Who Can Qualify for a VA Loan?

Veterans and qualified active-duty personnel can apply for a VA loan. Find out if you qualify and how to apply for a VA loan.

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Introduction

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) home loan program helps service members, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. Since its inception in 1944, the VA loan program has helped more than 20 million Veterans and their families purchase or refinance a home.

VA-backed loans are available for qualified Veterans, service members, and survivors with certain types of discharge. These benefits, which aren’t available with a conventional loan, help make buying a home more affordable for Veterans and their families. If you’re interested in learning more about how to qualify for a VA loan, read on to find out more about the program’s eligibility requirements.

What is a VA Loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The loan program is available to eligible veterans, active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard members, and certain surviving spouses. VA loans are available through private lenders and are not backed by the government.

The VA loan program was created in 1944 to help returning service members purchase homes. The VA guarantees a portion of the loan, which protects the lender against loss if the borrower defaults on the loan. This guarantee allows lenders to provide financing to borrowers who might not otherwise qualify for a conventional mortgage.

VA loans are available for both purchase and refinance transactions. Borrowers can use VA loans to finance up to 100% of the purchase price of a home. In some cases, borrowers may also be able to finance the funding fee and other closing costs.

Who is Eligible for a VA Loan?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) insures mortgage loans made by approved lenders to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home which they intend to occupy as a primary residence. The advantage of this program is that eligible veterans and service members may qualify for a loan with favorable terms, including no down payment requirements and no private mortgage insurance premiums.

To be eligible for a VA loan, you or your spouse must be:

-A veteran who has completed active duty service for at least 90 consecutive days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime;
-A reservist or national guard member who has completed six years of service;
-The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who died in service or from a service-related disability.

3.1 Service during wartime

In order to qualify for a VA home loan, you must have served in the military during wartime or during certain periods of peacetime. WWI eligible veterans must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day during wartime, and WWII and Korean War veterans must have served at least 181 days of active duty, with at least one day during wartime. For Vietnam War veterans, the service requirements are a bit different. If you served between 1965 and 1975, you must have served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day during wartime. If you served after 1975, you must have served at least 180 days of active duty, with at least one day during wartime.

3.2 Service during peacetime

To qualify for a VA loan, you must be a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces or the National Guard. You must have served for at least 90 days during wartime or 180 days during peacetime. If you were discharged due to a service-related disability, you may be eligible for a VA loan with less than 90 days of service.

3.3 Other eligibility requirements

In order to qualify for a VA loan, you or your spouse must meet the basic service requirements set forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and satisfy the lender’s credit and income standards.

You may be eligible for a VA loan if you are:
-A Veteran of the US Armed Forces
-A current member of the US Armed Forces
-The surviving spouse of a Veteran who died in service or as a result of a service-connected disability
Other eligibility requirements may apply in certain situations, such as if you are currently serving on active duty in what’s known as “hazardous duty” or have National Guard status.

How to Apply for a VA Loan

You’ve probably heard about the VA loan benefits available to qualifying military members, veterans and their spouses. But what exactly is a VA loan? How do you know if you qualify? And what is the application process like?

VA loans are home mortgages backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). With a VA loan, eligible service members and veterans can buy a home with as little as 0% down, and there is no monthly mortgage insurance premium.

To be eligible for a VA loan, you must be a veteran, active duty service member, National Guard or reservist who has completed at least 90 days of active service, or a surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or from a service-related disability. You can check your eligibility status on the VA website.

If you are eligible for a VA loan, the next step is to get pre-approved by a lender. The pre-approval process is similar to the approval process for any other type of mortgage loan. You will need to provide financial documentation such as pay stubs and tax returns in order to get pre-approved. Once you are pre-approved, you can start shopping for homes within your price range.

When you find a home that you want to make an offer on, your real estate agent will help you negotiate with the seller. Once your offer is accepted, it’s time to move on to the next step in the process: getting a VA appraisal.

A VA appraisal is conducted by a licensed appraiser and it establishes the fair market value of the home you are buying. The appraiser will also look for any health and safety concerns that need to be addressed before you can close on the home. Once the appraisal is complete, your lender will order a title search to make sure there are no outstanding liens or claims against the property.

Once all of these steps have been completed, you will work with your lender to finalize your loan and close on your new home!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a number of factors that go into determining whether or not you qualify for a VA loan. In general, however, most people who have served in the military or who are the spouse of a service member will be eligible. If you think you might qualify, it’s definitely worth checking into!

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