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VA Loan Options for Military Couples

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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.

Option 1: A common choice is for one spouse to use all of his or her VA loan entitlement for the mortgage, allowing the other spouse to reserve entitlement for later use. A spouse would only be financially obligated on the VA loan if he or she co-signed or co-borrowed on the mortgage or in cases where the loan originates in a community property state.

Option 2: One spouse could use his or her remaining VA loan entitlement (any left over from a previous VA home loan) with the other spouses, providing the majority of the VA loan entitlement. This would apply in situations where one partner in a mil-to-mil couple previously owned a home purchased with a VA mortgage and no longer has 100% entitlement but does have some VA loan entitlement left over to use for the new mortgage.

Option 3: The mil-to-mil couple could split their entitlement evenly for a joint VA home loan. In this case, both spouses carry financial obligation for their half of the mortgage. The loan agreement would feature equal amounts of VA loan entitlement from each party named on the mortgage.

Occupancy rules are straightforward for mil-to-mil couples. In all the situations mentioned here, the VA Lender's Guide says, "Any person who uses entitlement on a joint loan must certify intent to personally occupy the property as his or her home. Any borrower on a joint loan who does not use entitlement for the loan (such as a nonveteran), does not have to intend to occupy the property."

That means two married veterans using their VA loan entitlements separately could not purchase two homes at once with VA loans for the purpose of using one as an investment property or summer home. The borrower(s) must intend to occupy the home purchased with a VA mortgage.

Military couples seeking a VA loan have a unique opportunity to acquire a loan with very favorable terms. Talk with your lender to evaluate these options and to make sure your entitlement is used effectively.