Skip to Content
Mortgage Research Center, LLC: Not affiliated or endorsed by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs or any govt. agency. NMLS #1907. Not available in NY. Legal
Advertiser disclosure
A young military family smiles at the camera.

Guide to Joint VA Loans

Get Started on Your VA Loan . Compare top VA Lenders and check your eligibility for $0 Down today. →

The VA loan allows for a handful of different co-buying options when applying for a VA loan.

First, the Veteran can take a loan out themselves, without a co-borrower. Second, the Veteran can take a loan out with a spouse or another Veteran. And last, it's also possible for a Veteran to take out a joint loan with a non-veteran, non-spouse.

However, these types of joint VA loans come with additional conditions.

What are joint VA loans?

A joint VA loan is a type of mortgage where a Veteran and another person are liable for the mortgage and both own the property. Joint VA loans look slightly different from a traditional VA purchase loan because the VA guaranty will only cover the Veteran's portion of the loan.

Types of joint VA loans

Veteran and non-Veteran joint loan

When a Veteran pairs with a non-Veteran non-spouse on their VA loan, they may be required to have a down payment.

In this case, the non-Veteran borrower will likely have to pay a down payment on the part of the loan that is not guaranteed by the VA.

Veterans interested in taking out a loan with a spouse who is not a Veteran — or is a Veteran not using their entitlement — will not take out a joint VA loan. VA loans with spouses are handled differently from joint VA loans.

In this type of joint VA loan, the Veteran borrower’s income must be enough to cover the non-Veteran’s portion of the loan in the event they are unable to pay it. All members of the loan, whether they’re a Veteran or not, must have a credit score that is deemed acceptable by the lender. The VA does not set a minimum credit score, but most lenders require a score of at least 620.

Two Veteran joint loan

This loan type occurs when two or more Veterans are looking to use their entitlements while co-borrowing. Each Veteran’s entitlement will be applied to their portion of the loan, and the borrowers will split the cost of the funding fee.

Unmarried military couples can get a joint VA loan if they are interested in using both of their VA loan entitlement toward the same property. Any person using their entitlement on the loan is required to occupy the home as their primary residence.

The credit scores and incomes of all borrowers will be considered in the loan process, though one borrower with a higher income can compensate for a co-borrower with a lower income.

Should I use a joint VA loan?

There are a few situations where it makes sense to use a joint VA loan to purchase a home:

You can’t qualify on your own

If your income isn’t high enough or you have more debt than the recommended debt-to-income ratio, you may have trouble getting a VA loan on your own.

You need more VA loan entitlement

If you currently own a home and are looking to purchase another home before selling your current one, you would have access to more entitlement if you apply for a joint VA loan with another Veteran who still has full entitlement.

You’re interested in a larger multi-family home

If you’re co-borrowing with other Veterans, you’re eligible to purchase a larger multi-family home than would traditionally be allowed. With a typical VA loan, you can purchase a multi-family home with up to four units With a joint VA loan, however, you can purchase a multi-family home with one unit for each Veteran co-borrower in addition to the typical four units. For example, two Veteran co-borrowers could purchase a multi-family home with up to six units in it.

Pros and cons of joint VA loans

Pros

  • You will likely be able to afford a more expensive home than you could on your own because the incomes of all borrowers will be taken into account.
  • You can potentially purchase a home with no down payment if all borrowers are using VA loan entitlement.

Cons

  • One or more of the borrowers may have to pay a down payment if they are not VA loan-eligible or are not using their entitlement.
  • You will have to work with co-borrowers to make decisions in the homebuying process.
  • Your entitlement may be tied up, and you typically cannot restore that entitlement until your loan is paid off and your house is sold.

How are joint VA loans calculated?

When lenders approve a joint VA loan, they follow a specific process to calculate the exact amount guaranteed by the VA:

  1. Divide the total amount of the loan by the total number of co-borrowers on the loan.
  2. Multiply that amount with the number of Veteran borrowers using their entitlement on the loan.
  3. The lender will calculate the maximum potential guaranty from the VA based on the amount calculated in Step 2.
  4. The VA will guarantee the lesser of the maximum potential guaranty calculated in Step 3 or the combined entitlement available for all Veteran co-borrowers on the loan.
  5. The VA will then charge any Veteran co-borrowers’ available entitlement based on the amount of the guaranty.