VA guaranteed loans are made by lenders and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home. The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you fail to repay the loan. In most cases, no down payment is required on a VA guaranteed loan and the borrower usually receives a lower interest rate than is ordinarily available with other loans.
Other benefits of a VA loan include:
- Negotiable interest rate.
- Closing costs comparable – and sometimes lower - than other financing types.
- No private mortgage insurance requirement.
- Right to prepay loan without penalties
- Mortgage can be taken over (or “assumed”) by the buyer when a home is sold.
- Counseling and assistance available to veteran borrowers having financial difficulty or facing default on their loan.
Although mortgage insurance is not required, the VA charges a funding fee to issue a guarantee to a lender against borrower default on a mortgage. The fee may be paid in cash by the buyer or seller, or it may be financed in the loan amount. Disabled vets are exempt from this fee.
Although you may be eligible for a VA loan and possess a Certificate of Eligibilty from VA, that does not mean that you will qualify for the loan. Veterans still must demonstrate adequate credit and income to qualify for a VA mortgage.
A VA loan can be used to buy a home, build a home and even improve a home with energy-saving features such as solar or heating/cooling systems, water heaters, insulation, weather-stripping/ caulking, storm windows/doors or other energy efficient improvements approved by the lender and VA.
Veterans can apply for a VA loan with any mortgage lender that participates in the VA home loan program. A Certificate of Eligibility from the VA must be presented to the lender to qualify for the loan.