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VA Loan Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a VA Loan, veterans, active duty service members, National Guard members and reservists must meet the basic service requirements set forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability may also be eligible.

It's ultimately up to the VA to determine eligibility for the home loan program, but prospective borrowers can get a good idea by looking at the VA's basic eligibility guidelines.

You may be eligible for a VA Home Loan if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime,OR
  • You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime,OR
  • You have more than 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves,OR
  • You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.

The VA Loan Advantage

VA loans require no down payment or private mortgage insurance. They feature competitive rates and terms and allow qualified borrowers to purchase a home with little to no money out of pocket.The VA Loan program is the most powerfulhome loan program on the market for manyveterans, service members and military families. These flexible, government-backed loans come with significant benefits that open the doors of homeownership toveterans who might otherwise struggle to obtain financing.

The increasing popularity has stemmed from the loan program's signature benefits, which include:

1. No Down Payment

Saving money and building credit can be difficult for service members who are constantly on the move. With the VA Loan, qualified borrowers can finance 100 percent of the home's value without putting down a dime. Take a look at the chart below to see how much you can save through the no-money-down benefit of the VA Loan.

VA Loan Savings at Closing:

Loan Amount 0% Down 5% Down 10% Down 20% Down

$150,000 $0 $7,500 $15,000 $30,000

$250,000 $0 $12,500 $25,000 $50,000

$350,000 $0 $17,500 $35,000 $70,000

$450,000 $0 $22,500 $45,000 $90,000

2. No Private Mortgage Insurance

Many conventional lenders require borrowers to pay private monthly mortgage insurance unless they're able to put down at least 20 percent, which is a tough task for many veterans. Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is an insurance that protects lenders in case of a borrower default.

With a VA Loan, however, there is no PMI. This is because the federal government backs all VA Loans and assumes the risk on behalf of the borrower that is typically covered by the PMI.

This VA Loan advantage allows you to build more and more equity in your house, effectively saving you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.

PMI Savings per Month:

Loan Amount Monthly Savings

$150,000 Save $115/mo

$250,000 Save $191/mo

$350,000 Save $268/mo

$450,000 Save $345/mo

3. Competitive Interest Rates

Interest rates on home loans are based on risk assumed by the bank to finance the loan. Because the VA backs each VA Loan with a guaranty, financial institutions carry less risk and can offer interest rates that are typically 0.5 to 1 percent lower than conventional interest rates.

Pair that lower interest rate with the ability to purchase a home with no money down and no private mortgage insurance and the savings start adding up significantly.