VA Loan Articles
VA Loans for National Guard and Reserve MembersIf you are a veteran of a foreign war, an active duty service member or a former active duty member who meets specific time in service requirements (90 continuous days for most active duty personnel serving today), you are eligible for a VA mortgage loan. (That eligibility is of course pending credit requirements and the other typical issues associated with applying for a home loan.)
Unfortunately, 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. In order to qualify for a VA home loan, Guard and Reserve troops must serve at least six years under Title 10 of the U.S. Code. VA loans may not be automatic for today's newest Guard or Reserve troops, but while they wait to become eligible, there are other options available. You may qualify for a HUD or FHA veteran's loan based on a variety of criteria.
One strategy you might consider if you don't want to wait until your six year anniversary with the Guard/Reserve? Apply for an FHA veteran's loan and purchase the home, then do a VA refinance loan. You may qualify for an interest rate reduction and other perks in cases like these, though chances are if you have an FHA home loan the interest rates may be more competitive with a VA loan. Even so, refinancing with a VA home loan makes sense for many, especially if you want to upgrade the home to energy efficient features at a later time.
If you are in the Guard or Reserve and are close to your six year anniversary in the service, it may make sense to wait a bit and start preparing for a VA mortgage early. Do your preliminary credit investigation and debt reduction measures now to prepare for the VA mortgage application. If you discover complications on your credit history you need to clear up or if you need some extra time to reduce your debt-to-income ratio, you'll have it. You can also use the extra time to shop for the lender with the most competitive terms--always an important part of the home loan process. Find a lender willing to work with you for the best terms, and you'll be ready to apply for your VA mortgage loan with confidence.