Our timely and informative VA loan articles cover topics like refinance options, real estate, credit issues, co-borrowers, VA funding fees, and frequently asked mortgage questions.


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VA Loan Articles

Read About News, Updates, and Guidelines

Credit Card Fraud and Your VA Loan Application

Recent headlines about big-box retailers who were victims of credit card fraud have resulted in thousands of people wondering if their accounts have been compromised. Potential VA borrowers have plenty of reasons to be concerned.

VA Loans for Guard/Reserve Members

Are you a member of the National Guard or are a Reservist interested in using your VA home loan benefits? Do you know what the basic eligibility requirements for using your VA loan benefits are?

Do VA Loans Require Flood Insurance?

Some borrowers want to know whether thereís a requirement for hazard insurance with VA home loans. A quick look at VA loan rules covering the hazard insurance issue, reveals a requirement for the lender to insure the home is protected.

VA Loan Employment Requirements: Time Spent at Your Current Job

VA loan rules can and do make exceptions for certain job requirements based on the nature of an applicantís training, skill levels, and overall employability, and permit loans for borrowers who are new to the civilian employment market .

VA Loan Maturity Rules: What You Should Know

VA loans have a variety of rules about the structure of mortgage loan payments, interest rate agreements, and the maturity date of the loan. Your VA loan payment structure will be spelled out in the loan paperwork.

VA Home Loans in Separate States?

Borrowers interested in buying a home with a new purchase VA mortgage are required to certify that they will live in the home personally and that the property is to be used for their personal occupancy.

Basic Rules You Should Know About ARMs

In the same way that the real estate market itself goes through cycles, so does the popularity of certain types of VA home loans. This has a lot to do with the general state of the economy and personal preferences.

VA Benefit Updates for Same Sex Couples and Joint Loans

This update to VA home loan rules includes a warning for same-sex married couples who may be eligible for VA mortgage loans. Since not all states recognize same-sex marriages, VA loan procedures and requirements may depend on the location of the borrower.

VA Loans for Dependent Children of Veterans?

VA loans are generally for only the veteran, veteran and spouse together, or the surviving spouse of a veteran under certain circumstances. Some non-veterans are allowed to apply.

Signing a Sales Contract Before VA Appraisal Results

When shopping for a home to purchase using a VA guaranteed home loan, sometimes there are situations where the borrower is asked to sign a sales contract before getting the results of the VA appraisal.

Refinancing VA Loans to Adjustable Rate Mortgages

There are two basic kinds of VA refinancing loans--the VA cash-out refinance loan and the VA Streamline Refinancing option also known as a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan or VA IRRRL.

VA Loans For Non-Home Use?

In general, VA loan rules donít allow for personal loans or other credit for uses other than buying a home. The VA loan program only guarantees new purchase home loans or refinancing loans.

VA Loan Interest Rates

Itís easy to assume that the Department of Veterans Affairs sets the interest rates on VA home loans, or that the VA has a hand in regulating those rates somehow. But the VA does neither.

Common VA Loan Questions: Entitlement Restoration

There are specific VA loan rules which must be followed in order to accomplish the restoration of VA loan entitlement, but they donít cover turnaround times or ways to expedite the restoration request.

VA Loans for Mobile Homes and Land Purchases

There are many people who want to know why some types of VA home loans aren't available, even though the VA loan program technically allows them.

Prepare for Your VA Home Loan

Are you ready to start the planning process for your first VA home loan? Newcomers to the VA loan process are often eager to know what they can do to prepare for the day they fill out their first VA mortgage loan application.

Can a Spouse Alone Apply for a VA Loan?

One not-so-frequently asked VA loan question (but one that is important to address regardless) involves the eligibility of a spouse to apply for a VA loan without the participation of the veteran.

Is Hazard Insurance Required for Suburban Homes?

Hazard insurance issues for suburban homes may differ from those of condos and townhomes, but one thing common to all hazard insurance policies is the issue of who receives the insurance payout if a claim on the insurance is necessary.

The Truth About VA Appraisals

The VA Lenderís Handbook has a wealth of information about VA appraisals and the appraisal process. In it, youíll find an entire chapter dedicated to appraisals and the rules that guide them.

Hazard Insurance for Condos and Townhomes

VA home loan rules do not include a requirement for private mortgage insurance. In essence, the VA holds the lender responsible for making sure the appropriate hazard insurance is obtained for properties that may be affected by known flood zones.

Owning Other Property While Applying for VA Mortgage

Borrowers should know that in cases where the debt-to-income ratio approaches 40% or higher, there may be difficulty with VA loan approval without compensating factors such as substantial cash reserves, a down payment, or other factors.

VA Loan Benefits for the Spouse Alone?

In general, VA loan rules that cover VA loan eligibility for a new purchase have specific guidelines for active duty, members of the Guard and Reserve, as well as regulations that address VA loan eligibility for military spouses in two separate categories

Are There Title Restrictions on VA Loans?

VA loans are assumable. The owner can allow another person to assume responsibility for the loan with the participation of the lender, and there should be no restrictions on the ownerís ability to sell the home.

VA Loan Funding Fee Rules for Second-Time Use

The amount of your VA loan funding fee (at the time of this writing) is calculated depending on a variety of factors: how much down payment is made on the VA loan, whether the borrower is or was active duty, Guard or Reserve.

