Veterans Day 2015: 7 Fast Facts About VA Loans

Posted by Laine Smith on 11/11/15 1:58 PM

Topics: VA Loans First Time Home Buyer Refinancing Closing on your Home Mortgage Insurance home buying Mortgage Rates

Service men and women and their families make many sacrifices to keep our country safe. As a token of appreciation, the United State Department of Veterans Affairs provides a loan program with a mission to help servicemen, servicewomen, veterans and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners.

7 Fast Facts About VA Loans

The VA loan program was created in 1944.

The program, known formally as the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program, was designed to help level the playing field for veterans who were not able to build a financial nest egg during the time of their service. Since its creation, the VA has guaranteed over 21 million homes.

The VA loan program is an incredibly safe mortgage.

VA loans have had the lowest foreclosure rate of any loan type for most of the last 6 years, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Nine out of ten VA borrowers purchase homes without a down payment.

The no down payment requirement is arguably the biggest benefit of VA loans. Eligible borrowers can use a VA loan to finance a home purchase or refinance an existing loan.

Millions of veterans are unaware of the benefits of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program.

VA surveys have shown that approximately 1 out of every 3 homebuying veterans don't know the VA loan program is available to them.

Veterans receive cost breaks other borrowers usually incur.

The VA limits the amount of closing costs a veteran borrower has to pay. VA borrowers are also not required to pay mortgage insurance, which is required for other government-backed loans like FHA and USDA. VA loan interest rates are often lower than market rates, as well.

On top of credit and income criteria, VA borrowers must provide a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

To obtain a COE, a veteran borrower must have been honorably discharged and meet certain service requirements. You may be eligible for a VA loan if any of the following apply:

  • You served 181 days during peacetime (active duty)
  • You served 90 days during wartime (active duty)
  • You served 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard
  • You are the spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or because of a service-connected disability

VA loans are not a one-time benefit.

A common mortgage misconception among veterans is that the VA loan program can only be used once, but it's available to use for both first-time and repeat homebuyers who have already used the program.

For more eligibility and benefit information about VA loans, contact one of our mortgage bankers. If you're a first-time homebuyer, take advantage of our free Mortgage 101 Handbook, a great resource for learning more about the homebuying and financing process.

Download: Mortgage 101 Handbook

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