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Bottom Line Up Front

  • VA loans are a great way for eligible Active Duty servicemembers, veterans and their families to buy or refinance a home.
  • No down payment is needed to purchase a home with a VA loan.
  • Getting preapproved for a VA loan is the first step. Then you’ll want to establish your eligibility with the VA.

Time to Read

5 minutes

July 14, 2022

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees loans made by qualified lenders, such as Navy Federal Credit Union, for the benefit of Active Duty servicemembers, veterans and their families.

Meeting VA home loan requirements can help you buy, build or renovate your home with no down payment. Because the VA backs a portion of each loan in their VA Home Loan Guaranty Program, lenders can offer more favorable terms for new home purchases and refinancing.

If you're looking to buy, refinance or remodel your home, a VA appraisal may be required to ensure the property meets minimum requirements set by the VA. Be sure to review VA home loan requirements to see if you qualify for a mortgage.

Your Path to Buying a Home With a VA Loan:

Navy Federal Credit Union makes the process easy for you. They’re a top VA lender and can help you determine if you meet VA home loan requirements and answer any questions along the way.

  1. Get preapproved for a loan. Receive a preapproval from Navy Federal and begin the home-buying process.
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This certificate from the VA confirms your military service and verifies you meet VA home loan requirements and are eligible to receive a VA-guaranteed loan. Your lender, such as Navy Federal, can establish eligibility and obtain a COE for you.
  3. Shop for a home. Work with a trusted real estate agent to find a home that meets your needs and fits your budget. Navy Federal can connect you with a qualified real estate agent in your area through our RealtyPlus® program.
  4. Sign a home purchase agreement. Make sure the purchase agreement that your real estate agent drafts has a VA option clause. This clause states that you aren’t legally bound to purchase a home if the VA appraisal amount is lower than the seller’s asking price.
  5. Get a VA appraisal. A VA-certified appraiser determines the home’s fair market value and looks for obviously needed repairs to ensure the property meets the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).
  6. Have the home inspected. Hire a professional home inspector to check the home’s structure for defects and to inspect items like electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems.
  7. Sign the closing documents. After the home closing, it’s official! Congratulations on your new home.

Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?

Active Duty servicemembers, veterans and their families are eligible. You or your spouse must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
  • Served 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • Served more than 6 years with the National Guard or Reserves
  • Are the spouse of a military member who lost their life in the line of duty, or as the result of a service-related disability. You usually cannot have remarried.

According to a recent report released by Navy Federal Credit Union,* not all eligible military members are aware that they can buy a home with a VA loan. Nearly 15% of respondents who had recently taken out a non-VA loan mortgage said they weren't aware of the VA loan benefit.

Can I Use My VA Loan Benefit More Than Once?

There’s no limit to how many times you can use your VA loan benefit as long as you meet eligibility requirements. The Department of Veterans Affairs can help you understand your eligibility.

The Navy Federal report revealed that even though a VA loan benefit can be used more than once, nearly half of Active Duty servicemembers and one-third of veterans who participated in a survey believe it can only be used once, according to Kantar.*

What Documents Will You Need?

Depending on your military experience, you’ll need certain documents to meet VA home loan requirements.

VA Loan Required Documents
Your Role What You'll Need
Active Duty Members
  • Statement of Service
  • Relevant information about breaks and discharges (these will need to be given by your superior officer before you apply for a COE)
Active Duty, Veteran, Current or Former National Guard or Reserve Member (activated)
  • Proof of an honorable service and discharge (DD Form 214)
Current Reserve or National Guard Member (never activated)
  • Statement of Service
  • Relevant information about breaks and discharges (these will need to be given by your superior officer before you apply for a COE)
Discharged National Guard Member (never activated)
  • Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22)
  • Retirement Points Statement (NGB Form 23)
Discharged Reserve (never activated)
  • Retirement Points Statement
  • Proof of an honorable service and discharge (DD Form 2014)
Surviving Spouse
  • Copy of spouse’s DD Form 214
  • Marriage license

Why Get a VA Home Loan?

  • Lower mortgage rates
  • Lower or no down payments1
  • Excellent refinance program that helps buyers lower their payments or get cash back on equity
  • Higher debt-to-income ratio allowed
  • More flexibility in the event of backruptcy or a foreclosure

If you're interested in buying a home with a VA loan, Navy Federal Credit Union can help. As a Top VA lender, they understand the unique needs of servicemembers and their families and can help you take advantage of the benefits you’ve earned.

Key Takeaways Key Takeaways



Product features subject to approval. Available for purchase loans only. Loans are subject to an additional funding fee, which may be financed up to the maximum loan amount. 

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.