Understanding the VA Loan Process
Have you ever heard of a VA loan but weren’t sure how it all works? The VA loan process of buying a new home can be scary and stressful. After WW2 our government worked hard to put together some benefits for our heroes, and from that, the VA loan was born. VA loans are an incredible benefit for military families. Millions have taken advantage over the years. Some of the best benefits include lower payments, competitive interest rates, and relaxed credit requirements. VA loans are a great way for our active duty service members and veterans to live the American Dream they fight hard to protect.
What exactly are VA loans?
Our team at Military Home Spot Lending are experts on VA loans. We know they can be extremely confusing and have broken them down for you. Let’s start by defining what they are. VA loans are:
- Loans for eligible servicemen or women, veterans, and some military spouses
- Money given from an approved lender and guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Assistance
- Aimed at making home ownership a reality for military families through multiple benefits
- Loans where a portion of the principal is guaranteed by the government (up to 25%)
- An amazing benefit reserved exclusively for military families
Why do people use VA loans?
Cheyne is an active duty member who was making a move to a new base across the country. He was spending hours researching houses and lenders and was getting nervous about picking the perfect home for his wife and newborn baby girl. He knew buying a new home can be stressful, but the idea of doing so from across the nation was daunting. Cheyne reached out to Military Home Spot Lending and immediately hit it off with Kevin.
“Working with Kevin was the absolute best decision I made during the entire home buying process. He picked up the phone when I called. He responded promptly and got me the very best rate.” Cheyne and his family were able to move into the perfect home big enough to fit their growing family. Thanks to his bravery and service, Cheyne got the best rate with the VA loan and was able to buy his dream house close to the best schools in the county.
Helping military men and women settle into homes quicker and easier is why the VA loan is so successful. Considered to be the best mortgage option available to those who are eligible, VA loans are easier to qualify for and offer competitive interest rates. VA loans are an amazing benefit for military families. They’re exclusively reserved to those who bravely served our country and select military spouses.
The team at Military Home Spot Lending are experts on VA loans. They are truly dedicated to helping veterans and military families live the American dream they’re fighting hard to protect.
What are the specific benefits of using a VA loan?
Millions of military men and women have taken advantage of the VA loan when buying a home. From lower overall payments to a streamlined process, the benefits offered exclusively for our military families are unparalleled. Let’s dive in to the top four benefits below.
One of the best perks to VA loans is that there is no PMI (private mortgage insurance). With the government guaranteeing up to 25% of the loan, PMI is waived giving buyers a much lower monthly payment. In addition, closing costs are often considerably lower than other types of mortgages.
No down payment
People spend years building their savings so they can make a hefty down payment on their dream home. VA loans are one of the only home loans available with no down payment requirement. This makes it so military families have significantly lower costs associated with buying their home. Without a massive down payment, these loans make it possible to get into your dream house quicker.
Easier to qualify
Another big headache in the homebuying process is qualifying for the home you want. VA loans often have much lower credit score minimums making it easier to buy the home of your dreams. With relaxed credit requirements, millions have home ownership opportunities they might have otherwise not qualified for with conventional financing.
First-time buyer perks
First-time buyers often feel extremely overwhelmed when buying their first home. With the VA loan, the process of homebuying is more convenient and affordable making it accessible for first-time buyers. The perks are unmatched in the world of mortgage loans and this takes out a lot of the stress first-time buyers feel.
Who is eligible?
Now that you know all about VA loans and why they’re an incredible benefit, let’s see if you’re eligible. There are a few misconceptions about who is eligible for the loan that might make qualified men and women miss out on this incredible benefit. The VA loan is strong and was made to streamline the homebuying process for military families. We spelled out who is eligible and able to take advantage of the VA loan below.
Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guards
- If you served between September 15, 1940-present day
- If you're active duty and have served
- At least 90 consecutive days during wartime
- At least 180 consecutive days during peacetime
- Veterans who served 24 months consecutively and were honorably discharged.
- Veterans who were discharged prior to 24 months due to service-related injuries are also eligible.
Members of the Reserves and National Guard
- If you met requirements during those years
- If you have completed 6 years of honorable service
- Who were mobilized for active duty service for at least 90 consecutive days
- If you've been discharged due to a service-related injury
- If you met requirements during those years
Surviving Military Spouses
- If you’re an unremarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability
- If you’re a spouse of a military member who is a POW (prisoner of war) or MIA (missing in action)
What properties qualify?
Whether you’re looking for a beautiful single-family home with a white picket fence or a condo with great views and amenities, the VA loan can help get you there. The rule of thumb for properties to qualify for the loan is what’s known as the 3 ‘S’ rule. A home must be safe, sound, and sanitary. This is meant to protect military families in their property investments. These properties are the main ones that qualify for a VA loan:
- Single-family homes
- Condos / townhomes (may have to get VA approval)
- Multi-family homes
- Homes to be built from the ground up (certain restrictions/ approval may apply)
What are my next steps?
If you are looking to learn more about the process for obtaining a VA loan, take our VA Home Loan Seminar. Our team of experts have put these tutorials and quizes together with everything you need to know. It’s online, interactive, easy to use, and gives you the tools to make an educated decision. VA loans can be confusing, and our free seminar is a great tool to make you feel confident in your homebuying journey.
You will learn about the process in more detail when you participate in our VA Home Loan Seminar, but here are the 7 steps involved in the VA Home Loan Process:
- Obtain a certificate of eligibility (COE)
- Apply directly with the Department of Veterans Affairs
- Get a pre-approval for a mortgage
- Find a home and sign a purchase contract
- Give your COE to the lender when you apply for a mortgage
- Get a home appraisal
- Receive underwriting approval
- Get your keys (welcome home!)
You are on your way to becoming an expert in the VA loan process. Now take the time to understand your credit and cash on hand. Do your due diligence, and work with a lender and realtor who understands the VA loan process. Take advantage of the benefit you worked hard to earn. This is the biggest purchase of your life, it’s important to make the best decision for you and your family. Thank you for your service!
For more information on the VA loan process click here.