VA Mortgage Loan

VA mortgage loan options are home loans backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that provide affordable home financing options for eligible service members, veterans, and surviving spouses. Here at Fairway, we are proud to help our service members and veterans achieve the American dream of homeownership.

What Is a VA Mortgage Loan?

A VA mortgage loan is a home loan that is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A VA loan makes it easier for veterans, active duty military members and eligible surviving spouses to purchase or refinance their home because it typically doesn’t require a down payment.*

The VA offers this benefit to honor the service and enhance the lives of those who have served or are serving their country. The flexible VA mortgage loan guidelines make homeownership more attainable for active service members, vets and surviving spouses who might not qualify or who might not see loan terms as favorable with a Conventional loan.

*A down payment is required if the borrower does not have full VA entitlement or when the loan amount exceeds the VA county limits. VA loans subject to individual VA Entitlement amounts and eligibility, qualifying factors such as income and credit guidelines, and property limits.

VA Mortgage Highlights

VA home loans often require no down payment* and help keep your savings secure and offer more flexibility for active-duty military personnel, veterans and eligible surviving spouses. They also feature:

  • No prepayment penalties
  • No private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • 100% financing with full VA entitlement*
  • Fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages
  • VA financing fees can be lumped into the total loan amount
  • A variety of eligible property types, including townhomes and VA-approved condos

*A down payment is required if the borrower does not have full VA entitlement or when the loan amount exceeds the VA county limits. VA loans subject to individual VA Entitlement amounts and eligibility, qualifying factors such as income and credit guidelines, and property limits.

VA Mortgage FAQs

Will I have to pay mortgage insurance with a VA loan?

The short answer is no, you will not. Even if you put no money down, there is no private mortgage insurance (PMI) when you use a VA loan to buy your home. You will instead have to pay a VA funding fee, which you can pay up front at closing or it can be rolled into and financed as part of the total loan amount.

In some cases, the seller may elect to pay or the buyer’s and seller’s real estate agents may negotiate to have the seller cover the VA funding fee.

The funding fee is calculated as a percentage of your loan amount and is based on what, if any, down payment is associated with the loan. It also factors in whether the veteran associated with the loan is a first-time VA mortgage recipient or has used the VA loan option more than once.

Can I roll my VA loan closing costs into the total loan amount?

The VA loan allows eligible borrowers to include SOME closing costs into the total loan amount. As mentioned above, the VA funding fee is one of the VA loan closing costs that you can choose to roll into the total loan amount. The other fees that are lumped into closing costs are not eligible to be rolled into the total loan amount, but you and your agent may be able to negotiate additional seller or lender concessions to bring the upfront cost of the loan down.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?

Before you are granted a VA home loan, you must first obtain a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Your COE is based on your length of service or service commitment, duty status and character of service. Veterans, active-duty personnel and eligible surviving spouses can request their COE from the VA, or your Fairway mortgage advisor can look it up when you are ready to apply.

Your COE tells your lender whether you have your “full entitlement” available, which means you can buy a home with zero down, or “partial entitlement,” which means you would have to make a down payment for your home purchase. Click here for another resource regarding VA loan eligibility.

I have already used a VA loan for my first home loan. Can I get a second VA loan?

Yes. You can take out a VA mortgage even if you have used one before. However, if you haven’t paid off your last VA home loan, you may only have a partial entitlement remaining or no entitlement remaining. You would need to pay off the current loan to restore your full entitlement to avoid loan limits and realize all the other great benefits of the VA mortgage loan on that second loan.

What are VA land loans? Can I use a VA loan to buy land?

You can use a VA loan to buy land as long as there is a home on the property. The VA loan rules do not limit the amount of land you can buy, but keep in mind, that similar properties in the area where you purchase must be used for residential purposes only.

For example, if you are thinking of buying a 10-acre plot with a house on it, but all the other 10-acre properties near yours are income-producing farms, you may not be able to use a VA mortgage loan for your purchase. But if you are purchasing in a rural area dotted with similarly sized hobby farms, you would more likely be in the clear.

Is a VA construction loan available? Can I use a VA loan to build a home?

It is possible to use a VA loan to build a house, but few lenders offer this option. VA construction loans require buyers to jump through many more hoops to qualify, including finding a VA-approved builder and then making sure the building plans qualify for VA financing.

What credit score do I need to qualify for a VA mortgage loan?

The minimum VA loan credit score to qualify at Fairway is 580. For any borrowers whose credit score ranges from 580-599, an additional underwriting approval will be required, which just means that in many cases, additional documentation may be required during the mortgage process. As always, the higher your credit score, the more favorable the loan terms you will see. But there is more to your VA loan experience than your credit score! Make sure you are asking your Fairway mortgage advisor these questions as you are going through the mortgage process as well.

VA Loan Programs

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

If you are currently serving in the military with a chance of relocating in the next few years, the flexibility of an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) could be the right option for you. ARMs offer lower introductory interest rates that can change after the initial fixed-rate period. Depending on market fluctuations after this initial fixed-rate period, your monthly payments could change due to rates increasing or decreasing.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

Fixed rate mortgages protect you against rising rates since the interest rate remains the same for the entire term of the loan. You can select a 30- or 15-year loan term. The main difference is the 15-year option has higher monthly payments, which also means you are building home equity faster. Keep in mind you can use equity as a down payment for your next home or a future cash-out refinance. If you plan on staying in your home for a longer time frame, a fixed rate mortgage could be the right solution for you.

Cash-Out Refinance

If you’re already a homeowner, a cash-out refinance may help you pay for major expenses like college tuition, debt or home improvements. This option allows you to take cash out of your home equity by replacing your current mortgage with a new loan that is more than the amount owed. You can also refinance a non-VA loan into a VA loan with a cash-out refinance.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)

An interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) may help lower your interest rate and reduce your monthly payments by refinancing your existing VA loan. You can also refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) into a fixed-rate mortgage with this option. However, you cannot receive cash from loan proceeds with an IRRRL.

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