The VA Loan was originally known as the GI Bill of Rights. This GI Bill was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. The law provided United States veterans to purchase a federally insured or guaranteed home with absolutely no down payment.
The VA loan has provided millions servicemen, veterans and their families to realize the American dream of home ownership. A VA Loan offers a variety of financial benefits for those that qualify. A VA loan requires no down payment, no mortgage insurance, and you can often get a better interest rate than a conventional mortgage loan. The other advantage of VA loan rates is that regardless of credit history, veterans will always qualify for the best rates available. VA loans can be used to buy a home, build a home, improve a home or to refinance an existing loan. All of these features combined can allow you to purchase a more expensive home that is within your budget. VA loans improves the overall economy of our nation.
Who Qualifies for a VA Loan
VA loans are very easy to secure if you fulfill the eligibility criteria. To be eligible, you must have served 181 consecutive days during peacetime or at least 90 consecutive days during wartime. Reservists also qualify as long as they have served for six years but the time doesn't have to have been consecutive. Widows of deceased veterans or prisoners of war can also qualify as long as they have not remarried, or the person has been MIA for at least 90 days. Special disability rates are also available for those who qualify. You also must have a VA Certificate of Eligibility in order to qualify.
How Much Can I Borrow with a VA Loan
The lender ultimately decides on the amount that they will lend. Lenders typically include banks, savings and loans, and mortgage companies. Many times, lenders will loan up to 4 times the entitlement without requiring a down payment from the borrower. Basic entitlement for a VA loan is $36,000, but quite often goes up to $60,000. Although there is no limit to the amount that can be borrowed, lenders will often not approve a loan for more than $359,000. To qualify for a loan, the first step is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (complete Form 26-1880). Call (800) 827-1000 for more information about VA programs.
VA Loan and Credit Qualifications
Since your VA loan eligibility depends on your debt ratio, it is wise to start thinking about fixing your credit long before actually applying for a VA loan. You can take steps on your own to increase your eligibility for a VA home loan. Eliminate as much credit card debt as possible. If you can get yourself down to a single card and stay that way for six months, you will be well on your way to improving your debt ratio and your credit rating. Remember that the maximum debt ratio allowed for approval is 41%. If you are within a few months of paying off a major debt such as an automobile loan, do so as quickly as possible. You'll most likely need to allow for credit reporting agencies to "catch up" with your newly paid off cards and loans.
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