The Home Buying Process for Veterans
Buying a home is an involving process for anyone. For veterans, though, it's a little different due to the special considerations by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Here is an in-depth guide on how to go about the home buying process for veterans.
The VA makes it easy for military members and veterans to access housing financing by sponsoring loans. Most VA loans do not require down payments or private mortgage insurance.
Before settling on a loan, you have to research deeply to ensure you meet all the requirements, and that you can afford regular repayments. When choosing a VA loan, veterans have to consider how the loan compares to conventional loans, understand the rates, level of financing, and the restrictions on use.
VA loans require certification as one of the qualifications. The certificate of eligibility comes with conditions like:
- Having lasted over 90 days of service during a war.
- Having served over 180 service days during peacetime.
- Six years of service in the National Guard or Reserve.
- A surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty.
Once you have the Certificate of Eligibility (CoE), you can apply for VA loans for your home. That is the only way to take advantage of the several benefits that come with the loans.
Here are some of the top VA loans.
The VA-backed Purchase Loans is the best option to look for if you want to buy a house without making a down payment. The loan comes with competitive interest rates. It does not require you to have any form of mortgage insurance. It also charges fewer closing costs and no penalty when you pay off the loan earlier.
To qualify for Purchase Loans, you must have the CoE and meet the lenders' terms on income and credit. You must also be intending to live in the house you are seeking to buy as your primary residence.
Take time to compare the terms and rates of different lenders; they all come with specific provisions for the loans.
Related: Top 5 Loan Benefits for Veterans
Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program
NADL is a VA loan program that provides home loans for Native American veterans who qualify. You can use the loan to improve, build, or buy a home on federal trust land. You can also use it to reduce an existing NADL loan.
The first qualification for NADL is being a Native American. However, a non-native veteran married to a native non-veteran qualifies for the loan. A proper American native group or a Tribal organization must agree to participate in the process.
Visit your local authority to determine if you qualify for NADL. If you are eligible, you can visit the VA offices to start the application process.
NADL comes with the benefits of VA, like no down payment or the need for private mortgage insurance. It also charges no early repayments if you decide to clear earlier.
The loaning process is easy and straightforward. Determine if your tribal organization has a standing provision. You will then provide the CoE, and apply for the loan. Your application goes through a VA preliminary credit review. After this, you can identify your property and develop it.
Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)
Also known as the VA Streamline Refinance Program, the IRRRL is a loan for homeowners who already hold VA loans. IRRRL helps to shorten long term loans or refinance debts at a lower interest rate. You can also use it to get a fixed-rate mortgage from an adjustable-rate mortgage.
The IRRRL is one of the most accessible and most flexible VA loans available. Unlike the other VA loans, it does not require you to have a CoE or a home appraisal. Your eligibility for the loan does not depend on your income. It is a fast and efficient loaning system which has made it popular among the veterans and military family.
The only catch is that you cannot use the proceeds of IRRRL to refinance non-VA loans.
Applying for the loan is pretty simple. Search for a VA-approved lender (check out our VA program here) around you to make the application. Without a cap on how much you can borrow, the lender uses your liability limits to determine the amount you apply for.
Every veteran qualifies for a basic of $36000, with most lenders allowing up to four times the amount. Whatever amount you receive, you should be at a financial benefit. You should be paying lesser interest rates on the new loan as compared to the last one, or smaller monthly contributions.
Unlike the other VA-backed loans, which only finance primary residences, IRRRL is flexible on the occupancy requirement. It allows you to refinance a home you once occupied, but you have since rented. You can also use it on a second home, or rented property. Also, you don’t have to appraise property to qualify for the loan.
The only requirement for the loan are that you need to pay a finding fee of around 5% upfront. You can also opt to roll the charge to your mortgage, even though with higher interest rates. The loan must also be the primary source of financing of the property.
Related: What you should know about VA loans
VA Cash-Out Refinance
One of the least used VA-backed loans, a VA cash-out refinance loan is a reliable financing option for veterans. The loan does not require mortgage insurance. It allows a loan-to-value of 100%, which makes it one of the best options for long term financial needs.
This financing allows you to receive money by the closing of the loan. You
can also use it to refinance a non-VA loan.
The loan is a great way to raise a lot of money quickly. Given that you receive cash-back on any amount above the existing mortgage, you can use to pay off or buy other products.
This cash-out refinance loan comes with a few stringent requirements. You need to have documentation similar to those of other VA-backed loans. You need new appraisals, provide documents on income and financial status.
Adapted Housing Grants
VA provides Adapted Housing Grants to veterans who suffer specific permanent and total service-connected disabilities. This home buying grant for veterans ensure you live more independently and barrier-free in your home.
You can use the adapted housing grant to build a specially adapted home in a suitable location. Also, this loan can be used to remodel your home into a specially adapted housing. Additionally, you can use the fund to clear an unpaid mortgage that you took to remodel your home into an adapted house.
The adapted grant covers remodeling of different parts of a house like bathrooms, kitchen, and bedroom. To ease movements, you can also use the funds to remodel the passageway, carports, and garages. Install sliding doors, grab bars, and handrails for your convenience. Also, include a host of other features in the house as per the VA.
Shopping for Housing
Now that you have the different financing options, you can look around for a home assured that you would afford it.
One of the significant home buying tips for veterans is to consider the future. Given that most VA loans only finance a primary residence, you have to consider the changes you expect in the future. Are you thinking about changing jobs or having kids? The home you settle on should be able to accommodate the prospects.
The other home buying tips for veterans is to be flexible. Allow yourself the luxury of choosing from a wide range of cities and reduce your non-negotiable on housing. Flexibility increases your chances of getting home faster
Lastly, you have to consider the cost of house. In as much as you have access to the VA loans, you should settle for an amount you can comfortably repay every month.
Before you commit to a house, it is essential that you are sure of the value. An appraisal is necessary not only for VA loan purposes but to ensure you get value for investment.
The purpose of the appraisal is to ensure you are getting the worth of what you are paying for. It also ensures you meet both the lender and VA guidelines.
Too much jargon for you? Don't fully understand the mortgage process? Check out our blog: All of the Complicated Stuff About Your Mortgage, Explained
Closing and Moving in
Closing is when the loan has been effected to pay for the home. Your lender should disclose to you about an impending closing three business days earlier.
Closing involves signing several documents like a deed, note, and mortgage. All the parties involved in the deal must be present. Seek clarification about any concerns or reservations at this point.
Learn about Wyndham's $10,000 On-Time Closing Guarantee to see how we make the process less-stressful for you
After you're done with closing; congratulations are in order. You now own your home!
The VA mortgage loans makes the home buying process by veterans seamless. The several VA-backed loans provide ease and convenience in purchasing the right housing.
Are you a veteran or family member trying to take advantage of the several VA loan benefits? Compare our rates with competitors and see how much we can save you on your VA loan or refinance!