VA Loan Funding Fee Exemptions and Second Time Use

When you buy a home with a VA mortgage, there are associated fees and expenses including VA appraisal fees, and the VA loan funding fee. Generally, all Veterans using the VA Home Loan Guaranty benefit must pay a funding fee.

The Good Neighbor Next Door Program

There are many types of VA home loans available for qualified borrowers, but there are some programs that accept VA loans that aren't as well known. One is known as the Good Neighbor Next Door program.

VA Loan Rules For Suriving Spouses

VA loan rules have special provisions for certain surviving spouses of military members who have died. There are many questions about this part of the VA loan program.

Can I Refinance an FHA to a VA Mortgage?

Some borrowers may have purchased their homes before being able to take advantage of their VA home loan benefits. Is there any way for a qualified VA borrower in such a situation to refinance to a VA mortgage?

VA Loan Discount Points

When the time comes to commit to the purchase a home with a VA mortgage, one of the things borrowers must do is to negotiate the interest rate on the loan with the lender.

The Rules for VA Joint Loans

There are VA loan rules for loans involving both spouses, more than one veteran borrower, and even loans where the mortgage is shared between a veteran and non-veteran.

VA Streamline Refinance Loans for Delinquent Mortgages

If you are experiencing difficulty making monthly mortgage loan payments and need to refinance into a lower mortgage payment, there may be help for you in the form of a VA Streamline Refinance loan.

VA Condo Loan Rules: Termite Inspections

The VA loan program has a variety of rules that protect the borrower--some of these rules involve fair lending practices, while others are concerned with the quality of the property to be purchased with a VA mortgage.

VA Refinance Loans and Eligibility

One common question about VA home loans and refinancing them goes something like this: I'm in the process of refinancing my home with a VA IRRRL. I plan on renting the house. Am I eligible to purchase a bigger house with my VA?

Confusion About the VA Occupancy Law

There is some confusion among VA borrowers about the rules of occupancy for new-purchase VA home loans. Some borrowers might assume occupancy laws permit them to rent out the home they have purchased with a VA mortgage, but what's the reality?

Spouse Income and Child Support

If the borrower resides in a community property state, spouse income may be counted. When it comes to child support, the spouse is not required to declare such income. However, child support cannot be counted unless it has been declared.

VA Loans for Non-Real Estate Use?

We are often asked about VA loans for purposes other than real estate. This is a common misunderstanding of the VA mortgage loan program, so from time to time it's a good idea to remind borrowers what and how VA loans can be used.

VA Loans, Credit Issues and Co-Borrowers

VA loans don't always involve a single borrower. Sometimes there are situations where co-borrowers, co-signers, and joint loan applicants want to apply for a VA guaranteed mortgage loan.

Qualifying for a VA Loan

There are a great many commonly asked questions about VA home loans, but one of the most-asked topics revolves around the issue of VA loan eligibility. One important issue connected to eligibility is the nature of an applicant's military discharge.

VA Loans and Seller Concessions

The VA home loan program is not the only type of government insured mortgage loan program. There are other programs available which, unlike VA loans are open to the general public.

VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan Program

The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan program (abbreviated as VA IRRRL) does require a VA loan funding fee. But, borrowers eligible for a this exemption should not assume that it is automatic.

About the VA Loan Funding Fee

The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan program (abbreviated as VA IRRRL) does require a VA loan funding fee. But, borrowers eligible for a this exemption should not assume that it is automatic.

VA Loans and Estate Agent/Broker Fees

Whether you went searching for an agent or came in contact with one at an open house or similar venue, agents and brokers can be helpful for some people looking for that perfect neighborhood.

Joint VA Loan Questions and Answers

There are lots of questions about VA home loans. One common source of confusion over the VA loan benefit includes circumstances where an eligible veteran wants to apply for a loan with another veteran.

VA Loan Eligibility for National Guard and Reserve Members

Reservists and members of the National Guard who are looking for a VA home loan should become familiar with the VA loan rules that spell out minimum periods of military service to establish eligibility for the VA loan benefit.

About VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan

If you seek lower monthly payments and a lower interest rate on an existing VA home loan, the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan or IRRRL is designed to help.

No Credit Check Refinancing

There are many questions about VA refinancing loans. One that comes up occasionally has to do with the credit check procedures associated with some kinds of VA refinance loans.

VA Loans and Title Insurance

Does the VA require title insurance? Some borrowers may discuss their VA loan options with a lender that does require title insurance, but is this a VA-mandated or lender required feature of VA home loans?

VA Home Loans: Does Age of the Home Matter?

The VA loan rule book does not specifically reference the age of a home. The important issue is whether the property, regardless of age, meets VA minimum property requirements and other criteria.

VA Loan Rules For Land Purchases

The VA Lender's Handbook has several things to say regarding the use of the VA loan benefit for land purchases. The borrower is required to apply for a construction loan and the land purchase loan at the same time.

Should I Refinance My VA Loan Now?

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been making interesting strides in its use of Twitter and other social media to help VA borrowers understand their benefits. The VA recently held the second-ever Twitter Town Hall Meeting on veterans benefit topics.

