Bank on It: VA Loans

VA loans, which are provided by private lenders and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, also known as VA, are available to certain veteran and active-duty service members and qualifying spouses (a complete list of eligible applicants is available on the VA Benefits website). In addition to meeting the lender’s credit history and debt-to-income requirements, you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility to verify qualifications for the loan.

Advantages:

  • With 100% financing, qualified Homebuyers won’t need money for a down payment, as long as the loan amount doesn’t exceed the appraised value
  • VA loans don’t require private mortgage insurance, which can result in thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the loan
  • The VA limits the amount of closing costs and fees lenders can charge, so you’ll save on upfront costs

Drawbacks:

  • While there’s no limit to how much you can borrow with a VA loan, there is a limit to how much the VA will guarantee, and some lenders won’t approve a loan above the guaranteed amount
  • Most borrowers must pay a funding fee, a percentage of the loan based on a number of qualifications, such as loan type and military category, that can be paid in cash at closing or incorporated into their monthly payment
  • VA loans are only available on the purchase of owner-occupied properties, meaning they’re off-limits for vacation homes or income-generating homes

If you’re still wondering what the best fit is for your financial situation and future plans, talking to a lender is a great next step. And, you can also look back on our articles explaining more about FHA loans and conventional loans to discover other financing options that may work for you!