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VA Loan FAQ

What is a VA loan?

With a VA-backed home loan, the VA guarantees (or stands behind) a portion of the loan you get from a private lender. If your VA-backed home loan goes into foreclosure, the guaranty allows the lender to recover some or all of their losses. Since there’s less risk for the lender, they’re more likely to give you the loan under better terms. In fact, nearly 90% of all VA-backed home loans are made without a down payment. Lenders follow VA standards when making VA-backed home loans. They may also require you to meet additional standards before giving you a loan. These standards may include having a high enough credit score or getting an updated home appraisal (an expert’s estimate of the value of your home).

I already used my VA loan benefit on a previous home purchase, that means I'm not eligible for a second one right?

You can use your VA loan benefit as many times as you like as long as you maintain your eligibility. You earned it. Use it.

How much cash do I need to put down on a VA loan property?

In the majority of cases 0%. This is one of the few no money down loans currently available.

What are the benefits of a VA loan?

With the VA guaranteeing the loan in case of foreclosure, the banks have much more of a warm and fuzzy with their risk in the loan. Because of this, the bank often gives out very favorable interest rates. The bank will also not require you to take out Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) mortgage on the property, thus lowering the cost to you. Also, all VA loans are assumable. This means when you eventually try to sell the property, the new buyer may have an incentive to take advantage of the favorable interest rate.

Are there service requirements for a VA loan?

Yes there are. This list is too long to post here so you can find the full list of service requirements on the VA's website here, but if you served since August 2nd, 1990 while on ACTIVE duty you need 24 months of continuous service OR 90 days in which you were called/ordered to active duty.

National Guard or Reserve needs 6 years of creditable service OR 90 days of continuous active service (does not include basic or school training).

Do I need an Honorable discharge to get a VA loan?

No. There are only 3 forms of discharge that can disqualify you: Other than Honorable, Bad conduct, and Dishonorable discharge. All other forms of discharge are permitted. 

I am/was a spouse of a veteran. Can I get a VA loan?

Maybe. You will be able to if one of the following is true. 1)The Veteran officially Missing in Action. 2) Is a prisoner of war. 3) The veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn't remarry. 4)The veteran died while in service or from a service-connected disability and you didn't remarry before you were 57 years old or before December 16, 2003. 5)The veteran had been totally disabled and then died, but whose disability may not have been the cause of death (in certain situations).

Do all lenders do VA loans?

Not all lenders do VA loans, and not all those that do fully understand how to navigate the VA landscape. Make sure you interview multiple lenders if possible. If you are not sure where to start, contact me and I will give you a list of local lenders that have ample experience and specialize in VA loans.

I previously had a VA loan and defaulted on it. Does that mean I can't get another VA loan?

Not necessarily. We would need to contact the VA to get specific details. You may just have to pay back a portion of the original loan to regain your certificate of eligibility.

What kind of credit score is needed for a VA loan?

That is up to the lender. Each lender has their own requirements so if you get denied at one, that does not mean another won't pick up your loan.

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