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    VA Loans: What Are They? What Are the Advantages?

    What Is a VA Loan?

    VA loans are home loans for the purchase of a primary residence available to consumers who have served or are presently serving in the U.S. military. While the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not lend money for VA loans, it backs loans made by private lenders (banks, savings and loans, or mortgage companies) to veterans who qualify.

    Who Is Eligible for a VA Loan?

    • Veterans
    • Active-duty personnel
    • Reservists/National Guard members
    • Some surviving spouses
    What Are the Benefits of a VA Loan?

    There are many, as taken directly from the Veterans Affairs site:

    • No down payment required (unless required by the lender or the purchase price is more than the reasonable value of the property).
    • Buyer informed of reasonable value.
    • Negotiable interest rate.
    • Ability to finance the VA funding fee (plus reduced funding fees with a down payment of at least 5 percent and exemption for veterans receiving VA compensation).
    • Closing costs are comparable with other financing types (and may be lower).
    • No mortgage insurance premiums.
    • An assumable mortgage.
    • Right to prepay without penalty.
    • For homes inspected by VA during construction, a warranty from builder and assistance from VA to obtain cooperation of builder.
    • VA assistance to veteran borrowers in default due to temporary financial difficulty.
    How Can Veterans Get VA Loans?

    Veterans can apply for a VA loan with any mortgage lender that participates in the VA home loan program, but will need a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA to prove to the lender they are eligible for a VA loan. Lenders can also get the certificate on behalf of their clients.

    How to Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility and What Evidence You’ll Need to Get the Certificate

    Click here for eligibility requirements

    How Big of a VA Loan Can a Veteran Get?

    2013 VA County Loan Limits : According to the VA there is “… no maximum that[1] an eligible veteran may borrow using a VA-guaranteed loan.” However, there are county limits that must be used to calculate the VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. Generally, an eligible veteran can get a loan up to $417,000 with no money down and in some high-cost places, up to $1,094,000.

    Other Resources

    General info about VA loans, click here.

    General FAQ page for VA loans, click here.

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