One nice feature of the VA home loan program is the straight forward qualifying. Knowing the four basic keys to loan approval can help many military families take the guess work out of qualifying for a VA loan.
Key #1— Entitlement
Each eligible borrower must have ample entitlement in order to be approved for a VA loan. Entitlement translates to the amount the VA is willing to guarantee for each borrower. A VA-eligible borrower with full entitlement who qualifies with income and credit may borrow up to the conforming loan limit of $417,000 (more in high-cost counties). A VA loan officer can help obtain a Certificate of Eligibility and calculate available entitlement.
Key #2 — Use
VA guidelines state that the military mortgage program must be used appropriately. Typically, single family homes, VA-approved condos and townhouses and multi-family homes (up to four units per borrower) are approved for VA financing if they pass a VA appraisal for value and safety. Some lenders will also finance certain manufactured homes if they are affixed to a permanent foundation.
Key #3 — Occupancy
Owner-occupancy is required for most VA loans. VA borrower must verify that they will move into their homes financed with VA loans within a reasonable time. For many, this means that the VA-eligible borrower or spouse must move into the home within 60 days after closing. Borrowers who are deployed away from home may receive an extension of up to 12 months.
Key #4 — Income & Credit
Each VA-eligible borrower must prove ability to pay. The veteran (and spouse, if applicable) must have steady and ample income and satisfactory credit. The department allows lenders flexibility to determine what a safe credit risk is within VA guidelines. For VA Streamline refinancing, income and credit re-qualifying is usually not necessary.
Contact a VA specialty lender about getting approved for a VA loan.
Ashleigh Downing is the Social Media Director for iFreedom Direct. She has been working with and writing about veteran’s benefits and issues for the past three years.
iFreedom Direct is a top national VA lender that specializes in assisting active members and retired veterans of the Armed Forces with VA loans.