A 2021 Guide to VA Loans
A life in the armed forces is one of the most respected professions a US citizen can achieve. While this life can be dangerous, the military comes with numerous benefits and perks designed as the government’s way of saying “thank you” to our veterans for your service. One of the most overlooked rewards for both active military service members and veterans is purchasing a home through a VA Loan. It’s estimated that less than 12% of U.S. veterans actually use their VA Loan benefits; a statistic that we hope to bring attention to.
What is a VA Mortgage Loan and Are You Eligible?
VA loans are mortgages insured by the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and issued by private lenders. They are available only to veterans, active-duty service members and eligible spouses.
VA Loans are also available to every Virginia veteran, military service person, and qualified spouse throughout their whole lives. As long as they are using the loan for their primary residence, there is no limit as to how many times a veteran can apply for a VA mortgage loan.
Purchasing a condominium with a VA loan is handled on a case-by-case basis, as they differ from buying a multiunit property or single-family residence. The VA has to approve the condo in order for a veteran or military service person to purchase a unit.
To see if you qualify, you must first obtain your DD Form 214. An eligible VA lender can then request your VA Certificate of Eligibility for you, or you can request it directly from the VA’s eBenefits website.
Why Consider a VA Mortgage for Henrico and Chesterfield counties?
There is an abundance of advantages to using a VA loan to buy your property. Some of the major benefits include forgoing private mortgage insurance (PMI), along with low interest rates and closing costs. PMI alone can add anywhere between 0.5% to 1.0% of the monthly cost of your home. So if you owe $100,000 on your mortgage, your yearly PMI could cost upwards of $500 to $1000 in a calendar year. But with a VA loan, this cost is completely waived.
Another desirable benefit to VA loans is the down payment – or lack thereof. Normally homebuyers are encouraged to put 20% or more of the total home value towards a down payment. But again, this is unneeded for veterans and active military persons through a VA loan.
However, while Richmond military personnel can take advantage of the above benefits, putting as much money down as possible is still strongly suggested. The more money you can put down, the faster you’ll be able to pay off your house. And it’s important to know how much house you can afford to develop a feasible working budget for you and your family.
VA Loans and Achieving Good Credit
Yet another benefit is that the VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score needed to obtain a loan. It should be mentioned, however, that having positive to fair credit can help you attain a fixed interest rate or rock bottom variable. The major credit bureaus now offer free weekly access to check your credit report. This provides you with a hands on approach to your credit score; allowing you to see how positive and negative credit practices quickly affect your financial well-being.
Regarding your credit score, consistently paying bills on time and living within your means makes you more attractive to all lenders. This will come in handy when applying for a home equity loan to improve your Midlothian home or for any emergencies that may arise.
2021 VA Loan Tips
Here are 7 VA Loan tips to consider if you’re thinking of buying a home through a VA loan.
You can get started without the Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
A COE is issued by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and is proof that you are eligible for the VA home loan benefit
Your credit score still matters, but it’s not everything
Lenders tend to be more flexible with VA loans
Make sure you have enough saved
You are still responsible for certain closing costs (i.e. application fees, insurance, inspection fees, real estate taxes, and more)
Shop for a VA lender and get pre-approved
Look for reputable lenders that exclusively cater to military members, veterans, military spouses, and their families - compare all offers
Find a real estate agent that’s VA-savvy
Contact your VA regional loan center and ask if they can recommend a VA-savvy agent in your area.
Choose a property that’s VA-approved
Properties purchased through a VA loan cannot be used as vacation homes or investment properties; and condos must meet certain requirements
Close the deal only when you’re ready to move in
Interested homebuyers must complete the VA’s minimum occupancy requirement
How to Find the Best VA Loan in Richmond, VA
While the federal government insures all VA loans, they do not actually loan you the money for your future house. Applying for a VA loan still requires working with a bank or lending institution. And as with all government loan programs, sometimes the paperwork can be tedious. Fortunately, Team Hensley Real Estate can guide you through this process seamlessly and has a list of preferred lenders who have proven reliable for Antrim and Otsego County military veterans and active service members. Together, we can find the proper licensed VA mortgage lender to insure we find the right house for you.