Written by 2:38 pm Finance and Insurance

What Makes a VA Loan Such a Valuable Benefit?

A Veteran’s Affair (VA) Loan is known to be one of the best benefits for current and retired military members and their families. Let’s dive deeper into what makes the VA Loan so special.

A VA Loan is a home loan designed to help finance homes for veterans, eligible members of the military and some surviving spouses. To be eligible to apply for a VA Loan, a military member must serve 90 consecutive days on active duty during a time of war, 181 days during peacetime, or six years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard. A VA Loan is guaranteed by the government but made by qualified lenders such as banks or independent mortgage companies. Because the government guarantees the loan, lenders can approve borrowers with more flexible lending standards.

Loans Start at Zero Down

The VA Loan is one of the few loan programs available that does not require a down payment, allowing a more accessible entry to homeownership for military members and veterans. VA buyers are required to pay a funding fee at closing time, which ranges from 0.5–3.3% of the loan, depending on the veteran’s service and loan type. Unlike closing costs, which are an out-of-pocket expense, you can finance the VA funding fee and wrap it into your monthly mortgage payments. If you are retired or discharged on disability, you might be eligible to have your funding fee waived.

No Need to Pay Private Mortgage Insurance

One reason the VA Loan remains one of the best benefits available to service members and veterans is that borrowers are not required to pay costly private mortgage insurance, typically required when putting less than 20% down on a loan. Private mortgage insurance typically costs between 0.5–1% of the loan amount. That means on a $100,000 loan, you could pay as much as $83.33 per month in private mortgage insurance. Eliminating private mortgage insurance saves VA borrowers up to hundreds of dollars per month.

Competitive Rates and Flexible Credit Requirements

Typically, VA Loans have lower interest rates than conventional ones because the mortgage is backed by the government, making the loan less risky for lenders. The reduced risk also allows for more flexible credit requirements. So if your credit score is less than perfect, don’t panic. Plus, VA Loans are more forgiving when bouncing back after a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale.

Your BAH Could Cover Your Mortgage Payments

In many cases, your mortgage could be less expensive than the money you get from your BAH, so you could potentially end up with more money in your pocket by purchasing a home with a VA Loan. Additionally, if you’re an active duty military family receiving BAH, that money could count toward your qualifying income for a VA Loan, giving you more purchasing power. Of course, this will depend on where you live, your rank and years of service. It’s the only loan program that could cost you nothing upfront because you don’t have a down payment.

Sellers Can Pay Borrower Closing Costs

VA Loans allow the seller to pay closing costs, which further reduces the out-of-pocket costs for the buyer. This program is also the only loan program enabling your seller credit to pay down a credit balance, such as a credit card debt or car loan.

If you’re active duty, a reservist or retired military member looking to take advantage of the VA Loan benefit, contact one of our Mortgage Loan Originators. As a local lender, we’re here to guide you through the mortgage process from start to finish.

NMLS# 101561. Howard Hanna Real Estate Services is not a mortgage lender. Offer of credit is subject to credit approval. Contact Howard Hanna Mortgage Services for mortgage products and eligibility. Howard Hanna Mortgage Services is licensed by: The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities as a Mortgage Lender – License number 21415. The Ohio Department of Commerce – Division of Financial Institutions – License number RM.804531.000. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, First Mortgage Broker/Lender License number FL0022570, Second Mortgage Lender Registration number SR0022571. The West Virginia Division of Banking – License number ML-20884. The North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks – License number L-215626. The State of South Carolina State Board of Financial Institutions – Mortgage Lender/Servicer License number MLS-101561. Contact a Howard Hanna Mortgage Loan Originator for full details. 1000 Gamma Drive – Pittsburgh, PA 15238 and 6000 Parkland Blvd. – Mayfield Hts., OH 44124. (800) 400-4622 mortgage@howardhanna.com.

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Last modified: May 5, 2023