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Everything Veterans Need To Know About Qualifying For VA Loans

This article about VA Loans is presented by the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, and American United Federal Credit Union. Please take advantage of your VA health care benefits today at saltlakecity.va.gov


It can be a challenge to purchase a home when you are a veteran or actively serving in the military. But as a Veteran, you have benefits like VA Loans. But what is a VA Loan? How do you qualify? And what are the benefits?

What Are VA Loans?

Veterans

The GI bill introduced in 1944 guaranteed VA Home Loans (or VA Mortgages) to Veterans. This now lets private lenders, including credit unions, to provide you with more favorable terms. These types of loans regularly assist U.S. active duty service members, veterans, and even widowed spouses to purchase a home. They are easy to qualify for and don’t require a down payment. This makes VA Loans a great option for you.

What are the Requirements?

VA has specific service requirements which will determine if you are eligible. These requirements include your service commitment, duty status, and character of service. But, most often you’ll be eligible for a VA Loan if you belong in any of these categories:

  • Active duty service members or honorably discharged veterans with 90 days of consecutive active service during wartime or 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • National Guard or Selected Reserve members with at least six years of service
  • Spouses of service members who died in the line of duty

You’ll need a Certificate of Eligibility first to show that you qualify for VA Loans when you apply at a private lender such as a credit union. You can get this COE through the mail, your lender, or via the VA website.

Visit www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/ to learn more about the following home loan benefits:

  • Purchase Loans and Cash-Out Refinance
  • Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)
  • Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program
  • Adapted Housing Grants
  • Other Resources

Why VA Loans? What are the Benefits? Are There Any Drawbacks?

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Benefits of VA Loans:

  • You don’t have to make a down payment
  • There are no minimum credit scores
  • You can skip Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
  • Struggling borrowers can get extra assistance if they are facing foreclosure
  • There are no limits on the amount you can borrow. However, there is a limit to the amount of liability the VA takes on
  • There are fewer possibilities that Bankruptcy and Foreclosure will prevent you from qualifying
  • There aren’t pre-payment penalties
  • You don’t need to be a first-time homebuyer

Possible negative aspects of VA Loans:

  • Land and co-ops don’t qualify
  • Only primary residences qualify. But can also be used to refinance a current mortgage
  • A VA Funding Fee will be added to your loan amount. But usually it’s between 1.25% and 3.3%
  • A zero down payment could leave you vulnerable in a downward trending housing market

Where Can I Find a Private Lender to Help Me with My VA Loan?

VA Loans & VA Home Loans

Ask your bank or credit union if they work with VA to support veterans and active military with their mortgage options. And if you’re looking for an experienced lender with a long-time commitment to veterans and active-duty members look at American United Federal Credit Union. They can help research your options and answer your questions. American United Federal Credit Union started out as the Fort Douglas VA Hospital Federal Credit Union in 1952. They began serving members with their VA Loans out of a small room inside the VA Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Now with branches in Utah and California and mortgage specialists that can assist you regardless of where in the U.S. you live. American United Federal Credit Union is a trusted resource for VA Loans. Visit American United Federal Credit Union for additional information and to get connected to a specialist.