The VA Mortgage – Purchase & Refinance Loan Programs

November 11, 2016 - 5 min read

VA Loans Cheaper Than FHA, Conventional

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.

Available as part of your VA benefits, the VA loan program is a no-downpayment, 100% mortgage with loose eligibility standards meant to help as many military borrowers qualify as possible.

VA mortgage rates are often extremely low, too.

As compared to conventional mortgage rates, VA rates can be as much as 50 basis points (0.50%) lower. And, for buyers , the VA never charges mortgage insurance.

You can save a lot of money when you use a VA mortgage.

If you think you may be eligible, compare VA pricing to the cost of a conventional and when you shop for your next home loan.

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VA Benefits: About The VA Loan Guaranty Program

72 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 served the needs of U.S. veterans who had not had a chance to establish a credit rating as their non-veteran counterparts had been able to do.

The VA mortgage program continues today and is wildly popular.

By offering zero-downpayment mortgages with no mortgage insurance required, and by providing flexible mortgage underwriting guidelines, 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.

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More Than 21 Million VA Home Loans Closed

Since 1944, the VA home loan guaranty has been popular among , service members and their families.

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 21 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 given a boost to the VA home loans closed annually.

Purchase loans have been in high demand, and the VA’s unique refinance loan — the — has been remained popular, too.

Pronounced “Earl”, the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan is one of the fastest, simplest refinance programs available to homeowners anywhere.

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VA Loan Eligibility

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.

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.

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Benefits Of The VA Home Loan

Beyond its popular zero-down mortgage 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 how much you bring to closing — even if you bring 0% — you will never be asked to pay mortgage insurance.

VA loans do require an upfront funding fee, though, which for some veterans can be 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. When you sell your home, your buyer can buy your home and your mortgage. When your home sells with a below-market rate attached to it, your home can be extra-affordable.

Furthermore, VA loans are simpler for which to qualify than other popular loan types.

VA mortgage guidelines list , no maximum loan size, and allow for debt-to-income requirements which are often more loose as compared to FHA loans and conventional mortgages via Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Special VA Mortgage Programs

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 . There are nearly no verifications required for a VA Streamline Refinance, and is required.

The only major requirement of the VA Streamline Refinance is that you may not receive cash at closing.

Other special VA loan programs include:

  • Construction Loans : The VA offers loans which military borrowers can use to finance the purchase and construction of a home.
  • : The VA offers loans which allow buyers or existing homeowners to finance the costs of energy-efficiency improvements to a home
  • Loans For Alteration or Repair : The offers loans which allow buyers or existing homeowners to finance home improvement costs into a mortgage

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.

What Are Today’s VA Mortgage Rates?

VA loans are popular for their low rates, their allowance for 100% financing, and their willingness to waive mortgage insurance requirements for all approved buyers.

Get today’s live mortgage rates now. Your social security number is not required to get started, and all quotes come with access to your live mortgage credit scores.

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The Newsdesk
Authored By: The Newsdesk
The Mortgage Reports contributor
The Mortgage Reports Newsdesk is a collection of hand-picked mortgage-market experts reporting today's most important and relevant news.