Bottom Line Up Front
- Because VA loans are partially guaranteed by the VA, there are several benefits that eligible servicemembers and veterans are entitled to that can lessen the overall financial burden.
- More than just combat veterans can take advantage of VA loans to save money—and not just once!
If you’re a servicemember or veteran who’s in the market for a new home, you’ve probably considered getting a VA (Veterans Affairs) home loan. A VA loan has the potential to make homeownership significantly more affordable, with a number of advantages over other home loans. In fact, VA home loans can seem almost too good to be true.
Let’s break VA loans down to their atoms by busting some common myths.
Myth: I need a high credit score to qualify for a VA loan.
The VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score for VA loans. This means lenders are free to decide their own criteria for loan eligibility.
Myth: I can only use the VA loan benefits one time.
You can take advantage of the VA loan benefits at any time. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, such as length and character of service, the benefit is yours for life. Even if you’re refinancing or upgrading to a larger home, you’ll still be able to take out a VA home loan.
Myth: VA loans have higher interest rates.
A portion of every VA home loan is guaranteed by the VA. That means the lender can feel more confident in offering loans for lower rates and without a down payment. The VA’s guaranty also removes the lender’s need to require private mortgage insurance, saving you money every month.
Myth: Only combat veterans are eligible for VA loans.
Combat veterans are certainly eligible for VA loans, but they aren’t the only ones. Detailed information on eligibility requirements can be found at va.gov. Provided all service requirements are met, you may be eligible if you are a(n):
- Active Duty servicemember
- National Guard or Reserve member
- military veteran
- surviving spouse of a veteran
- Public Health Service officer
- Cadet at the U.S. Military, Air Force or Coast Guard Academy
- Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy
- Officer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Myth: It takes a long time to close on a VA loan.
While VA loans don’t close faster than traditional home loans, they don’t take significantly longer either on average.
Myth: VA loans have unexpected costs.
VA loans generally have fewer costs compared to other types of home loans. For example, most VA home loans require no down payment and no private mortgage insurance. Plus, before you even select a home loan, the lender is required to provide you a loan estimate. This document is usually a few pages long and gives an overview of important loan details, such as which closing costs are included and whether a certain estimated amount will increase after closing.
You should expect to pay a VA funding fee—equal to 0.5–3.6% of the loan amount—in addition to standard closing fees.
Take advantage of this benefit
There’s a lot to love about VA home loans. If you’re in the market for a home and want to save on your mortgage, Navy Federal is here to help. As a top VA lender, we understand the unique needs of servicemembers and their families and can help you take advantage of every benefit you’ve earned. Explore VA loans at Navy Federal.
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