VA Loan Advice for Those Affected by Hurricane Sandy

Many veterans and their families were affected recently by the weather across several states, and the Department of Veterans Affairs went into action to inform and assist homeowners recovering from the damage.

VA Loan Maximum Loan Terms and Maturity Dates

One not-so-commonly asked question, but an important one to answer for some borrowers, involves the length or term of a VA home loan. Unfortunately, a new purchase VA home loan cannot be issued for a term longer than 30 years.

VA Growing Equity Mortgages

For those still shaking their heads at the housing market crisis of 2008 and beyond, the idea of a home with growing equity probably sounds unrealistic. A great many home owners are still struggling with underwater mortgages.

VA Loan Assumption Questions

In order to successfully process the loan assumption, the VA loan "must be current or will be brought current at the closing of the sales transaction". The person assuming the loan must be creditworthy.

VA Loan Policy Changes for Surviving Spouses

The passage of Public Law 112-154, known as the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 has resulted in several important policy changes for the VA loans program.

VA Expands Funding Fee Waiver Rules

The passage of Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 meant a great many changes to the VA loans program in 2012. One of those changes includes expanding the criteria for VA loan funding fee exemptions.

Major Change to VA Occupancy Rules

VA policy changes state that no one is allowed to buy a home with a VA loan without promising in writing that they will take possession of the home within a reasonable period and live on the property as their primary residence.

Requirements for VA Borrowers and Lenders

The VA Certificate of Eligibility is an indication to the lender that the VA loan applicant is eligible to apply for the home loan using the VA loan guaranty benefit, but is not a loan approval.

VA Loans for Two Homes?

A borrower can't have two VA mortgages because in most cases there would not be enough VA loan entitlement for more than one fully VA-guaranteed home loan at a time.

VA Loans For Home Improvements?

The VA loan program does not specifically offer a standalone home improvement loan. VA loan rules don't permit money back to the borrower on new purchase loans, so applying for a VA home loan on property you already own would not be allowed.

VA Loans and Divorce

VA field offices handle all sorts of common questions about VA mortgages. One of the common topics is related to what happens to a VA loan or the ability to apply for one after divorce.

VA Certificate of Eligibility Processing Via U.S. Mai

Applying for a VA Certificate of Eligibility by mail is the slowest method due to mail delivery schedules, receipt of the mail and processing at the VA, then finally getting the COE sent back by return mail.

More About VA Loan Funding Fee Refunds

There are many questions about VA loans and funding fees. Some borrowers find themselves in situations where they realize they weren't required to pay the funding fee but due to an oversight there were charged anyway.

VA Loan Pre-Purchase Advice

If you're ready to commit to buying a home with a VA mortgage, there are many issues the Department of Veterans Affairs would like you to know--the VA official site features several Frequently Asked Questions lists full of information.

VA Loan Funding Fee Refunds

Part of the cost of purchasing a home with a VA guaranteed home loan is the payment of a VA loan funding fee. Some borrowers are exempt from the funding fee, but not all veterans have their exemption status verified at the time of the loan application.

VA Loan Appraisal Rules For Electrical Systems

While the appraiser does not completely inspect the home from rooftop to sump pump, he or she is responsible for examining the home for defects or conditions that might affect the value of the home, safety, or suitability for the loan.

Is There A VA Loan Commuter Rule?

One commonly asked question for some applying for a VA home loan involves how far a borrower is permitted to live from his or her place of employment. Chapter Three of the VA Lender's Handbook offers some insights into this question.

Can a Surviving Spouse Refinance With a VA Mortgage?

The VA official site says that the unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran who died on active duty or as the result of a service-connected disability is eligible for the home loan benefit.

VA Loan Rules: The Mandatory Escape Clause

There are many questions about VA home loans, but not all of them come from the buyer's perspective. Sellers are also curious about the ins and outs of VA home loans.

Does the VA Restrict My Ability to Sell My Home?

When you buy your first home with a VA guaranteed mortgage, chances are good that you're not thinking about selling it when you close the deal. But people do wind up selling that first home sooner than they think.

Are VA Loans Available for Boats or RVs?

VA loans are designed to be flexible; when the program was created by the Department of Veterans Affairs, it was understood that there are all types of homes; some in the city, some in the country.

VA Benefits as Verifiable Income

When borrowers apply for a VA home loan, they are asked to list all sources of income for the purpose of verifying that income and using it to calculate a borrower's debt to income ratio.

VA Loan Eligibility Restoration for Second Home Purchases

VA borrowers who use their VA loan entitlement on a home loan can and do use their eligibility a second time once the first property has been paid in full or sold. But getting eligibility restored is nor automatic.

Are VA Loans Available for Rental Properties?

When a borrower signs the paperwork for a VA mortgage, he or she must also certify that the home is to be used by the veteran as the primary residence. At first glance, this would seem to preclude renting out the home.

Are VA Loans Available for Rental Properties?

When a borrower signs the paperwork for a VA mortgage, he or she must also certify that the home is to be used by the veteran as the primary residence. At first glance, this would seem to preclude renting out the home.

About VA Loans and Down Payments

First time home buyers who are eligible for VA home loans agree about one very attractive feature of these loans--the no down payment option. VA mortgage loans are available for the full reasonable value of the home you want to purchase.

What Happens to a VA Loan if the Borrower Dies?

