All About VA Loans

American flag outside of home.VA mortgages are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and made by private lenders. These loans are available to eligible active duty servicemen and woman, veterans, and surviving spouses (see details below). Borrowers can use VA loans to purchase or refinance owner-occupied properties with little to no money out of pocket. Not only do VA loans provide some very flexible guidelines, they also are some of the most competitively priced products on the market.

Who May Qualify for a VA Mortgage?*

  • Active duty personnel and vets with qualifying experience.
  • Members of the National Guard, Coast Guard, and qualified reservists.
  • VA home loans may also be available for honorably discharged personnel, public health service officers, and cadets & midshipmen in the Army, Navy, and Coast Guard academy.
  • Unmarried surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or who are MIA or POW as a result of service related activity may qualify. If a spouse gets remarried, they may no longer be eligible.
  • May also be obtained by current US citizens who served with our allies during World War II
  • Native American Direct Loan (NADL) program assists eligible Native American veterans in financing properties on Federal Land Trusts or lower the interest rate on a VA loan.
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VA mortgages offer some great benefits including:*

  • No down payment may be needed.
  • Zero cash reserves required in certain circumstances.
  • Less strict underwriting guidelines when compared to many conventional loan products.
  • Seller contributions and gift funds may be permitted.
  • No costly monthly mortgage insurance.
  • VA offers refinancing program for both rate and term and cash-out refinancing. VA interest rate reduction refinance loans (IRRRL) offer qualifying borrowers the chance to refinance without having to verify many of the qualification criteria from their original transaction. For example, with VA streamline refinancing, a borrower may not need to get an appraisal.

Eligible Properties and Purposes:*

  • 1-4 unit, owner occupied homes. Townhomess and condominiums may be permitted in approved VA projects.
  • Refinancing an existing mortgage including cash-out refinances, adjustable rate mortgage to fixed rate conversions, and rate reduction loans.
  • You cannot finance rental properties or second homes with VA mortgages to the best of our knowledge.

Some Additional VA Home Mortgage Guidelines:*

  • $700,000 standard VA home loan limit (exceptions maybe made for higher loan amounts).
  • Most VA home loans are assumable which may make them attractive to future buyers.
  • Minimal and less than perfect credit may be ok.
  • Security of 15 & 30 year fixed rate financing vehicles.
  • No prepayment penalties.
  • VA funding fee may be financed into the loan amount.
  • Can be used to making home renovations and improving energy efficiency.

How to Get Started?

Borrowers must get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) which can be obtained through eBenefits on the VA’s website. Borrowers will also want to work with a real estate professional to make sure that the purchase and sales agreement contains a “VA Option Clause”.

You can use the rate tables on this site to search for mortgage companies offering VA financing assistance. While rates for VA mortgages are not advertised, the majority of the lenders and brokers in the survey offer VA loan products. You’ll just need to reach out to the directly for pricing and program information.

* Please note that the guidelines and information on this page is subject to change and may be different from when this page was created. Please contact a VA approved lender for the latest guidelines.

Information on other low and no money down mortgage programs: