VA Loans


What is a VA Loan?

A VA home loan (also known as a Department of Veterans Affairs home loan) is one of the most useful military benefits. If you qualify, you can buy or build a home, or refinance an existing home mortgage, with as little as $0 down, great rates and financing with no mandated cap. Another benefit over traditional mortgages is that there is no PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance, the monthly insurance fee charged to protect the bank until you reach at least 20% equity).

For most service members and veterans who qualify, a VA loan is one of their most valuable benefits and a no-brainer over other, traditional mortgage types. This section offers an in-depth explanation of the VA loan process and instructions on how to submit an application.

A VA loan makes home-buying more affordable for millions of veterans and active service members.

Get the keys to your new home with a VA home loan

VA Home Loan Basics

While VA Loans are issued by private lenders they are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is why they can be offered oftentimes with little to no down payment and no PMI. Since 1944, the VA has helped over 25 million military men and women purchase homes using the VA loan mortgage program, according to VA statistics.

VA Loan Eligibility

Are you eligible to use a VA loan? If you have served on active duty for at least 90 days or met a variety of other service benchmarks created for Guard and Reserve members, the answer is likely “yes.”

VA Loan Qualifications

  • Completed at least 90 days of active duty service.
  • Have at least 6 years of service either in the Reserves or National Guard.
  • Served at least 181 days of active service during peacetime.
  • Have 90 cumulative days of active service under Title 10 or Title 32. For Title 32 service, at least 30 of those days must have been consecutive.
  • You're the spouse of a military service member who either died in the line of duty, or as a result of a service-related disability.

Read more about VA loan eligibility.

VA Loan Process

Like any mortgage process, obtaining a VA home loan has a variety of important steps you must work through before you can get the keys to your dream home. Since the VA home loan is only the type of loan not who the loan is sourced from, the very first thing you need to do is find a VA home loan lender and get a no-obligation rate quote.

Learn more about the VA loan process.

VA Home Loan vs. Conventional Home Loans

VA loans are some of the only loans remaining that offer no down payment. With conventional loans, the buyer is required to provide up to 20% down, which can often make it too difficult to purchase the right type of home for your family. Since with a VA home loan there's no private mortgage insurance, this can save hundreds of dollars a month over conventional loans, depending on how much you borrow. Because the VA loan is backed by the government, the rates are often much better than a conventional loan, which will save you a considerable amount of money over the life of your home loan. Lastly, the VA home loan has a more lenient lending policy, allowing you to qualify for a VA loan when you might not meet all the requirements for a traditional loan.

Types of VA Loans

The VA offers a variety of loan program options, including purchase and refinance mortgages, rehab and renovation loans and energy efficiency mortgages. Here’s an overview of the VA loan options.

  • VA Purchase Loan Allows qualified service members to buy a home with no minimum down payment.
  • VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) Replaces current VA mortgage with a VA loan to lower interest rate or to refinance from an adjustable to a fixed rate.
  • VA Cash-Out Refinance Replaces VA or conventional mortgage with a VA loan. An option to turn home equity to cash.
  • VA Energy Efficient Mortgage Finances energy efficiency home improvements.
  • VA Rehab and Renovation Loan Finances the cost of home improvements.

VA Loan Funding Fee and Others Costs

Nearly every VA loan comes with a VA Funding Fee. This fee goes directly to the Department of Veterans Affairs and helps back the VA loans of the future. Not everyone has to pay the fee, such as military men and women with a service-related disability. Fees range from a little over 2% for first-time VA loan recipients, to 3.3% for repeat home buyers. The good news is you can roll this fee into your loan amount.

In addition, closing costs are less, and often the seller can pay these costs, too.

Learn more about VA home loan costs.

VA Loan Limits

In the past, the VA capped the amount of money available for a VA home loan. But as of 2020, the VA no longer mandates loan limits. That means you can buy the home you need through your VA home loan benefit.

How Much Can I Qualify for on a VA Home Loan?

The amount you can qualify for varies depending on a number of factors. One of the biggest factors is your debt ratio. It helps to determine the amount you can afford to pay each month. Here's the scoop on how to calculate what you qualify for with a VA loan.

Take the Next Step

If you're ready to move forward, or just want more information, the first step is simple: answer a few easy questions and you'll be on your way to connecting with a VA Mortgage Expert.

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