VA borrowers might assume that if they die, the VA loan guaranty would pay off the remaining balance of the VA mortgage, but this is not true. According to the VA official site, the surviving spouse, where applicable, would assume the debt.

VA Home Loan Requirements for the Small Business Owner

Some believe it can be more difficult to obtain a VA home loan when self-employed or as a small business owner. The key to a successful VA loan application in such cases? Careful record keeping and an understanding of VA loan requirements.

VA Loan Appraisal Rules for Older Homes

The VA loan appraisal process can be mysterious to first time home buyers, but it's also sometimes confusing for first time sellers also. A first-time buyer who meets up with a first-time seller could have plenty of unanswered questions.

Closing Costs on Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans

VA borrowers have a refinancing option known as the Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan or IRRRL for short. These refinancing loans are offered to help lower interest rates, monthly payments, or both for qualified borrowers.

The Elimination of Down Payment Assistance Programs

Down payment assistance programs such as Ameridream, Grant America, and Nehemiah were common in the past, but in 2008 a bill was passed (H.R. 3221) that eliminated down payment assistance from charities.

Specially Adapted Housing Benefits From the VA

Veterans who receive, or are eligible to receive compensation for VA recognized injuries or handicaps may also be entitled to VA loan benefits above and beyond those typically available for eligible VA loan applicants.

VA Loan Eligibility Requirements

Among the basic rules and regulations governing the VA home loan program are the guidelines for eligiblity for the VA home loan benefit. Who can apply for a VA mortgage loan and when?

VA Loan Requirements for Potential Borrowers

To apply for a VA insured mortgage, potential borrowers are required to establish eligibility for this benefit with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This allows the VA to verify the borrower has met requirements and confirm eligibility with the lender.

Scams and What You Can Do About Them

In recent years, there have been reports of VA borrowers who being contacted by third-party companies offering help to VA borrowers in trouble on their home loans or facing the prospect of being underwater on a VA mortgage. Borrowers beware.

VA Home Loan Benefits For Disabled Vets

Did you know qualifying borrowers with VA-recognized disabilities may be eligible for special consideration for VA insured mortgages? It's important to know the benefits and assistance available based on your VA-recognized disability status.

VA Loan Rules for Currently Serving Military Members

Currently serving military members who want to apply for VA insured home loans should know about the rules for VA loan applicants within a year of their current re-enlistment, retirement or separation date.

VA Loans and Down Payments

One of the most attractive features of the VA home loan is the no-money-down option. Ask any lender and you'll discover it's hard to top the VA loan in this area--even the FHA insured loan program requires a minimum down payment for all buyers.

Refinancing Rules, Rental Income, and Occupancy

While there is no specific condition ruling out a VA loan while a borrower owns another home, VA loan credit requirements state a borrower must meet debt-to-income ratio rules and personally occupy the home funded by the VA mortgage.

VA Loan Rules on Refinancing Loans

There are many different ways to refinance a home loan. Some borrowers start off with conventional loans and decide later they'd like to use their VA benefits to refinance the home with a VA-insured mortgage.

Is There an Age Limit on VA Home Loans?

The VA loan benefit is offered to all qualifying veterans who have met their time in service requirements and/or discharge requirements. Some military people use their VA home loan benefits as soon as they are eligible.

VA IRRRLs, Credit Checks and Appraisals

Due to changes in VA loan regulations, some borrowers may be particularly concerned about their ability to qualify for VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loans or IRRRLs.

VA Loan Expenses and the Lender's Flat Fee

VA loans include fees and expenses a borrower is allowed to pay, but the Department of Veterans Affairs also has a list of expenses the bank is not allowed to charge the borrower.

VA Condo Loans and the Right of First Refusal

There are a wide variety of options available on the housing market, and there are VA mortgage loans for many of those options; you can apply for a VA loan to buy a town home, mobile home, duplex, even a condominium.

VA Loan Limits for 2012 Posted

In 2012, the Department of Veterans Affairs alters the methods used to calculate the VA loan maximum amount. If Congress passes legislation permitting VA to calculate maximum guaranty as it has in the past, the numbers below could increase slightly.

What Happens to the VA Loan if the Borrower Dies?

It's easy to see why people might mistakenly believe the VA loan guaranty is designed to pay off the mortgage should the borrower die before the loan has been paid in full, but the reality is quite different

How Much are VA Appraisal Fees?

When you're planning for a VA loan application, one important thing to do is to take into account the fees and expenses associated with a VA home loan. There are many fees you may be required to pay up front.

Minimum Property Requirements for Electrical Systems

If you're interested in buying a particular home with a VA-insured loan, that property must meet a set of minimum standards, called VA Minimum Property Requirements, or MPRs for short.

Applying for a VA Loan After a Short Sale

How long must a borrower must wait after a short sale before being eligible for a new VA mortgage loan? VA regulations stipulate a two year waiting period, but some situations are unique.

Are Appraisals Required for Every VA Loan?

VA appraisal rules insure that a home purchased with a VA insured mortgage is safe and habitable for the borrower; the rules are also designed to make certain the property lives up to VA standards.

Do VA Loans Require An Escrow Account?

VA loans have a variety of requirements, but not all of those requirements are part of the VA loan rulebook. Some are rules set and enforced by the lender.

