If you are current or former military service member, you could be eligible to use a VA loan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA helps service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses purchase homes by backing loans that are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies.
What You Need to Know About VA Loans
In order to qualify for a VA loan, you need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility through the VA’s eBenefits system, through the mail or through your lender.
If you’re a veteran, you’ll need your DD-214. If you’re active duty, you’ll need to procure a current statement of service signed by your unit commander or higher headquarters, the adjutant or the personnel office or your branch. Your current statement of service needs to include:
- Your full name
- Your Social Security number
- Your date of birth
- Your active duty entry date
- The duration of any lost time
- The name of the command providing the information
If you are current National Guardsman or Reservist who has never been on federal active service, you also need a statement of service with the same information that active duty service members need.
If you are a surviving spouse, your lender can direct you to the appropriate VA forms.
Benefits of VA Loans
Usually, the guidelines for VA loans are more flexible than they are for conventional loans.
- With a VA loan, you don’t necessarily have to come up with a down payment; many veterans buy with nothing down.
- While the VA doesn’t require a specific credit score to back a VA loan, lenders typically have their own requirements.
- VA loans are only available to finance a primary homes; you can’t use it to purchase a vacation home or as vestment property.
One of the biggest benefits, though, is that the VA doesn’t require you to buy private mortgage insurance. Typically, you need to purchase PMI if you’re putting down less than 20 percent – but that’s not the case with a VA loan.
Are You Looking for a Home in Tampa Bay?
Call us at 727-584-8480 or 813-961-6000. You can also contact us online. We’ll help you find the perfect place to live.