VA Loans - All You Need To Know
What is a VA loan anyways? VA stands for Veteran Affairs, and VA loans are designed for our veterans. They help both active duty military and veterans qualify for homeownership and are one of the most popular choices among eligible first-time homebuyers and eligible military personnel because of the exceptional terms they offer to military borrowers. A VA loan is a mortgage guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. They offer lower interest rates and better terms than conventional mortgages and are offered exclusively to service members and certain military spouses.
VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide veterans with more favorable terms.
Your length of service or service commitment, duty status and character of service determine your eligibility for specific home loan benefits. To get a VA loan, you need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The type of COE you need depends on your type of service: veteran, active duty service member, current or former National Guard, etc. To obtain your COE yourself, apply online through the VA benefits portal or by requesting via mail. Your lender can obtain your COE for you. The VA requires all VA-approved lenders to include a COE in their loan underwriting process, so the fastest way to get your COE is through a VA lender. They can usually obtain it for you within minutes through a lender-only portal provided to lenders by the VA. Programs that are offered are:
Purchase Loans and Cash-Out Refinance: VA-guaranteed loans are available for homes for your occupancy or a spouse and/or dependent (for active duty service members). To be eligible, you must have satisfactory credit, sufficient income to meet the expected monthly obligations, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL): The IRRRL is a "VA to VA" loan, meaning it can only be done if you have an existing VA guaranteed loan on the property. The IRRRL is generally performed to lower the interest and reduce the monthly payment on the existing VA guaranteed loan.
Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program: The NADL program helps Native American Veterans purchase, construct, improve, or re-finance a home on Native American trust lands. Your tribal organization must participate in the VA direct loan program. You must have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
Adapted Housing Grants: VA helps Veterans with certain total and permanent disabilities related to your military service obtain suitable housing with either a Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) or Special Housing Adaptation (SHA) grant.
VA loans provide access to special benefits:
No down payment required: The most attractive feature of VA loans is their zero percent down payment, so you can become a homeowner without having to save for a down payment.