VA Loan Requirements for Multi-Family Units

VA loans have a variety of applications. Did you know you can apply for a VA home loan for properties with up to four units?

Maximum Loan Amounts for VA Streamline Refinancing

VA Streamline Refinancing Loans can lower interest rates and monthly mortgage payments and are a good way to improve your bottom line. Did you know the VA Streamline Loan program actually requires payments to be lowered?

Veterans and Non-veteran Co-borrowers

The VA recognizes that some borrowers who team up to buy a home aren't always spouses, or even fellow military members. Some are co-workers or friends who share the expense and responsibility of home ownership.

VA Condo Project Approval

One frequently asked question about the VA loan process involves the inner workings of VA condo approval. VA mortgages aren't just for suburban homes, they can also be used for condos on the VA approved list.

VA Loan Eligibility

Not all types of VA loans are available at all lenders. You may be technically eligible to apply for a VA home loan for new construction or a mobile home, but the VA cannot force a lender to offer all types to home buyers.

VA Loans in Federal Disaster Areas

Did you know VA rules have specific instructions regarding mortgages on homes located in these areas with official disaster area status? What happens to a VA loan issued-or about to be issued- in a place that becomes a federal disaster area?

VA Loan Rules for Termite Inspections

House hunters often worry about the condition of older homes when it comes to termites--in some cases rightfully so. How can an untrained observer tell whether or not a home has been damaged or infested by termites or other pests?

Funding Fees for Loans Closed on or After 11/22/11

In November, 2011, President Barack Obama signed HR 674, the Vow To Hire Heroes Act. As part of that act, changes were made to the VA loan funding fee structure that cancelled out previous changes to the VA loan funding fee structure.

VA Loan Options for Military Couple

The phrase, "mil-to-mil" refers to a married couple who are both members of the armed forces. For married couples looking for a VA home loan, when both are in the military, there are a variety of options when it comes to using VA insured loan benefits.

Types of VA Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans

There are many different VA home loan benefits available to qualifying disabled veterans. They include special consideration for VA insured mortgages--qualifying disabled vets don't have to pay a VA loan funding fee, for example.

Itemized Fees for VA Loans and the Lender's 1% Flat Fee

There are many frequently asked questions about the various stages of the VA loan process. When VA borrowers move from applicants to approved borrowers and start getting ready to close the deal on a new home, the issue of fees, charges and other expenses

FHA Lowers Loan Limits: Does This Affect VA Loans?

The Federal Housing Administration issued a statement on August 19, 2011, announcing lower FHA loan limits for some counties located in the most expensive markets.

VA Home Loan Purchases: Basic Requirements

VA loan applicants often wonder about the eligibility of houses they're considering getting a loan for--sometimes the concerns are about the type of property, for some VA loan applicants the concern might be over the condition of the home.

All About VA MPR Waivers

House hunters who find a home they want to buy with a VA mortgage must have the home appraised by a VA-assigned professional before the loan can be approved. Each home appraised must meet the VA list of minimum property requirements.

Updated Resources for VA Borrowers

If you're looking into your VA home loan options and in need of some online resources to get more information on the program, there are a variety of official VA sites with more information.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and Your VA Loan

Military members have a form of financial protection thanks to legislation passed in 2003--the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Military members are required to notify creditors in writing using the procedure described in the SCRA.

Who Pays for VA Appraisals?

If you're new to the VA loan process, you'll learn you must pay both the initial appraisal and any required compliance inspection. The borrower is also required to pay if a second appraisal or a reconsideration of value is ordered.

Does The VA Limit My Ability to Sell the Home?

There are a lot of rules that regulate the real estate buying and selling process. Some are local ordinances, some are state law, and others are federal regulations. When it comes to buying a home with a VA mortgage, there are additional regulations.

VA Loan Rules for Homes With Lead Paint

VA rules for lead paint are specific and clear--the property to be purchased with a VA insured loan must meet the criteria listed above or be brought into compliance in order to qualify for a VA mortgage.

Refinancing Conventional Loans to VA Home Loans

The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act provides a variety of changes in benefits for military veterans, including the ability for qualified borrowers to apply for VA refinancing from conventional home loans into VA mortgages.

The VA Loan Funding Fee for Subsequent Use

The VA funding fee is used to help offset the cost to the government when a borrower gets a VA guaranteed mortgage. First time borrowers pay a lower VA loan funding fee than second-time borrowers.

VA Loan Rules for Land Purchases

It's easy to forget that a house in the suburbs is not the only option a first-time home buyer has with a VA home loan. There are plenty of options available from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Compensating Factors That Affect a VA Loan Application

The VA doesn't go by the debt-to-income ratio alone when it comes to judging the a VA mortgage loan application. In many cases there could be compensating factors that offset the borrower's higher-than-normal debt-to-income ratio or related issues.

Where Can I Purchase My Home?

Government rules and regulations give clear instructions as to how retired and separated veterans and currently serving military members apply and qualify a VA home loan.

VA Loan Down Payment and Funding Fee Issues

Making a down payment can be a financial burden to VA loan applicants on a tight budget. But some borrowers have different financial priorities. Borrowers do have the option of rolling the VA loan funding fee into the cost of the loan.

