VA home loan FAQ

As posted in our featured article, here is a list of VA home loan frequently asked questions. If you are thinking about purchasing using your VA home loan, contact one of our agents to get in touch with a VA approved lender! 979-297-6000

Who is eligible to use a VA home loan?
-Active duty (at least 90 continuous days in the service)

-Retired veterans

-Honorably discharged veterans

-National Guard and Reserves are eligible with 6 years of service of inactive duty, and within 9 months of active duty.

-Surviving spouses of veterans who died while in service from a service-related injury and have not remarried (with some exceptions), spouses of soldiers missing in action or is a prisoner of war.

A full list of requirements can be found here: https://www.va.gov/housing-assistance/home-loans/eligibility/

 

How do VA loans differ from a conventional loan?

With a VA loan, an eligible participant can get into a home with no down payment. While the VA looks for a credit score of 620 or above and steady history of employment, there are less stringent underwriting requirements than with most conventional loans.

VA loan buyers are also NOT ALLOWED to pay for certain closing costs that one would normally incur with a conventional loan, nor are they allowed to pay for the termite inspection.

Interest rates are typically more competitive with a VA loan. There is also no Private Mortgage Insurance (an insurance that is usually rolled into mortgage payments for buyers with less than a 20% down payment), which results in a lower mortgage payment for the VA buyer.

The VA will not guarantee a loan for a property that is not in move-in condition. The home must meet VA safety and structural standards. Any major deficiencies must be cured prior to closing, and the VA appraiser will have to revisit the property to ensure that repairs were made before closing.

 

Can I use my VA loan more than once?

Yes, you can use your VA loan to purchase subsequent properties and also to refinance your current mortgage. Depending on how much entitlement you used with your first VA purchase and your debt-to-income ratio, you could even qualify to use second-tier entitlement to purchase a subsequent property while still paying off the first one. But, in most cases, you will need to sell or pay off the property purchased with the original VA loan before purchasing with the next one.

*To restore your VA home loan entitlement for a subsequent purchase, fill out form VA Form 26-1880 to find out what you’re eligible to receive.

 

What do I need to get started when purchasing with a VA loan?

You will need a DD-214 or a Statement of Service (for active duty) and a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). If you don’t have your COE, a VA lender will be able to get this information for you granted you provide the information they need. This certificate will let the lender know exactly what you eligible to receive under the VA. Contact a VA lender to get preapproval. Once you have been preapproved, get with one of our Realtors to start searching for properties!

 

Can I use my VA loan to purchase an investment property?

You must use your VA loan to purchase a property that will also be used as your primary residence. You can use your VA loan to purchase a one to four family residence. So, if a VA buyer were to purchase a four-family residence, as long as they reside in at least one of the units, they can lease-out the other 3 units. Some veterans may be approved to use their second-tier entitlement to purchase their second VA home, while renting out the first home purchased with their VA entitlement.

 

Can I use my VA loan to purchase commercial property?

No, VA loans may only be used to purchase primary residences.

 

What is the VA funding fee?

The VA funding fee is a fee paid by the buyer at closing. This fee helps to lower the cost of the loan for U.S. taxpayers since the VA home loan program doesn’t require down payments or monthly mortgage insurance. The fee is typically 2.3% for first-time use of VA loan and 3.6% for subsequent use.

Veterans with a disability of 10% or higher from a service-related injury do not pay the VA funding fee. Purple Heart recipients will pay zero loan fees. Your COE will tell the lender if you are exempt from paying the VA funding fee.

If you have more questions regarding your VA loan, contact our agent, Shiloh Carlson at 979-341-3492

About The Author

Shiloh Carlson is a Realtor serving the Greater Houston area (specializing in Brazoria County). She is a member in good standing of the National, Texas, and Houston Associations of Realtors. A native Texan who, after living throughout the U.S., including Alaska, is happy to be back living in her home state. She’s a proud mother of 3, self-taught web-developer, and steadfast entrepreneur. Whether you are looking to buy or sell, she provides exceptional attention for all her clients.