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Veterans Affair Home Loans

  • Synopsis: Published: 2009-02-06 (Revised/Updated 2015-02-01) - Many veterans may not know that a VA home loan carries with it caps for closing costs which can save the borrower a lot of money. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Peter K. at -.

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Quote: "In 1944 the U.S. congress passed the GI Bill of Rights to help those who served in the armed forces readjust to civilian life."

A VA home loan is actually a guarantee rather than a loan. The VA does not actually lend the money to the borrower, but promises to make good to the lender should the borrower default on the loan.

This promise from the government helps many people get loans that they might not otherwise be able to get.

A VA loan also comes with some very helpful and cost saving aspects.

Many veterans may not know that a VA loan carries with it caps for closing costs which can save the borrower a lot of money at closing time. The VA also allows for some leniency to qualified VA borrowers who are having temporary financial problems.

Some of the other benefits that a VA home loan offers include such things as longer terms of repayment, no down payment for certain cases, prepayment rights, and accurate assessments of the property value for the planned home. There are many other benefits as well.

There are some issues that VA loan borrowers should be aware of as they go through the process of buying a home. For example, when you buy a home through a VA home loan, the VA does not offer any type of guarantee that the house is free from defects. The VA will certainly do an appraisal of the property, but this should not be taken as an official inspection of the property.

In addition, the VA does not require or even order builders to correct problems or defects that they (the VA) or you may find during the building of a property. That is your responsibility. In fact, you should always get an expert to inspect the house in an official capacity as it is being built (in new home construction projects) or as is with standing homes.

The VA will not be able to offer legal advice either.

You, as the buyer, must use your own attorney for those matters. It is your responsibility to be aware of the laws that govern your deal and your property. Even with these restrictions, the VA still offers a great deal for many veterans.

A VA loan can also be a flexible loan. In addition to helping secure loans for standing homes and for building new homes, a VA loan can also be used to purchase a standing home and improve the home at the same time. They can also be used to improve an existing home by adding new energy efficiency technologies. There is also a provision for people to use a VA loan to purchase a manufactured home and lot, as long as the right conditions are met.

What is a VA loan and who qualifies

In 1944 the U.S. congress passed the GI Bill of Rights to help those who served in the armed forces readjust to civilian life.

One section of this bill provided loan programs with no money down and low closing costs to veterans.

These loans, called VA loans, for the Veteran's Administration are not given by the Veteran's Administration. The government determines the basic guidelines for the loans and then guarantees the loan amount to the lender in case the borrower defaults.

In order to qualify for a VA home loan, the borrower must be within a certain debt ratio. When your personal income, credit card debts, car loans, and the new indebtedness created by the VA mortgage are all tallied up, the maximum debt ratio you may have and still qualify for a VA home loan is 41%. As you might imagine there are many other factors that will also be used to measure your creditworthiness and the more issues you can resolve before applying the better.

To be eligible to receive a VA loan you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Honorably discharged wartime veteran of WWII, Korean War, or Vietnam with at least 90 days active duty.
  • During peacetime, July 1974-September 1980, serve 181 days continuous active duty (may be less if discharged for a service-connected disability).
  • For service dates after 1980, complete 24 months of continuous active duty or 90 days in Persian Gulf or Iraq.
  • Certain National Guard and Reserve troops may be eligible if they completed 6 years in an active National Guard unit that had weekend drills and active duty training.
  • Spouses of veterans may be eligible if the veteran's death was caused by a service connected injury or ailment.
  • U.S. citizen who served in an armed force for a country allied with the U.S.
  • Proof of service is required to apply for VA loans. To see what proof is needed, and to find answers to other VA loan questions, visit the VA website at
  • Being eligible for a VA loan does not guarantee that you will receive one.
  • Your credit history and other factors are still evaluated, but typically, the guidelines are less stringent than with competitive conventional loans.

Additionally, VA loans usually offer better rates than competitive conventional loans with little money down, and there are certain closing costs that buyers are not allowed to pay with a VA loan.

If you are considering applying for a VA home loan, you may want to visit with a debt counselor to see how you might improve your financial status before beginning the application process.

Related Information:

  1. VA Home Loan Program Still a Success - Department of Veterans Affairs - (2009-12-09)
  2. US Veteran Home Loans and Tax Benefits - Ian Langtree - (2009-02-06)
  3. Home Loan Calculator for Mortgages - Thinking of borrowing money to purchase a home or car and want to know roughly how much it will cost you in total or how much your loan repayments will be

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