VA Home Loan Down Payment Facts

One of the most important thing a borrower can do when considering the purchase of a new home is to compare loans, loan types, and loan options. Once you begin making these comparisons, it's easy to see why many veterans choose a VA loan.

Income Verification When Employed for 12 Months or Less

Borrowers must show stable, reliable income that is, in the words of the Department of Veterans Affairs, likely to continue. The VA asks borrowers to provide at least two years worth of documentation for income and employment.

Occupancy Requirements and Military Retirement

Those who want to apply for a VA home loan when preparing to retire from the military have unique situation compared to other house hunters. Military members are allowed to go house hunting prior to retirement from the military.

VA Loans and Co-Borrowers

VA loans to individual borrowers are simpler than the requirements for VA loans to two or more borrowers. When two or more people are buying a property together, there are different VA rules which may apply in different situations.

VA Loan Eligibility and Short Sales

For those who have taken out VA mortgage loans in the past, gotten into financial trouble and had to resort to a short sale to avoid foreclosure, it's easy to assume you're locked out of the housing market because of those circumstances.

VA Home Loans and Short Sales

When a VA borrower starts having trouble making VA mortgage loan payments, sometimes the only alternative to foreclosure is a short sale--a transaction where the borrower agrees to sell for less than the property is worth.

Why VA Borrowers Should Avoid Foreclosure Proceedings

No veteran applies for a VA home loan thinking about default or foreclosure as a likely outcome of the loan application. But circumstances can and do change. It's important to know the implications of a foreclosure.

Do VA Refinance Loans Always Result in Lower Payments?

One of the most important facts about VA refinancing is that, based on the borrower's decisions along the way, refinancing may not necessarily result in a lower monthly payment. This is true even in cases where the borrower chooses a VA Streamline Refinancing loan.

When Do I Pay the VA Loan Funding Fee?

Buyers have the option to finance the VA funding fee or pay it in cash, but however the borrower chooses to pay, the funding fee must be paid at closing time. For those who expect to pay the fee, this isn't a problem, but what about borrowers who are exempt from paying the fee?

The VA Loan Lender's Flat Fee

When applying for a VA loan, the buyer agrees to a set of fees and charges which offset the costs of originating the loan.Those charges include the VA Funding Fee, closing costs, and the lender's flat fee which is calculated at one percent of the loan amount.

VA Loan Eligibility For Surviving Spouses

There are three sets of VA loan eligibility categories, all of which differ based on circumstances including the dates of service and what type of military service is on record. Surviving spouses of veterans who died while in military service don't need to submit any additional documentation apart from VA form 26-1817

VA Loan Advice to Avoid Loan Delinquency

Those interested in buying a home using a VA guaranteed mortgage don't close the deal on their dream home expecting financial trouble down the line. No one plans to fall behind on a VA loan payment, or risk foreclosure. The VA urges home owners to call the nearest regional VA loan center to get help at the first indication of financial difficulty.

Important Reading for VA Borrowers

Experienced house hunters and first-time VA borrowers alike have a a lot of important resources and information at their disposal. There is a lot written about VA borrower's rights, fair housing laws and other serious issues. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a list of recommended reading that's great for newcomers to the VA loan process.

VA Loan Downpayments and Maximum Loan Amounts

If you're looking for a VA guaranteed loan, you are probably curious about the maximum amount you are entitled to borrow using a VA home loan. Some borrowers are surprised to learn there is no fixed maximum amount applied as a nationwide standard.

VA Relocation Assistance Program

VA borrower wants to lose the home purchased with a VA guaranteed loan, but in some cases it's unavoidable due to personal financial issues, job loss, or other problems. Foreclosure is a difficult process-it negatively affects the borrower's credit rating and requires a waiting period before the VA borrower is eligible to try to buy a home again.

Military Retirement and VA Occupancy Rules

The VA does not offer loan guarantees for properties the borrower doesn't intend to live in. That means the borrower must certify he or she intends to live on the property full time once the VA loan approved and the deal is closed.

Exceptions to the VA Minimum Property Requirements

Any property to be purchased with a VA home loan must meet a list of Department of Veterans Affairs minimum property requirements or MPR for short. The list of MPRs wide range of issues from accessibility to health and safety.

VA Loan Limits for 2011 Now Available

A veteran with full entitlement available may borrow up to the 2011 VA loan limit shown below and VA will guarantee 25 percent of the loan amount. If a veteran has previously used entitlement that has not been restored, the maximum guaranty amount available to that veteran must be reduced accordingly.

VA Loans and Property Defects on Existing Construction

In situations where a VA borrower purchases a home, moves in, and discovers a construction defect, what options does the buyer have? In the case of a new construction home, the VA borrower has a year to file a complaint.

VA Home Loan Myths

Just like any government home loan program, VA loans have changing rules, requirements, and policies--some rules get altered by legislation, programs are canceled or modified, or otherwise no longer in effect.

VA Loans and Privacy Act Information

When the lender requests a credit report, the Social Security number insures the correct reports are pulled. The number is also used as a primary identifier in the Department of Defense record system; having the number insures the right person's data is being used properly.

Employment and Income Verification for VA Home Loans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has strict requirements for VA loan applicants about disclosing income, residency and other data necessary to approve a VA loan. Employment and income are two important factors; the VA needs a record of both in the form of pay stubs and Verification of Employment documents that are no more than 120 days old (or up to 180 days old in the case of new construction loans).

