Calling All Military Personnel: Understanding the VA Loan and How it Can Work for You

Posted On Friday, 12 November 2021 19:51

As a military service member, you have earned access to many programs that the general public has not. One of the most beneficial of these is inarguably the Veteran’s Administration Home Loan. VA home loans come with better terms and are easier to qualify for, making homeownership more accessible to veterans and men and women in uniform. However, accessing these loans and making them work for you means understanding how they work differently from regular ones. It’s important to know its limitations and navigate the system. 

That’s where having advice from a knowledgeable realtor can help. Below are some tips for navigating VA Home loans from Andrew Valdez Johnston, a Realtor at Hulett and Associates, in Virginia Beach, Va. He is both a licensed realtor and active-duty service member in the U.S. Navy who sincerely wants to help his fellow service members who are often subjected to frequent relocations.

Check Your Eligibility Before Applying for a VA Home Loan

Not all current or former service members qualify for a VA Home Loan. The Department of Veterans Affairs has specific requirements for eligibility listed on its website. Qualifying factors include having served during a particular period and meeting the minimum active-duty service requirement. This varies from 90 days to 24-continuous months, depending on the era and circumstance of discharge, although it is still possible to qualify if you don’t meet all requirements.

Know the Specific Ways in Which a VA Loan is Different and Decide if it is a Fit for You

While the VA loan is an enormous benefit, it is possibly not the best choice for your home buy, depending on your circumstances. Knowing the advantages and limitations of the VA Home Loan will help you make the best decision when purchasing a new home. 

So, how are VA home loans different from other loans? There are several key points to consider:

  • VA Home Loans are guaranteed by the government for 25% percent of the loan amount, making lenders more confident when deciding on loan approval.  
  • VA Home Loans are available to be reapplied for after 2 years after service members have declared bankruptcy or foreclosure.  
  • VA Home Loans often have competitive interest rates. 
  • VA Home Loans have no borrowing limit. 
  • VA Home Loans have a VA Funding Fee, which is a one time payment used to lower the cost of the loan for the US taxpayer, as there is no down payment required for the VA Home Loan. If you do put a downpayment on, your funding fee rate decreases.
  • VA Home Loans are reusable, so you can still qualify even if you have had a VA loan in the past. In addition, defaulting on a previous VA loan does not disqualify you from applying again. 
  • VA Home Loans are used to purchase primary residences, and secondary primary residences. You may use your VA Home Loan to purchase aneligible 1-4 unit property as long as one unit is owner occupied.
  • VA Home Loans have Minimum Property Requirements, or MPR’s, which must be met in order to secure the loan. 
  • VA Home Loans have no early payment penalties towards the service member. 

Applying for a VA Home Loan

The first step in obtaining a VA Home Loan is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which the lenders will acquire and take care of for the service member. This step coincides with choosing a lender which works best for you. As private banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions offer different interest rates and fees, it is important to shop around to find the right one.

Choosing the right realtor to help in finding your dream home is just as important. Working with someone who understands your needs and who will make the process as simple as possible will help things run smoothly and ease any stress you may have (bonus points if your realtor has a Military Relocation Professional designation from NAR). With the right realtor, you are ready to shop for your dream home.

About Andrew Valdez Johnston

Andrew Valdez Johnston is an up-and-coming realtor with H&A Realty. Based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, he has created the VJ ‘s Complete Home System model, a program he implements with his clients to ensure their buying or selling journey is as efficient and effective as possible. To get in contact with Andrew, visit here:

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