VA Loans for Reservists and National Guard Members

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A member of the Tennessee Army National Guard smiles.
U.S. Army Spc. Jeremy Rawls, a Soldier with the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Troop E, celebrates his re-enlistment. (National Guard/Sarah Kirby)

A VA loan is an incredible benefit for veterans or active duty service members. Unfortunately, many people who are eligible to receive this benefit aren’t aware they qualify, and most of those who aren’t aware are found in the Reserve and National Guard.

Reservists and National Guard members are entitled to the same VA loan benefits as those in regular military service, with slight exception. It’s important to help these servicemen and women understand their eligibility requirements so that they too can take advantage of the benefits a VA mortgage has to offer.

In a nutshell, a VA loan is a mortgage issued by approved lenders that’s guaranteed by the federal government. It allows eligible service members and veterans to either refinance up to 100% of their home or buy a new home with no money down.

Members of the National Guard or Reserve may qualify for a VA loan if they meet one of the following qualifications:

  • Served six years in selected reserve and were either
    • honorably discharged
    • retired
    • transferred to Standby Reserve, or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve, after honorable service
  • Served in the Selected Reserve for more than six years
  • Served in active duty for more than 90 days, this can either be Title 10 or Title 32 service
  • Discharged or released from active duty for a service-related disability

Once eligibility is determined, the Reservist or National Guard member must obtain their Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The COE can be obtained through their mortgage lender as long as they have proper proof of service. If necessary, VA Form 26-1880 can be submitted to the Atlanta Regional Loan Center online or by mail.

The main difference for Reservists and National Guard members seeking a VA loan can be found in the funding fee, or the cost associated with obtaining a VA loan that helps ensure that the loan continues to require no down payment and no monthly mortgage insurance.

Down Payment First Time Use Subsequent Use
Less than 5%

2.3%

3.6%
5% or more (up to 10%)

1.65%

1.65%

10% or more 1.4% 1.4%

 

First Time Use Subsequent Use
2.3% 3.6%

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