In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Servicemen's Readjustment Act into law. This bill, which became known as the GI Bill, allows veterans to purchase homes with favorable terms and at interest rates which are competitive with the rates charged on other types of mortgage loans. For VA housing loan purposes, the term "veteran" includes certain members of the Selected Reserve, active duty personnel and certain categories of spouses.
The Application Process
The application process for VA home financing is the same used for FHA and conventional loans. The mortgage Lender will verify the applicant's income and assets and obtains a credit report to see that other obligations are being paid on time. If all information is accurately verified and the appraised value of the property is enough to cover the loan needed, the Lender, in most instances, can then close the loan under VA's automatic procedure.
Requirements for VA Loan Approval
To obtain a VA loan, the law requires that:
- The applicant must be an eligible veteran who has available entitlement
- The loan must be for an eligible purpose
- The veteran must occupy or intend to occupy the property as a home within a reasonable period of time after closing the loan
- The veteran must satisfy standard mortgage underwriting requirements which demonstrate credit worthiness
- The income of the veteran and spouse (if any) must be stable and sufficient to meet mortgage payments, cover the costs of owning a home, take care of other obligations and expenses and have enough remaining to support the household
One of our experienced mortgage Lenders will be able to discuss specific income and other qualifying requirements.
All qualified veterans have an equal opportunity to obtain a VA loan
- No down payment, unless required by the lender or the purchase price is more than the reasonable value of the property
- Buyer is informed of the reasonable value of the property
- Negotiable interest rate
- Ability to finance the VA funding fee (plus reduced funding fees with a down payment of at least 5% and exemption for veterans receiving VA compensation)
- Closing costs lower than or comparable to other types of financing
- No mortgage insurance premiums
- Right to prepay mortgage without penalty
- VA assistance to borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty
You may use VA-guaranteed financing to:
- Purchase a home
- Buy a townhome or condo unit in a project that the VA has approved
- Build a home
- Refinance an existing home loan
- Refinancing an existing VA loan to reduce the interest rate and add energy efficiency improvements
What a VA Loan cannot be used for
You may NOT use VA-guaranteed financing:
- As a business loan.
- To purchase a farm (except for a farm on which there is a farm residence which will be personally occupied by the veteran as a home).
- To purchase a cooperatively owned apartment.
- To purchase property in a foreign country.
- Go to a Lender and apply for the loan.
- Present your discharge or separation papers relating to the latest period of service and/or a Certificate of Eligibility.
- Find the property suitable for your needs.
- The property is appraised by an approved appraiser.
- An estimate of the property's reasonable value is determined.
- If your application is approved, you secure the VA loan.
*NOTE: Applications involving other than honorable discharges will usually require further development by VA. This is necessary to determine if the service was under other than dishonorable conditions.
Wartime - Service during:
- WWII: 09/16/40 to 07/25/47
- Korean: 06/27/50 to 01/31/55
- Vietnam: 08/05/64 to 05/07/75
You must have at least 90 days on active duty and been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. If you served less than 90 days, you may be eligible if discharged for a service connected disability.
- Peacetime - Service during periods:
- 07/26/47 to 06/26/50
- 02/01/55 to 08/04/64
- 05/08/75 to 09/07/80 (enlisted) to 10/16/81 (officer)
If you were separated from service which began after these dates, you must have:
(a) Completed 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period (at least 181 days) for which you were ordered or called to active duty and been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, or
(b) Completed at least 181 days of active duty and been discharged under the specific authority of 10 USC 1173 (Hardship), or 10 USC 1171 (Early out), or have been determined to have a compensable service-connected disability;
(c) Been discharged with less than 181 days of service for a service-connected disability. Individuals may also be eligible if they were released from active duty due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or, in some instances for the convenience of the Government.
If you served on active duty during the Gulf War, you must have:
(a) completed 24 months of continuous active duty or the full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, and been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable; or
(b) completed at least 90 days of active duty and been discharged under the specific authority of 10 USC 1173 (Hardship), or 10 USC 1173 (Early out), or have been determined to have a compensable service-connected disability, or
(c) been discharged with less than 90 days of service for a service-connected disability. Individuals may also be eligible if they were released from active duty due to an involuntary reduction in force, certain medical conditions, or, in some instances, for the convenience of the Government.
If you are now on regular active duty (not active duty for training), you are eligible after having served 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War) unless discharged or separated from a previous qualifying period of active duty service.
If you are not otherwise eligible and you have completed a total of 6 years in the Selected Reserves or National Guard (member of an active unit, attended required weekend drills and 2-week active duty for training) and
(a) were discharged with an honorable discharge; or
(b) were placed on the retired list; or
(c) were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable service; or
(d) continue to serve in the Selected Reserves.
Individuals who completed less than 6 years may be eligible if discharged for a service- connected disability. Eligibility for Selected Reservists expires 09/30/2007.
(a) are an unremarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or
(b) are a spouse of a serviceperson missing in action or a prisoner or war.
(a) certain United States citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the United States in WWII.
(b) individuals with service as members in certain organizations, such as Public Health Service officers, cadets/midshipmen at service academies, officers of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, merchant seamen with WWII service, and others.