While no one has ever said buying a home is a simple process, wouldn’t it be nice to reach out and press the “easy” button when it comes time to qualify for your mortgage. If you’re an active member of the military - or a veteran - qualifying for a VA home loan might be the next best thing.
No down payment and no mortgage insurance
Created to help more veterans buy their first homes at an affordable cost, the VA loan packs a lot of bang for the buck. From its flexible and generous lending requirements to its low interest rates and closing costs, VA loans are one of the most popular choices among first-time homebuyers with a military background. Perhaps the biggest advantages to a VA loan are the 100 percent financing (no down payment necessary) and no mortgage insurance requirement. Both of these benefits can save you big bucks now and hundreds of dollars over the life of the loan.
VA loans are a benefit to qualified veterans and active military service personnel – including Coast Guard and National Guard members.
You’re probably eligible if one of these is true:
- You served 90 days of active duty during wartime
- You served 181 days of active duty during peacetime
- You served six years in the Reserves or National Guard
- 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.
What documentation do I need?
- DD214 – Discharge Certificate
- Certificate of Eligibility – At Amerifirst, we can quickly order this for you online through the VA’s automated database.
Once you have your certificate of eligibility or COE, you can apply for a VA home loan.
What kind of house can I buy?
You can buy, build or renovate a home or refinance your current home loan. The property must be your primary residence and includes single-family homes, condos, modular housing, and some multi-unit properties (provided you live in one of the units). In most parts of the country, you can purchase a home worth up to $548,250 (for 2021); areas with higher-value properties have higher limits.
You cannot buy a vacation or investment property with a VA loan.
How does a VA-backed home loan work?
VA home loans are issued by private lenders such as Amerifirst Home Mortgage and are guaranteed against default by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in case the borrower is unable to make monthly payments. This guarantee enables lenders to offer VA loans with exceptionally attractive terms to borrowers.
Do I need to pay private mortgage insurance?
Most people who buy a home and put less than 20% down have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), which protects lenders from the risk that you’ll default on the loan. With a VA loan, however, mortgage insurance is not required. You’ll still need to pay a one-time VA Funding Fee, a charge that helps defray the costs of the program and make it sustainable for the future. This amount varies, depending on the amount of the down payment and military category. This fee can be rolled into the loan amount and waived entirely for those with service-connected disabilities.
Can I use my VA loan benefits more than once?
Yes, you can use your full VA entitlement over and over again as long as you pay off the loan each time.
I filed bankruptcy several years ago. Am I still eligible?
Service members with a history of bankruptcy or foreclosure can still secure a VA loan.
Benefits at a Glance
- No down payment required – 100% financing
- Flexible credit and qualifying guidelines – you don’t need to have perfect credit to qualify
- Lower interest rates – typically well below most conventional loan options
- No monthly mortgage insurance
- Finance the funding fee – ability to roll the funding fee into your loan
- Seller can pay up to 4% closing costs
- Gift money can be used for closing costs and pre-paid items
- No pre-payment penalty - sell or refinance anytime without paying a penalty
- 100% cash out refinance, including the funding fee: Use your home’s value and pull cash out to pay off debt, make repairs to your home, remodel or spend otherwise.
Ready to learn more? One of our friendly loan officers will be happy to sit down with you and explain your options. Find a branch near you:
*Not all borrowers will qualify; contact us for more information on fees and terms.