VA home loans are a type of mortgage that is available to veterans. They offer special benefits to those who have served in the Armed Forces. These loans have been specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of these veterans. For example, they may be looking for a fixed rate. The interest rate will be lower than what you would find elsewhere. If you want to borrow a smaller amount that is not as expensive, the VA home loan is the right choice.
Veterans may qualify for this type of mortgage regardless of their age, but the requirements and qualifications for eligibility differ by type of home loan. The most common eligibility criteria are for active-duty service members. Over half of all veterans are eligible for these loans, which is a good thing since it encourages more veterans to pursue loan options. Most of the time, you can obtain the funds in two weeks or less.
VA home loans are available through both federal government agencies and private lenders. The federal government loans are sometimes referred to as the Federal Housing Administration loans. There are specific eligibility requirements that must be met for federal government loans, so the information should be reviewed carefully to ensure you meet the appropriate standards.
Private lenders will generally allow borrowers with past credit issues and/or bad credit to still obtain financing on VA loans. The only way to find out if you will qualify is to visit your local VA branch. Most private lenders will also require mortgage insurance coverage, which is also referred to as mortgage underwriting risk. This is a fee that is paid directly to the bank to cover the risks that are involved in lending to the military. Typically, this fee requires about $1000.
Another type of loan that military members may qualify for is a spouse assistance plan (SPAP). These loans are not considered part of the regular mortgage loan program. However, there is usually an additional 5% interest rate applied to the spouses’ portion of the monthly payment.
One last option is called the Multi-Agency Service Release (SASR), also known as a surplus stock option. Lenders sometimes provide this option to active duty members and retired or discharged military personnel who want a loan for a year or longer, instead of a conventional loan. Many of these loans are for amounts that are much larger than the value of the bond involved, but they do qualify for low-interest rates.
Veterans that have served in the Armed Forces are eligible to apply for these loans. This includes all members of the Selected Reserve, National Guard, and components of the U.S. Marine Corps. Also, it does not include the spouses of military members who became homeowners after separation. Because these are different types of loans and have different eligibility requirements, it may be helpful to have your current standings on your credit report to determine whether you will qualify.
Veterans that are active-duty military personnel have certain benefits available to them when they apply for this type of loan. These benefits include first-time homebuyer programs and low down payment mortgage rates. Veterans can use their tax refunds for the cost of these loans. Also, mortgage lenders often offer perks to active-duty military personnel that qualifies for loans. They may require a lower-income percentage from borrowers, lower credit scores, higher down payment amounts, or other incentives.
Veterans that have been awarded veterans benefits or are eligible to receive disability compensation should be aware that these loans require mortgage insurance. The VA home loan requires a decent to excellent credit rating to ensure that the lender offers competitive rates. Some mortgage insurance companies will decline borrowers if their credit is less than perfect. This is important to understand before beginning the application process.
Veterans should take a close look at their monthly mortgage payments and budget to determine if they can afford to pay the interest on the loan. This applies both to refinancing as well as to obtain a VA home loan. If you find that your current interest rate is high but you can pay more money each month, you may want to consider switching to a fixed mortgage payment. Most lenders will work with a veteran if they know their income and other financial information. As long as the lender has income information, a veteran may qualify for a VA refinance or loan.
The lender will still require insurance coverage with private mortgage insurance. Since the VA home loans are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, private mortgage insurance is mandatory for all loans. The only exception to this policy is interest-only loans. VA home loans require no private mortgage insurance. However, some lenders will require at least a 20 percent down payment.