Last reviewed March 4, 2015Tweet
For members of the U.S. military, veterans, and their spouses, the Department of Veterans Affairs makes available a special mortgage program called the VA Loan Guaranty Program.
Part of your VA benefits, the VA loan program is a no-downpayment, 100% mortgage with mortgage insurance not required; and loose eligibility standards meant to help as many military borrowers as possible with their homeownership.
VA mortgage rates can be extremely low, too.
Read more about the VA loan program or skip right to the rate quotes.
70 years ago, Congress conceived the VA Home Loan Guarantee program.
Created as part of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, the program was meant to reduce "to the greatest extent possible" the sociological and economic problems of millions of post-war men and women who had served in the United States Armed Forces.
The VA loan program was meant to be an alternative to a cash bonus; one which would not only be less expensive to the U.S. government, but one which would also better serve the needs of U.S. veterans who had not had a chance to establish credit rating as their non-veteran counterparts had been able to do.
The VA mortgage program continues today.
By offering zero-downpayment mortgages, flexible underwriting guidelines; and, waiving all mortgage insurance requirements, VA home loans have helped military borrowers from San Diego, California to Fort Dix, New Jersey get access to government-subsidized mortgage rates with common-sense underwriting standards.
The VA loan is among the popular VA benefits available to today's armed services veterans and active personnel.
Since 1944, the VA home loan guaranty has been popular among veterans, service members and their families.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 20 million VA loans have been guaranteed since the program's inception -- nearly 300,000 per year.
In recent years, though, low VA mortgage rates have boosted the number of VA loan closings nationwide.
Along with a growing number of veterans using the VA purchase loan program, the program's unique Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) has been in high demand, too. The IRRRL is one of the fastest, simplest refinance programs available to homeowners today.
The VA guaranteed more than 600,000 home loans for U.S. military veterans in 2013 and now guarantees more than 1.7 million loans nationwide. These loans have a total value exceeding $285 billion.
VA home loan benefits are available to many veterans of U.S. military service, active personnel, and surviving spouses, among others. There are minimum eligibility requirements to meet, which include verification of income and assets, and minimum service times.
Minimum service times vary depending on whether you served during peacetime or wartime.
For example, for individuals who served the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War, and/or the Vietnam War, VA loan benefits are available after 90 days on active duty, or with a discharge under any condition other than dishonorable.
By contrast, individuals who served during peacetime between 1947-1981 are required to show at least 181 days of continuous duty, and discharge under any condition other than dishonorable.
For individuals with service-connected disabilities, minimum 90- and 181-day standards are waived in full.
VA loans aren't just limited to armed services veterans, either
VA benefits extend to certain members of the National Guard and Reserves; National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officers; public health service officers; and Air Force, Coast Guard, and military cadets.
Surviving spouses who remarry after age 57 may be eligible for VA benefits, too.
Beyond its popular zero-down option, the VA loan program brings extra mortgage benefits to each mortgage closed. As one example, the Department of Veterans Affairs waives mortgage insurance requirements on all VA loans.
No matter your downpayment -- zero down, twenty percent down, or more -- you will never be asked to pay mortgage insurance when you use your VA benefits for a home loan. Rather, VA loans only require an upfront funding fee which, for some veterans, are waived in full.
Another major benefit of the VA mortgage is that all VA loans are assumable. When a loan is "assumable", it means that your VA mortgage can be transferred to a future home buyer if that person is also VA-eligible.
Assumable loans can be a giant selling point in a rising mortgage rate environment. Today's VA mortgage rates are in the 4s. When you sell your home, then, your home's buyer can buy your home and your mortgage.
Assumable loans can be a tremendous value to a home buyer -- especially as mortgage rates return to their historical norms near eight percent. Buying a home with a below-market mortgage rate can make your home extra affordable.
Furthermore, VA loans are simpler for which to qualify than other popular loan types. VA mortgage guidelines list no minimum credit score, no maximum VA loan size, and provide debt-to-income requirements which are often more loose than comparable FHA loans and conventional mortgages via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The benefits of a VA loan extend beyond its ease of underwriting. The Department of Veterans Affairs makes available a number of "special" loan programs for all VA-eligible borrowers.
Among the most popular VA loan program is the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL).
More commonly called the VA Streamline Refinance, the IRRRL is a VA-Loan-to-VA-Loan refinance. There are nearly no verifications required for a VA Streamline Refinance, and no home appraisal is required. The only major requirement of the VA Streamline Refinance is that you may not receive cash at closing.
For home buyers using a VA loan, the Department of Veterans Affairs makes available the following loan programs.
The Department of Veterans Affairs also offers its Native American Veteran Direct Loan (NADL) which provides eligible Native American veterans and their spouses VA loans for homes on Federal trust land.
VA loans are popular among veterans because downpayment and home equity requirements are low; because mortgage insurance is never required; and, because mortgage rates are often lower than for comparable conforming mortgage programs.
If you're a veteran, see how today's low VA mortgage rates can help your monthly payments. Get started with a rate quote now. Rates are available for free, there's no obligation to proceed, and your social security number is not required to get started.
The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.
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