It’s easy to think post-military life might be harder—and more expensive. Without government-paid housing, food allowances and other benefits to support you, how will you get by? Can you even qualify for a mortgage, let alone pay for one month after month?
Though it might surprise you, you’ll likely have an easier time getting—and paying for—a mortgage than most civilians do. Why? Because you qualify for a VA loan—a veteran home loan that comes with looser credit standards and some huge financial benefits up front and over the long run.
What’s a VA Loan?
A VA loan is a type of mortgage reserved just for military members, veterans, and their immediate family members. VA loans differ from traditional home loans in a number of ways, including:
- They don’t require a down payment. Considering some home loan programs require anywhere from 10 to 20 percent down, this can mean tens of thousands in savings from the very start.
- They don’t require private mortgage insurance. Traditional mortgage loans typically come with PMI, which adds extra costs onto the buyer’s monthly payment. Veteran home loans don’t have this added expense, saving you every month you’re in the home.
- There are no minimum credit score requirements. VA loans come with looser credit standards, meaning it’s OK if you have a less-than-stellar FICO score. VA lenders are typically more willing to look beyond your score at other qualifying factors.
- They come with low interest rates. In most cases, interest rates on VA loans are 0.5 or 1 percent lower than traditional loans. This saves you thousands in interest over the course of your loan.
- There are few closing costs. On VA loans, your closing costs and fees are capped, so you won’t spend an arm and a leg come closing day. In most loan programs, buyers can expect to pay $10,000 in closing costs or more.
Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?
If you served in the military, chances are you qualify for a veteran home loan. The exact stipulations are:
- 90 days of consecutive service during wartime
- 181 days during peacetime
- 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves
Spouses of service members who perished in the line of duty or because of a service-related illness or disability also qualify. If you’re interested in a VA military loan to purchase your first post-service home, contact Embrace Home Loans today.