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VA Home Loan Benefits

VA home loan benefits give eligible borrowers access to mortgages with advantages that do not exist with conventional loans. There are several distinct elements of the VA loan that are designed to help Veterans and other eligible borrowers obtain home mortgages.

Unique Features of VA Mortgages

      •   No down payment potential
      •   No PMI* (VA Funding Fee for program use unless exempt)
      •   Competitive interest rates
      •   Streamlined refinance program
      •   Limits on allowed fees

The VA loan program can benefit borrowers who haven't had the opportunity to save much money. In fact, nearly 90% of VA loans have been made without a down payment since the program's inception in 1944. The potential no-down-payment feature alone can enable some eligible borrowers to purchase homes they might otherwise be unable to afford with other types of home mortgage programs. It may be helpful to prequalify so you get an idea of your budget before shopping for a home.

Another topic worth discussing is mortgage insurance. Most non-VA mortgages require costly PMI for borrowers who do not have at least 20 percent equity or more in their homes. Because a portion of VA loans are backed for the lender by the federal government, PMI is never allowed. A VA funding fee is required on most VA loans.

Eligibility Requirements for a VA Home Loan

VA home loan eligibility can be earned in as few as 90 days through active-duty service (Title 10) in the Armed Forces, or in as few as 90 days (with a 30-day stint) for full-time duty (Title 32) in the National Guard. If not called to active duty, regular military members need to serve two continuous years, and Reservists and Guard members must serve six years. VA loan benefits are available to most Veterans who served prior to the early 1980s as long as they have 90 total days of active military duty during WWII, Korean War or Vietnam War, or 181 continuous days of active duty between these conflicts. This is just a summary of the eligibility guidelines. Find a more comprehensive overview on the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Regardless of when you served, the VA has a rule regarding honorable discharge. To be eligible for VA home loans, a Veteran, if separated from the military, must have done so for reasons other than dishonorable discharge. Also, if your service was shortened due to an injury, illness, reduction in force or some other qualifying reason, the VA may still award home loan benefits in some cases even if you do not meet the minimum service duration requirements.

For more information about this topic and others, visit

*A VA Funding Fee is required, unless exempt.

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