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How to Qualify for a VA Loan

March 1st, 2010 - 2:21 PM

This post was written by guest blogger Nathaniel Broughton with vamortgagecenter.com, a mortgage lender specializing in government guaranteed home loans. If you are a veteran considering a home purchase, you may find this information a helpful resource.  Keep in mind that as a veteran, you also qualify for a military moving discount with ABF U-Pack Moving. Thank you for serving. 

Qualifying for Government Guaranteed Home Loans

Military members and their families spend a lot of time in transit.
From base relocations to overseas deployments, those who serve our country are often faced with frequent relocation. All that moving can put a strain on families and finances.
But military members and their families have access to a unique home lending program that helps streamline the home-buying process. Since 1944, more than 18 million service members have become homeowners through the VA Loan Guaranty Program.
In short, the government guarantees a portion of a qualified borrower's mortgage. That guarantee gives lenders a greater degree of security and often leads to great rates for veterans and active duty military.
VA loans are one of the last remaining ways qualified buyers can purchase a home with no money down. They also come with a host of other significant financial benefits.
Qualifying for a VA loan
Most military members find these loans easier to obtain than conventional financing. Those interested in VA loans must first meet the agency's eligibility requirements. Currently, prospective borrowers must be:
-Military members who've served 181 days on active duty or three months during war time may be eligible.
-People who have spent at least a half-dozen years in the National Guard or Reserves
-Spouses of those killed in the line of duty
Service or family members who meet the initial criteria must then file a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a formal governmental document that basically attests to an individual's ability to participate in the program. Often service members will be required to include proof of service.
The COE can be obtained through the VA website or through a qualified VA broker or lender, like vamortgagecenter.com.
VA officials will examine the COE and other relevant information and decide whether an applicant can participate in the program.
The VA loan program has no formal credit or income requirements. Agency officials will look at your work and financial history as a whole. But VA-approved lenders will likely require a credit score of at least 620.
Loan Limits
The VA currently operates with loan limits that vary depending on where you live. Throughout most of the United States, those who qualify for a VA loan can purchase a home worth up to $417,000 without a down payment. In some high-cost areas of the country, that price is actually higher.