VA Loan Requirements
A mortgage that is insured by the Veterans Administration (VA) offers a low down payment and other special benefits for active military, veterans and eligible surviving spouses. There are many reasons to choose a VA loan.
To obtain a VA loan, the home that you are buying or refinancing must be for your own personal occupancy. Before you can enjoy the benefits of a VA mortgage you must meet certain VA loan requirements, including:
- Suitable credit
- Sufficient income
- Eligibility as evidenced by a Certificate of Eligibility
If you meet these requirements, you may be able to obtain a VA mortgage with little or no down payment. You may have to pay a VA funding fee, but even if you do, you may be able to roll the cost of the funding fee into the loan.
VA Loan Eligibility
Before you can obtain a VA loan, you need to determine your VA loan eligibility. If you meet one of the requirements below, you may you may be eligible for a VA loan:
- Currently on active duty for 90 continuous days in the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Airforce or U.S. Marine Corps
- A veteran of the Army, Navy, Airforce or Marines with a discharge other than dishonorable and a minimum number of days of continuous service (90 days in war time, 181 days in peacetime)
- Six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard
- You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability; other exceptions may apply
For details and exceptions, visit the VA loan eligibility web page.
To prove your VA loan eligibility you will need to provide evidence of your military service in order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
The evidence you need depends on the nature of your eligibility.
You may apply for your COE online from the VA. If you want to apply by mail, you will need to download and complete VA Form 26-1880, Request for Certificate of Eligibility. Surviving Spouses will need a different form, VA form 26-1817), a Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility Unmarried Surviving Spouses.
Many veterans, active military and surviving spouses find it easier to ask a VA-approved lender for help in obtaining a COE. Freedom Mortgage has been a VA-approved lender for more than 25 years and has assisted thousands of borrowers with the COE process. Contact Freedom Mortgage if you would like assistance in obtaining a COE.
VA Loan Limits
If you would like to enjoy the benefits of a VA loan, it is important to find out about VA loan limits. These limits dictate the amount of money an eligible veteran, active military or surviving spouse can borrow without making a down payment.
There are two aspects to VA loan limits:
- The basic entitlement available to each eligible Veteran; depending on your income, credit and other factors, lenders may loan you several times that amount or more
- Loan limits that vary by county; the VA's 2016 Loan Limits are the same as the Federal Housing Finance Agency's limits.
In some cases, you can go over the loan limit depending on your loan-to-value (LTV) and entitlement status. For more information, contact a VA-approved lender.
How to Get a VA Loan
The VA does not offer home loans. However, it does insure home loans that are underwritten according to specific guidelines.
If you want to know how to get a VA loan, you must contact a VA-approved lender. Your lender will ask you to provide financial documents including pay stubs, tax returns and bank statements, and also ask your permission to run a credit check.
So in many respects, getting a VA loan is similar to getting any other type of mortgage, except you must provide a Certificate of Eligibility and choose a VA-approved lender.
Freedom Mortgage has more than 25 years of experience in VA lending. For more information about obtaining a VA loan and VA loan requirements, contact Freedom Mortgage today.