Mortgages through the Veterans Administration (VA)

Personal Finance
Mortgages through the Veterans Administration (VA)

There are several items that separate all VA mortgages from the usual conventional loan suspects. VA loans truly are a 100 percent, no money down financing loan program. VA mortgages are government insured, ergo, interest rates, terms and conditions and requirements must follow VA underwriting guidelines.

Qualifying for a VA Loan

The first item on the agenda is to see if you qualify and meet all the VA mortgages requirements. It’s a simple process. Any approved VA mortgages lender can assist you however, before you get that involved, you can verify your qualifying status yourself. You must have served at least 90 days active duty and still be on active duty, or served on active duty at least 181 days, or served six years in a state National Guard program or in the Reserves in any branch of the service or be the surviving spouse of a service member who died while in service.

If you’re still on board the VA mortgages requirements train, there is one more item required which is the first thing any VA lender will ask for: Your Certificate of Eligibility. The quickest path to that certificate is selecting an approved VA mortgages lender you can work with by searching on the internet for one who has access to an internet system call ACE. Armed with your military information, it should be an easy and quick process. If you would rather apply for the certificate yourself, contact your nearest VA office and request a Certificate of Eligibility for VA home loan benefits. The government form is called VA Form 26-1880. Actually, you can download all the initial required paperwork off the internet, and once completed, mail or hand-deliver to any VA office. Oh, don’t forget to include proof of your military status, as well. A DD-214 which is a certificate of release or discharge from active military duty works.


Like most mortgage loans, there will always be some advantages and disadvantages. VA mortgages requirements are no different. One distinct advantage is not having to have a high FICO credit score rating, you have marginal credit history, or the fact you may have suffered a recent bankruptcy more than two years ago. VA mortgages rates and guidelines are determined more on a “common sense” basis by knowledgeable VA lender underwriters. They scan past patterns of VA borrowers credit repayment history and willingness to pay debts, not judge the VA applicant on one or two isolated errors in judgment. It’s called “common sense and compensating factors,” underwriting.

In past years, one of the most frowned upon of all VA mortgages requirements was PMI or private mortgage insurance. What you may not know is you don’t have to pay the extra cost of PMI if there was less than 20 percent put down on the home. Here’s the difference. The old requirement said pay the PMI no matter what. Today, if you cannot afford to put 20 percent down, a VA lender cannot make you pay it. Current VA mortgages rates are at a low single digit number. If you plan on keeping tabs on VA mortgages rates in the coming months, using a mortgage calculator to figure your monthly principal, interest, taxes and insurance is a good thing. You can get introduced to a free VA mortgages rates calculator just using your computer. Now, for the best news. VA loan limits are at $417,000, even higher in high cost areas. Also, once you use your VA loan entitlement, sell your home or pay it off, you can use that VA entitlement again to buy another home as long as you intend to occupy the property.


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