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VA Loans: A Cheat Sheet

03-10-2014About MortgagesEddie Knoell

A VA Loan is a federally guaranteed home mortgage loan, issued by private lenders, for returning U.S. service members. The program offers veterans and their families flexible home financing, providing benefits such as $0 money down and competitive interest rates.

Who is eligible to qualify for a VA Loan?

  • Veterans who have served 90 consecutive days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime

  • A service member who has more than 6 years of service with the National Guard or Reserves

  • The spouse of a service member who passed away in the line of duty or from a service-related injury or disability

Why use a VA Loan over other types of conventional home loans?

  • No down payment

  • No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

  • Low interest rates

  • No pre-payment penalty

What types of limits do VA Loans have?

VA Loan limits vary per state and country. VA Loans typically allow eligible buyers to purchase a home worth up to $417,000 with no money down. The VA places limits on closing costs and usually allows sellers to cover many or all of these costs.

Do VA Loans come with any fees?

VA Loans have a Funding Fee paid to the VA to allow future returning service members to buy a home with the services of the program. These can be combined with the overall loan amount.

What are the contractual guidelines for VA Loans?

While waiting to be approved for a VA Loan or home, avoid taking on new debt, job changes, if possible; changing banks, moving or spending large sums of money, missing other payments and maxing out a credit card or other debt.

What does the VA Loan process entail?

  • Pre-qualifying: allows you and your lender to see what type of loan you can afford and what the next steps need to be.

  • Pre-Approval: Obtaining pre-approval involves paperwork to be filled out and paperwork to be documented.

  • Finding and working with a real estate agent.

  • Making an offer: Before you make an offer on a home, make sure your real estate agent knows you are using a VA Loan and what that entails.

  • Closing the home: The VA insists that homes are move-in ready and any issues at the property are fixed before you can close.

A qualified VA home loan lender can help you figure out the process and what you need to be prepared for to obtain a VA loan.