If you’re active in the U.S. military, a veteran, or the surviving spouse, you have the opportunity and added benefit of purchasing a home or refinancing an existing mortgage through the VA Home Loan Program.
It’s not uncommon for elderly veterans to be unaware of the benefits available to them. And, of those who are aware of VA loans, some incorrectly believe that a veteran is only allowed to take a single loan through the program once in their lifetime.
This is not the case — in fact it is the opposite. There is a VA loan lifetime benefit for qualified service members, as long as the veteran has a valid COE with sufficient entitlement, they are eligible for a loan.
VA Loan Lifetime Benefit
There is no limit to the amount of times qualified veterans, active duty personnel, or reservists can take advantage of the VA Home Loan program. Your VA eligibility entitles you to purchase a primary home or refinance an existing mortgage as many times as you like.
Certificate of Eligibility
Your eligibility for a VA home loan is based on your military service, or the service of your spouse.
Wartime: You must have served at least 90 days of active duty and been discharged under a condition other than a dishonorable discharge. If you served less than 90 days, but you were discharged due to a service-related disability, you may still be eligible.
Peacetime: To be eligible you will have had to serve a minimum of 181 days of continuous active duty and discharged under any condition other than dishonorable discharge. As above, if you are discharged prior to 181 days you may still be eligible if you have a service-related disability.
Some additional eligibility restrictions apply for enlisted personnel and officers who served after September 1980, Gulf War vets, active duty personnel, and selected reserves or National Guard. Surviving spouses who had a partner die while in service or went missing in action are no longer eligible if they’ve remarried.
Your Embrace Loan Officer is experienced with the VA Loan process and its requirements and will obtain your VA Certificate of Eligibility from the VA using a copy of your DD-214.
VA Loan Benefits
The VA Loan Program offers a number of benefits which make it faster and easier to obtain a mortgage.
- No maximum loan amount
- No down payment
- No mortgage insurance
- Only up to one point in origination fees
- One-time funding fee. There is a one time “funding” fee which is intended to reduce the loan’s cost to the taxpayer. This fee may be rolled into the loan itself. Vets with a service-related disability, vets who would be entitled to said compensation for service-related disability, and surviving spouses of vets who died from a service-related disability are not required to pay this fee.
- The lender determines interest rate, discount points, and closing costs. These costs will vary by lender
- Cost for appraisal, credit report, state and local taxes, and recording fees may be paid by the borrower, the seller or shared by both
- The seller may assist by paying some closing costs
- The vet buyer is not responsible for paying commissions, brokerage, or buyer broker fees
- In most cases, a vet refinancing using an Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan (IRRRL), pays no appraisal or income verification fees
- Refinancing a non-owner occupied home is allowed when it’s an IRRRL
While the devil is always in the details, applying for a VA loan should be no more complicated and take no longer to process than any other home loan. If for any reason at all you’re not satisfied with the lender you’ve chosen for your VA loan, you may switch lenders and transfer the VA real estate appraisal results.
The VA Home Loan program is guaranteed by the U.S. government and designed to reward and recompense those who have served this country. The VA loan lifetime benefit is one you have earned and one you may utilize as many times as needed.