VA Loans 101: How Veterans Can Get Low Interest Mortgages

by Judy White 11/24/2019

There are a number of programs, government-sponsored and otherwise, that are designed to help aspiring homeowners find and get approved for a mortgage that works for them.

Among these are first-time homeowner loans insured by the Housing and Urban Development Department, mortgages and loans insured by the USDA designed to help people living in urban and rural areas, and VA loans, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


In today’s post, I’m going to give you a basic rundown of VA loans, who is eligible for them, and how to apply for one. That way you’ll feel confident knowing you’re getting the best possible deal on your home mortgage.


What is a VA Loan?

VA loans can provide soon-to-be homeowners who have served their country with low-interest rates and no private mortgage insurance (PMI).

If you’re hoping to buy a home soon and don’t have at least a 20% down payment, you typically have to take out private mortgage insurance. This means paying an extra insurance bill on top of your monthly mortgage payments. The downside of PMI is that it never turns into equity that you can then use when you decide to move again or sell your home.

Loans that are guaranteed by the VA don’t require PMI because the bank knows your loan is a safer investment than if it wasn’t guaranteed

VA loans may also help you secure a lower interest rate, or give you some negotiating power when it comes to discussing your interest rate.

Finally, VA loans set limits on the number of closing costs you can pay in your mortgage. And, if you’ve ever bought a home before, you’ll know how quickly closing costs can add up.

Who is eligible?

There are some common misconceptions about who can apply for a VA loan? So, we’ll cover all the bases of eligibility.

If you meet one of the following criteria, you may be eligible for a VA loan:


  • You’ve served 90 consecutive days during wartime

  • You’ve served 181 days during peacetime

  • You’ve served six or more years in the Reserves or National Guard

  • Your spouse died due to their work in the military

There are some restrictions to these eligibilities. For example, your chosen lender may still have credit score minimums.

Applying for a VA Loan

There are two main steps for applying for a VA Loan. First, you’ll have to ensure your eligibility. You can do this by checking the VA’s official website. Be sure to call them with any questions you may have.

Next, you’ll need a certificate of eligibility. The easiest way to acquire one is through your chosen lender.  If you haven’t chosen a lender, you can also apply online through the eBenefits portal, or by mailing in a paper application.

Once you have a certificate, you can apply for your mortgage and you’ll be on your way to buying a home.

About the Author
Author

Judy White

JUDY! JUDY! JUDY!

I am known for "out of the box" approaches, offering clients a unique experience packed with high energy service. A background in design, marketing and public relations has been a critical foundation for my success in real estate. Extremely knowledgeable in the fluctuations of the Denver metro front range market. I pride myself in offering my clients an enjoyable, professional real estate experience, unlike any other. I realize that the opportunity is not about me, but about my clients. In a world of talkers, my best attribute, far and away, is as a listener, then digesting what the client wants/needs, and then providing the best realistic solution. No sugar coating, just the facts, then the results. I am able to assimilate what I hear into a cogent, effective marketing program. I fully understand the beauty of uniqueness and I am prepared to market your "secret gem" or locate your "secret gem" to its fullest potential.

Whether a primary residence, or investment property, my knowledge of the market is a tremendous asset to making sound decisions, whether representing a Buyer, Seller, or both. I always follow statistics and market trends with a greater understanding of the market climate as well as buyer/seller behaviors, ultimately resulting in a successful transaction.

I also carry the following National Assn of Realtors Designations:

CRS--Certified Residential Specialist (top 4% nationwide Realtors)

REBAC--Member in good standing, Real Estate Buyers Agency Council

GRI--Graduate Realty Institute

SRES--Senior Real Estate Specialist

5280 Magazine Five Star Real Estate Agent--6 years in a row