What is the VA Home Loan Program?
The VA Home Loan program, also known as the VA Loan, is one of the most important benefits our military veterans have. It is only available for military veterans (or certain eligible surviving spouses) and is guaranteed by the U.S. government. What does it mean exactly, to have the VA Home Loan Program? In a nutshell, in 1944 the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Veterans Administration) created a home loan program for our veterans to have a fair shot at owning a piece of American soil without requiring any down payment. This amazing home loan program is guaranteed and insured by the federal government through the Department of Veterans Affairs. It offers competitive interest rates and doesn’t require private mortgage insurance, allowing you to save money on your monthly mortgage payment It is hands down the most powerful government-approved home buying program available and is reserved exclusively for our nation’s veterans.
Who Is Eligible for the VA Home Loan Program?
To be eligible for the VA Home Loan program, you must be a United States military veteran and meet certain eligibility requirements. Now you might be thinking, Who is eligible, What are those eligibility requirements, and Am I eligible? According to the VA, to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan program, you must have satisfactory credit, sufficient income and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE). How do you get your hands on that COE? Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple, and you can apply online through the eBenefits portal, by snail mail, or probably the quickest and easiest way through your Aligned Mortgage loan officer.
What Happens After Getting the COE?
In order to qualify and get your COE, you’ll need to prove you’ve spent time in the armed forces or done a minimum of 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves. A surviving (un-remarried) spouse of an eligible veteran that has passed away while in service or from a service-connected disability is also qualified, as well as a spouse of a servicemember prisoner of war (POW), or servicemember missing in action (MIA).
The basic eligibility requirements for active duty veterans are 90 days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime. For our National Guard and Reserve members, there are quite a few different scenarios but basically, you will need to meet one of the following conditions:
- Serve six years in the Selected Reserve, plus
- have an honorable discharge, or
- be placed on the retired list, or
- transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable, or
- continue to serve in the Selected Reserve
- Serve on active duty for 90 days or more during a period of wartime
- under Title 10 or full-time duty under Title 32
- Discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability
There are other eligible beneficiaries as well if you happen to fall into certain alternative categories. If you’d like to find out more about who is eligible, contact one of our Aligned Mortgage loan officers and they can help you understand the requirements.
Once you have confirmed your Certificate of Eligibility, next you’ll need to be credit and income qualified. Although the VA doesn’t have any set restrictions, VA-approved lenders, such as Aligned Mortgage, have minimum credit score requirements. Currently, our minimum credit score is 580 for loans within the county loan limit, and any loan in excess of that amount would need a higher score of 600 or more. Factors other than the credit scores and additional qualifying requirements are also taken into consideration when providing loan approval.
Who Can Apply for the VA Loan Home Loan Program?
The VA Home Loan program is available for single veterans applying by themselves, a veteran and their spouse, or a veteran with another veteran. Borrower(s) must intend to occupy the property as their primary residence for one year. In the case of a veteran wanting to use the benefit with a non-veteran (not married), a down payment would be required and the veteran must intend to occupy the property for one year.
Would you like to learn more about your VA Home Loan Program?
Aligned Mortgage offers a FREE VA Home Loan Buying Seminar every month, explaining the power of the benefit. Come join Hawaii’s #1 VA Lender and learn how to use your BAH to build your legacy. Contact us today at 808.677.5626 or register now for an upcoming seminar.