An Important Change to the VA Loans Program

In October of 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced an important change to the VA home loan guaranty program. Your VA loan benefits get many updates and alterations thanks to changes in U.S. legislation, new or expiring programs, even alterations based on national financial issues, natural disasters or other situations.

VA Loan Eligibility: How Long Do I Have to Serve?

The VA home loan is a benefit Americans receive from the government for serving their country as part of the military. Like many other benefits, VA loans have requirements the recruit must fulfill before they can be considered eligible to apply.

How Much Does the Buyer Pay Up Front?

The VA does have a list of items the buyer may pay for as part of the home loan process. Some costs associated with a VA mortgage may to be financed as part of the loan, some may not.

How Much is the VA Loan Funding Fee?

It's common knowledge among vets, active duty service members and their families that the Department of Veterans Affairs offers VA home loans. What's not so common knowledge is how the government pays for it all and how VA borrowers contribute to the program.

VA Specially Adapted Housing Grants

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers the Specially Adapted Housing Grant, or a 2101(a) grant intended for disabled veterans. This grant is meant to offset the cost of specially adapted housing.

VA Refinancing for Delinquent Home Loans

Fortunately for VA borrowers, there are VA-guaranteed loan products designed specifically to lower interest rates and monthly payments. One of those, the Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan or IRRRL for short, allows a buyer to refinance an existing VA home loan and get lower monthly payments

Help For VA Borrowers Affected by the Gulf Oil Crisis

In the wake of the Gulf oil spill crisis, many mortgage companies are waiving late payment penalties and credit reporting for home owners affected. Did you know that some VA lenders are also offering help for vets affected by the crisis?

Ineligible VA Loan Purposes

VA loans are designed to help eligible current and former military members get affordable housing. A VA loan often offers more lenient underwriting terms than many conventional loans, but qualified applicants do have restrictions on the uses of a VA home loan.

Selling a Home Purchased with a VA Loan

One of the most frequently asked questions about having a VA guaranteed mortgage has to do with the ability to sell the property. Is the borrower on a VA mortgage restricted in any way from selling the home? For an outright sale of the property, the answer is no.

VA Loan Fees the Borrower May Not Pay

Did you know the VA lender or seller can't charge the borrower for attorney's fees? If the buyer chooses to pay for his or her own attorney, that's the buyer's call-but the buyer can't be charged for the bank's legal representation.

How to Avoid Default or Foreclosure on a VA Mortgage

The best protection against default of a VA loan and foreclosure is knowing what resources are available and what actions can be taken before things get to the breaking point with a VA mortgage.

VA Loan Entitlement and Eligibility

If you're a military member or veteran in the market for a VA home loan, there are two basic things you need in order to get the process moving. One is your basic eligibility for the VA mortgage itself, the other is how much of that entitlement you have coming.

The VA Loans Escape Clause

When a first-time homebuyer applies for a VA loan and gets pre-approved for the VA mortgage amount, it's time to start looking for a property. The next steps in the process include finding the right house, making an offer, and getting it accepted.

VA Loans and Seller Concessions

When buying a home with a VA loan, the seller can offer concessions that make the sale more attractive to the buyer. Seller concessions often take the form of gifts. A typical gift example would be the seller including an appliance or a television in the sale of the home.

VA Loan Fees for Construction, Repair and Alterations

Just like conventional loans, VA home loans come with a set of fees and costs associated with buying the home. There are costs related to assessments, credit reports, and flood zone determination.

VA Loans For Second Homes?

The rules on VA loan eligibility are fairly simple. If the first property is sold and the VA mortgage completely paid off, VA borrowers can apply to have their eligibility to take out a VA home loan restored. The key to applying is to have the loan paid in full with no outstanding payments due.

Eligibility for a VA Home Loan

Your VA home loan journey starts with VA Form 26-1880-- the application for a Department of Veterans Affairs Certificate of Eligibility. Who must use this form to begin the VA loan application process? Everyone eligible to use the benefit.

VA Appraisals: Physical Defects vs. Potential Problems

VA rules and regulations require buyers to be protected from property defects and other issues that are discoverable during the inspection, but its up to the buyer to research the surrounding area to determine if there are bigger issues that may require additional insurance.

Does Zoning Matter for VA Loans?

Many VA borrowers use their VA loan benefits to buy and own homes in traditional neighborhoods, but you shouldn't feel limited to these areas when looking for a new home.

What is Verifiable Income?

Did you know the lender is required to verify the borrower's income on a VA home loan? If you have experience with conventional loans that won't surprise you--it's a standard part of the lending process.

Military First Time Homebuyer's Tax Credit Still Available

The deadline for the Home Buyer's Tax Credit has been extended one year for members of the military. If you take out an FHA, VA or conventional home loan and close on the house in 2011 you can claim the tax credit on either your 2010 or 2011 income tax.

Shopping for a VA Home Loan? Know the Details.

Did you get a pre-approved loan amount before shopping for that dream home? That can be an important first step to smooth the way during a serious house-hunt, and that's just one bit of advice many wish they had gotten when they first started out.

