Regardless of what you may have heard about VA loans, it’s important to understand how they work, what they can do for you, and if you are eligible. Like other mortgage loans, VA loans come with many benefits, many that other loans don’t offer.
Let’s look at four things all military service members should know about VA loans and see if a VA loan is the right fit for you.
While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs insures VA loans, you don’t need to be a military veteran to be eligible for one. To qualify for a VA loan, you must meet certain income and credit requirements and have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Other factors, such as length of service and duty status, can also affect your eligibility, but you are likely able to receive a COE if you are:
Unlike other mortgage loans, VA loans don’t require putting money down. Typically, you have to save for years before buying a home in order to have the down payment, but VA loans allow you to buy immediately and save money upfront. Additionally, there is no mortgage insurance requirement on VA loans, which saves you money each month.
VA loans can be used again and again as long as the loan is paid off each time. For example, if you purchase a home with your VA loan and decide you’ve outgrown it and want to upgrade, as long as the loan is paid off, you can reuse your benefit to purchase a new home.
Some other loans might waive the appraisal depending on certain factors of the purchase; however, VA loans require VA appraisals to evaluate the proposed value of the home. VA appraisals require independent VA-certified appraisers to complete the appraisal, and usually, they take around two weeks to complete, if not longer.