What Are VA Home Loans?

Veteran Sitting on Bench

VA Home Loans are provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

These loans are available to Active Duty, Reserve, and Retired Service Members. The entitlement provided to the individual is determined by the Certificate of Eli

What VA Home Loans Can Be Used For:

  • Buy a home, either existing or pre-construction, as a primary residence
  • Refinance an existing loan

VA Guaranteed Home Loan Benefits:

  • Equal opportunity for all qualified Veterans to obtain a VA loan
  • Reusable
  • No down payment (unless required by the lender or the purchase price is more than the reasonable value of the property)
  • No mortgage insurance
  • One-time VA funding fee that can be included in the loan1
  • Veterans receiving VA disability compensation are exempt from the VA funding fee
  • VA limits certain closing costs a Veteran can pay
  • Can be assumed by qualified persons
  • Minimum property requirements to ensure the property is safe, sanitary, and sound
  • VA staff dedicated to assisting Veterans who become delinquent on their loan

Determining Who Is Eligible:

For the most part, the following people qualify:

  • Veterans who meet the length of service requirements
  • Servicemembers on active duty who have served a minimum period
  • Certain Reservists and National Guard members
  • Certain surviving spouses of deceased Veterans

Criteria For Key Underwriting:

  • No maximum debt ratio; however, lenders must provide compensating factors if the total debt ratio is over 41%
  • No maximum loan amount; however, VA does limit its guarantee; Veterans can borrow up to $417,000 without a down payment in most of the country. Find out the limit in any county.
  • Published residual income guidelines to ensure Veterans can repay their obligations while accounting for all living expenses
  • No minimum credit score requirement; instead, VA requires a lender to review the entire loan profile to make a lending decision
  • See the complete VA credit guidelines

Starting The Process:

VA provides policy, guidelines, and oversight of the program. Lenders provide financing for eligible Veterans. The guaranty allows Veterans to obtain a competitive loan without a down payment. Lenders need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove your entitlement. Most Veterans can get the COE online through eBenefits. Lenders also can request the COE on your behalf. VA encourages prospective buyers to talk to several lenders to find one that fits their needs, knows the VA loan program, and offers competitive rates and terms.


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