Veterans are a big part of our community in the United States. The country honors these men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces in many ways. One example is through VA Loans for veterans who would like to purchase a home. A VA Loan is provided by private lenders and is partially guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Loans are a great way for military borrowers to obtain a mortgage. They have been helping military families purchase a home since 1944. If you are interested in purchasing a home through a VA Loan here is what you need to know.

According to veteransunited.com, “A VA loan is a $0-down mortgage option issued by private lenders and partially backed, or guaranteed, by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Eligible borrowers can use a VA loan to purchase a property as their primary residence or refinance an existing mortgage.”

Unlike conventional mortgages, VA Loans are partially backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Lenders who originate the loans have more confidence with this guarantee from the VA and are able to offer $0 down financing and many great rates and terms.

There are many ins and outs of a VA Loan. A borrower can use full VA entitlement as many times as they would like to if the loan is paid off each time. You can have more than one VA loan at a time and even obtain another VA loan if you lost one to foreclosure.

VA Loans are mainly used for properties that are “move-in ready” and are not usually used for a fixer-upper or a property such as a working farm. They can only be used for a primary residence and not for investment properties or vacation homes.

Even though a VA Loan does not require mortgage insurance, you will be required to pay a mandatory fee. The VA Funding Fee enables the VA to keep VA Loans available and can be paid all at once or rolled into the loan amount. The VA loan entitlement will not let you get a loan with just any co-borrower. You can find some lenders who lend a joint loan. One of the great benefits of a VA loan is there is no prepayment penalty. Making an extra payment or adding money on top of your monthly payment is not penalized like with some conventional mortgages.

If you are a military veteran and would like to obtain a VA loan, here are the steps to the process. Before you can be approved for VA loan entitlement, you must be prequalified for a loan. A lender will be able to prequalify you for what you can afford based on income, credit, entitlement and any other financial factors they require. Once a lender prequalifies you, then you must be preapproved. This is the step in the process where a lender will verify income and your financial information. Once preapproved, the lender will give you a preapproval letter. When searching for a home and placing an offer, you must make sure that the home is VA loan approved.

Once you place your property under contract you will begin the VA appraisal. The VA appraisal is a requirement to make sure the property under contract is of fair market value and meets the VA requirements. When the VA appraisal is cleared you will be able to close on your new home.  Remember when purchasing a home, VA loans represent the most powerful lending program on the market for military borrowers.

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