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VA Loan eligibility

Eligibility Requirements for Co-Signers on VA Loans

The VA guidelines recognize legally married spouses of qualified veterans as co-signers on VA loans, and lenders can include their income. These loans can be fully guaranteed by the VA.

The VA guidelines will allow for more than one eligible veteran to purchase a home. If more than one eligible veteran is involved, VA divides the entitlement charge equally between them, if possible. Provided the occupancy requirement is met, these loans can be fully guaranteed by the VA.

While the VA guidelines may allow for a non-veteran to co-sign for a mortgage loan, they will not fully guarantee the loan. The VA Guarantee is limited to that portion of the loan allocated to the veteran's interest in the property. That leaves lenders with more risk, since the VA will not put a guaranty on the non-veteran’s portion.

When used correctly, co-signing on a VA loan is a great boon, but it should not be done solely to increase income. Hitching to somebody else’s financial history can hurt your VA home loan application.

VA Loan Co-Signers’ Financial Strength

Adding a co-signer to a VA loan increases the prospective borrower’s income total, and makes them legally and financially bound to the loan. There’s no question it’s nice to have a bump in income, but at what cost?

If a co-signer can contribute income to the VA loan application, but has paltry credit and/or debt history, then the overall VA loan application will be affected, and probably not for the better. Keep in mind that your co-signer must consider the financed property as their primary residence.

VA lenders will consider the co-signer’s income, debts, liens, foreclosures, bankruptcies and credit score. VA lenders have varying requirements for credit scores and DTI ratios, but the better the co-signer’s numbers, the better chance of approval for a VA loan home.

Dual Entitlement

Co-signing a VA loan with another VA-eligible veteran or spouse can keep down payments out of the picture. But it’s important to communicate and have a plan in place concerning how to split up entitlement.

Unless the VA-eligible co-signer is your spouse, the VA must approve the pairing. Dual entitlement gives the borrowers the option of each using some of their entitlement, or having the primary signer use only his or her entitlement. Remember, the other veteran(s) will need to intend to occupy the home as their primary residence.

Non-VA-Eligible Co-signers

Some lenders will allow for non-spouse, non-veteran co-signers in what’s called a “joint loan.” Those come with down payments of 12.5 percent. Basically, the VA lender cuts the VA’s maximum guaranty of 25 percent in half because it will not assume the risk of the non-spouse, non-veteran co-signer.

Compare Top VA Purchase Lenders

Take the guesswork out of finding a VA Loan provider. Veterans United Home Loans created this site to educate and empower military homebuyers. Regardless of what lender you pick, it's always a good idea to compare and know your options.

  • NMLS #1907
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    • Veterans United ranks No. 1 in Customer Ratings for VA purchase lenders, according to ratings and reviews collected by TrustPilot.
    • In 2017, Veterans United closed 37,696 VA Purchase Loans, which was 9% of all VA Purchase Loans closed nationwide last year.
    • VA Loans were 97% of the company’s total loan volume.
  • NMLS #401058
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    • USAA ranks No. 5 in Customer Ratings for VA purchase lenders, according to ratings and reviews collected by TrustPilot.
    • In 2017, USAA closed 29,781 VA Purchase Loans, which was 8% of all VA Purchase Loans closed nationwide last year.
    • VA Loans were 70% of the company’s total loan volume.
  • NMLS #399807
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    • Navy Federal ranks No. 3 in Customer Ratings for VA purchase lenders, according to ratings and reviews collected by TrustPilot.
    • In 2017, Navy Federal closed 17,613 VA Purchase Loans, which was 5% of all VA Purchase Loans closed nationwide last year.
    • VA Loans were 48% of the company’s total loan volume.
  • Customer Ratings: Customer Ratings based on ratings and reviews provided by TrustPilot. VALoans.com is not affiliated with TrustPilot and has no control or influence on how users rate each lender.
  • 2017 VA Loans: Total VA loan volume for fiscal year 2017 as reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA Home Purchase, VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance, VA Cash-Out Refinance).
  • % VA Volume: Percentage of lender's total loan volume which is comprised of VA Loans, determined from Product Mix data found under Lender Search located here.