Are you a veteran or active-duty service member looking to purchase a home? If so, you may want to consider a VA loan. VA loans are specifically designed to help veterans and service members become homeowners with less stress and hassle. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about purchasing a home with a VA loan.
What Is A VA Loan?
A VA loan is a mortgage loan offered by private lenders that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The loan is designed to help veterans, active-duty service members, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. VA loans offer many advantages over traditional mortgages, including lower interest rates, no down payment requirement, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement.
Who Is Eligible For A VA Loan?
To be eligible for a VA loan, you must meet one or more of the following requirements:
- You are an active-duty service member with at least 90 days of continuous service
- You are a veteran with at least 90 days of active service and an honorable discharge
- You are a surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability
How Do You Apply For A VA Loan?
The first step in applying for a VA loan is to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This document verifies that you are eligible for a VA loan. You can apply for a COE online, through your lender, or by mail.
Once you have your COE, you can begin shopping for a home and a lender. VA loans are offered by private lenders such as banks and mortgage companies, so you’ll need to find a lender that participates in the VA loan program. Your lender will guide you through the application process and help you gather the necessary documentation.
What Are The Benefits Of A VA Loan?
VA loans offer several benefits over traditional mortgages, including:
- No down payment requirement – you can finance 100% of the home’s purchase price
- No private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement – this can save you hundreds of dollars per month
- Lower interest rates – VA loans typically have lower interest rates than traditional mortgages
- Flexible credit requirements – VA loans are more forgiving of credit issues than traditional mortgages
- No prepayment penalty – you can pay off your loan early without incurring a penalty
What Are The Drawbacks Of A VA Loan?
While VA loans offer many benefits, they also have some drawbacks. These include:
- Funding fee – VA loans require a funding fee, which can be financed into the loan or paid upfront
- Property standards – VA loans require the home to meet certain property standards, which may limit your options
- Loan limits – VA loans have limits on how much you can borrow, which may not be enough for some high-cost areas
- Appraisal process – VA loans require an appraisal, which can slow down the closing process
What Are The Steps To Purchasing A Home With A VA Loan?
The steps to purchasing a home with a VA loan are similar to those of a traditional mortgage:
- Get pre-approved – this will give you an idea of how much you can afford to borrow and help you narrow down your home search
- Find a home – work with a real estate agent to find a home that meets your needs and fits your budget
- Make an offer – once you find a home you like, make an offer to the seller
- Get a home inspection – have the home inspected to make sure it’s in good condition
- Apply for the loan – work with your lender to complete the loan application process
- Close the loan – sign the paperwork and take possession of your new home
What Documents Do You Need To Apply For A VA Loan?
To apply for a VA loan, you’ll need to provide your lender with several documents, including:
- Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
- Proof of income – such as pay stubs, W-2s, and tax returns
- Bank statements – to show your assets and liabilities
- Employment history – to show your stability and ability to repay the loan
- Credit report – to show your creditworthiness
How Long Does It Take To Close A VA Loan?
The time it takes to close a VA loan can vary depending on several factors, such as the lender’s processing time, the appraisal process, and any issues that arise during underwriting. On average, it takes about 30 to 45 days to close a VA loan.
What Happens If You Can’t Make Your VA Loan Payments?
If you can’t make your VA loan payments, you should contact your lender as soon as possible. Your lender may be able to work with you to modify your loan or create a repayment plan. If you are unable to make your payments and your loan goes into default, the lender may foreclose on the home.
Purchasing a home with a VA loan can be a great option for veterans and service members. VA loans offer many benefits over traditional mortgages, including lower interest rates, no down payment requirement, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI) requirement. If you’re interested in purchasing a home with a VA loan, contact a lender today to get started.