VA loans offer Veterans and active duty service members the unique opportunity to purchase a home with $0 money down. This benefit extends to eligible Veterans, active service members, National Guard members, Reservists and surviving spouses.
Yes, you can get a VA loan if you served or are still serving in the National Guard or Reserves. Obtaining a VA loan as a Reservist or as part of the National Guard is very similar to regular military. The main difference is in the service requirements and the methods of verifying service and discharge status.
Like all other branches in the military, National Guardsmen and Reservists need to meet the time-in-service requirements to be eligible to take advantage of their VA home loan benefit.
Typically, time-in-service requirements for National Guardsmen and Reservist looks like this:
Outside of time-in-service requirements, National Guard and Reserve members need to:
For those members who meet the above requirements, your first step towards achieving the dream of homeownership is applying for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
You can obtain this through your lender, and as a Guard or Reserve member, it may be simpler to have the added help. According to the Army Human Resources Command, soldiers in process of buying a home and requiring a COE should consult their lender or real estate agent or check the eBenefits portal since the processing time from HRC is typically 90 days.
To obtain a COE, you'll need proof of service and discharge. National Guard and Reserve members do not have one form to show proof of service like the DD Form 214, which is the proof of service for regular military (and a document you may also have).
Instead, you'll likely need an NGB-22 or NGB-23 if you were in the National Guard or a points statement and a copy of your branch-specific discharge statement, such as a DARP Form FM 249-SE used by the Army Reserve.
Typically, all Reserve members receive an annual retirement points summary which indicates the level and length of participation.
Here’s a look at the documents your lender may need depending on your Reserve branch:
|Reserve Type||Documents You May Need|
|National Guard||NGB-22 or NGB-23|
|Army Reserves||DARP Form FM 249-2E or ARPC Form 606-E|
|Navy Reserves||NRPC 1070-124|
|Air Force Reserves||AF 526|
|Marine Corps Reserves||NAVMC HQ509 or NAVMC 798|
|Coast Guard Reserves||CG 4174 or 4175|
It's best to talk with a lender to determine eligibility, but you typically need six good years of retirement points, with at least 50 retirement points each year.
The VA does not require originals of these documents as long as the copies you submit are legible. For Guard or Reserve members who are still on duty, the VA instructs them to submit a statement of service signed by, or by the direction of, the adjutant, personnel office, or commander of the unit.
Outside of time-in-service requirements, lenders will have their own set of criteria to be eligible, including credit and income. If you're ready to take the first step towards homeownership, start by being informed. We've compiled the top VA lenders here to help you see which lenders work primarily with VA borrowers.