A VA loan helps qualifying veterans, service members, and their families build, buy, improve, or refinance a home. There are four types of VA home loans:
Purchase Loan: A purchase loan is a VA-backed mortgage that carries lower eligibility requirements, up to 0 percent down payment requirements, and better loan terms compared to traditional loans.
Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program: The only direct VA loan available, the NADL program is available to qualifying Native American Veterans and their families to build, improve, or purchase a home on federal trust land.
Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRL): An IRRL refinance an existing VA-backed mortgage to reduce or stabilize monthly payment or alter loan terms.
Cash-Out Refinance Loan: Cash-out refinance loans help qualifying homeowners refinance an existing mortgage or cash out a home’s equity.
Unlike many federally-subsidized home loans, VA home loans do not require borrowers to meet low and moderate-income-based eligibility requirements. Instead, eligibility requirements for the program are based on a veteran’s or active duty service. Surviving spouses of veterans can also qualify for VA loan benefits if they meet additional eligibility requirements.
There are many benefits to obtaining a VA-backed mortgage. Not only are these loans easier to qualify for compared to traditional mortgages, but most loans do not require a downpayment and qualifying borrowers are not required to pay mortgage insurance premiums.
The first step in obtaining a VA loan quote is to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). A COE is a pre-approval process that borrowers can provide VA-approved lenders. There are many ways that you can apply for your Certificate of Eligibility, including online, by mail, or directly through some approved lenders.
When applying for a Certificate of Eligibility, you will need to provide documentation that supports your application, such as a copy of your discharge or separation papers or a statement of service signed by your adjutant, commander, or personnel officer. Surviving spouses must provide additional documentation.
Once you are pre-approved for a VA home loan, you must work with an approved lender to purchase, build, or refinance a home. The process of purchasing or refinancing a home is similar to that of a traditional mortgage. For example, when purchasing a home, you will still need to view potential homes, have inspections completed, and so on.
While most VA loans do not require a down payment, borrowers are still generally responsible for closing costs.