain homes and primary residencies only. They have no down payment requirement, but they do come with a fee that assures the program is continued. If you are looking for a VA loan, contact a team member today!