Tuesday, October 3, 2023
HomeLoans6 Things You Need To Know About VA Loans

6 Things You Need To Know About VA Loans

When it comes to purchasing a home, the experience can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. This is especially true for military service members, veterans, and their families who face a unique set of challenges.

Fortunately, VA loans can ease the process by offering a multitude of benefits such as no down payment, competitive interest rates, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI). Despite these advantages, there’s still a lot to know before diving into the VA loan process. 

Here’s a comprehensive list that aims to clarify everything you’ve ever wanted to know about VA loans.

1. What is a VA Loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage loan that is backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Unlike conventional loans, VA loans are available exclusively to eligible military service members, veterans, and some surviving spouses. The VA doesn’t actually provide the loan; instead, it guarantees a portion of the loan to the lender. This gives lenders the confidence to offer more favorable terms, such as no down payment or private mortgage insurance.

To find out if you are eligible and understand the steps involved, there are resources you can check out here. Alternatively, you could consult a lender that specializes in VA loans. Eligibility usually depends on factors like length and type of military service, discharge conditions, and more.

2. Benefits Of VA Loans

No Down Payment

One of the most significant benefits of a VA loan is that you can purchase a home with zero down payment. This feature alone sets it apart from conventional loans, which often require at least a 3-5% down payment.

No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Conventional loans require PMI if the down payment is less than 20%. PMI increases your monthly payment, but with a VA loan, this isn’t necessary, thereby saving you money each month.

Competitive Interest Rates

Generally, VA loans have more competitive interest rates compared to conventional loans. The VA backing makes lenders feel secure, which is often reflected in a lower interest rate for the borrower.

3. Requirements For VA Loans

Credit Score

While the VA does not have a minimum credit score requirement, individual lenders usually do. A credit score of at least 620 is commonly required, but this can vary.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio should generally not exceed 41%, but lenders have flexibility in this regard, especially if you have strong financial credentials otherwise.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

This is the formal document that signifies your entitlement to a VA loan. You’ll need to apply for this through the VA’s website or through your lender, who can often obtain it for you online in minutes.

4. Limits And Restrictions

Loan Limits

As of 2020, the VA loan limit has been lifted for borrowers with full entitlement, meaning you can purchase a home above the previous county loan limits without a down payment, subject to the lender’s requirements.

Property Restrictions

VA loans are generally restricted to primary residences and certain types of properties. Investment properties and vacation homes are not eligible.

5. How to Apply for a VA Loan?


It’s recommended to get prequalified for a loan before you start shopping for a house. This helps you know how much you can afford and shows sellers that you are a serious buyer.

Choose a Lender

After prequalification, you should compare lenders to find the best rates and terms for your situation. Look for those who specialize in VA loans as they will be more familiar with the process and requirements.

Final Application

Once you’ve chosen a lender, you’ll need to provide various documents like pay stubs, tax returns, and your COE. The lender will also carry out a credit check and home appraisal. Once everything is cleared, your loan will be approved, and you can proceed to closing.

6. Refinancing Options

VA loans come with refinancing options that can help you get lower interest rates or take out cash from your home’s equity. The two main types are the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan and the VA Cash-Out Refinance.


Also known as a VA Streamline Refinance, the IRRRL allows you to refinance your existing VA loan to a loan with a lower interest rate, typically without an appraisal.

Cash-Out Refinance

This allows you to refinance your non-VA loan into a VA loan and take cash out from your home’s equity, up to 100% in some cases.


VA loans provide an incredible opportunity for military service members, veterans, and eligible spouses to achieve the dream of homeownership. With benefits like no down payment, no PMI, and competitive interest rates, it’s easy to see why VA loans are a popular choice.

However, like any financial decision, it’s important to be well-informed. Understanding the requirements, limitations, and application process can help you maximize the benefits and make the home-buying journey a smoother experience.

Whether you’re just starting your home search or looking to refinance, a VA loan offers a range of advantages that are worth considering. By educating yourself about these loans, you put yourself in a stronger position to make the best choices for your financial future.

Ajeet Sharma, the founder of Financegab and a well-known name in the field of financial blogging. Blogging since 2017, he has the expertise and excellent knowledge about personal finance. Financegab is all about personal finance which aims to create awareness among people about personal finance and help them to make smart, well-informed financial decisions.


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