VA Loan Fees That Borrowers Should Anticipate

An informed buyer is a prepared buyer. If you know about your responsibilities to pay the cost of assessments, credit reports, and flood zone determination for the VA loan you can start saving now or make plans to offset the cost when the time comes.

What Is The DD214?

When military members out-process as part of retirement or separation, getting the DD214 is one of the last things to happen. Some companies offer to get your DD214 for a fee. While this is not technically illegal, it is misleading.

Proof of Service Requirements for VA Home Loans

In order to be approved for a VA home loan the VA requires you to provide a signed statement from your unit commander or a designated representative--a statement that lists you by name, rank, Social Security number and also the nature of your current active duty service commitment or the length of your current assignment.

2010 BAH Rate Chart

The Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH for short, is a military benefit that comes in handy when applying for an FHA loan or VA home loan because it provides the lender with an easy-to-measure proof of a veteran's ability to pay a mortgage.

VA Appraisals--What's Involved?

What does a property need in the way of a VA appraisal before it can be successfully considered? Many first time homebuyers are nervous about the appraisal process-what if that dream home doesn't pass the inspection? Do a few defects automatically disqualify a home from being considered for a VA loan?

What is a VA Compromise Sale?

If you purchased a home using a VA loan when the market was strong, you might not have anticipated selling the home under today's conditions.

VA Loan Applications: Your Credit Report

Do you have outstanding issues on your credit score that are still unresolved? You'll need to start the process of fixing those problems and get them resolved before it's safe for you to apply for a VA mortgage loan

VA Loan Assumption--What Veterans Need to Know

At one time, all homes purchased with a VA loan were considered assumable, but since then the rules have changed. Do you know the circumstances where you are allowed to sell the home and have the seller assume the VA mortgage?

What Does the VA Use to Approve VA Mortgage Loans?

VA mortgage guidelines require two basic methods to determine if you qualify for a loan. The first is a look at your income--called the residual income method. The second qualification criteria is called the debt-to-income ratio.

Is VA Loan Eligibility Part of VA Death Benefits?

When a veteran dies, the surviving spouse is entitled to certain VA death benefits, including any SGLI life insurance arrangement, military burial honors, death pensions for war veterans, and certain VA home loan benefits.

VA Property Standards and Well Water

For those who want a VA mortgage on property in rural or remote areas, well water can be a big issue. VA rules do allow you to buy land with a well as the primary water supply, but there are stipulations.

Home Appraisals and Inspections for Your VA Loan

Inspections and appraisals don't act as guarantees that the home you are buying is completely free of defects. As the buyer, you owe it to yourself to completely examine the property before you commit to your VA mortgage.

Does the VA Own Property for Sale?

As in any other part of the housing market, some homes purchased with VA loans wind up being repossessed and resold. When these homes are repossessed, they are sold through a company called BAC Loan Servicing.

VA Loans for Custom Homes 101

VA loans for custom home construction are definitely available to qualified borrowers. The good news about a VA home loan for a custom home is that the borrower doesn't make a single mortgage payment until the project is complete.

VA Borrowers and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Some military members on active duty who encounter financial hardships turn to a provision called the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, or SCRA, which is designed to provide a little financial leeway when needed the most.

VA Streamline Refinance Loans, Marriage, and Divorce

If you took out a VA loan and want to apply for VA Streamline Refinancing, there are a few guidelines to be aware of when it comes to changing marital status, co-borrowers, and other factors that related to getting married, divorced, or re-married.

Why Can't I Get My VA Loan Eligibility Restored?

Some veterans who take advantage of their VA loan benefit don't think about using it again, but there are several circumstances where a borrower can get their VA home loan eligibility restored.

Veterans Administration Reaching Out to Homeowners

Servicemembers who find themselves in dire financial straits often don't realize just how much assistance is available from VA sources. That's one reason why the VA started its financial counseling hotline.

What is a VA Compromise Sale?

If you put your home up for sale and get an offer lower than the payoff amount on the VA home loan, you can send a request to the VA for a compromise sale so VA can step in to pay the difference between the offer and the VA mortgage balance.

VA Occupancy Rules

When you start preparing to apply for a VA home loan, the VA occupancy rule is one of the first things you'll learn about. In order to be approved for a VA mortgage, you must certify you intend to use the home as your main residence.

Can a VA Appraisal Hold Up My Loan Application?

A VA appraisal must be conducted and finalized before you can move forward on any VA loan. The purpose of the inspection includes setting a value for the property and identifying things that must be corrected.

VA Loans for National Guard and Reserve Members

Members of the National Guard or Reserves are not immediately eligible for a VA loan, but they become eligible once they meet the requirements for time in service. This is true even if you serve active duty time with the National Guard or Reserves.

The Difference Between a VA Guaranty and a VA Loan

One of the most common misconceptions lenders must dispel about VA mortgages is where the funds come from. Private banks issue the actual VA mortgage-no money comes from the VA itself.

Types of VA Loan Repayment Plans

There are five basic types of VA loan options, including the Traditional Fixed Payment Mortgage, Graduated Payment Mortgage, Growing Equity Mortgage, Traditional ARM, and the Hybrid ARM.

What is a Joint VA Loan?

The joint loan is permitted by the VA, but there are conditions. The VA guaranteed loan is only extended to the veteran and the other applicant is not backed by the guaranty. This means there's no "coverage" on the non-veteran's end.