Did you know that less than 15% of veterans have taken advantage of VA loans?
Q: I’m a Veteran but have been out of the service for many years (i.e. serving in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam); I thought my benefits expired long ago – do I still have benefits that would help me purchase a house?
A: Yes! You will need your DD214 and a COE (certificate of eligibility) to help the loan officer understand your eligibility for VA loan benefits.
Lost or Destroyed Discharge Papers?
A vet may contact the NPRC to obtain a Certificate of Military Service, which substitutes for the actual discharge papers. The request for records, GSA Form SF-180, may be initiated online at eVetRecs, http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records. A follow-up faxed or mailed application with signature will be required. If mailed, use the address specified by eVetRecs or the instructions on GSA Form SF-180.
Q: I think I may have already used up my VA loan benefits, what about me…?
A: Though you may have used your eligibility to purchase a home previously, VA benefits are updated continuously and these benefits may be used again, either due to use of “partial eligibility,” restoration of benefits, or reinstatement of benefits.
Q: I think my VA benefits might have expired…?
A: Though home purchase benefits at one time did expire or could only be used once, that has changed because VA is constantly upgrading this benefit AND WWII, Korean Conflict, and Vietnam veterans are still ELIGIBLE for 100% financing as long as they qualify.
Q: I am the widow(er) of a veteran; do I have benefits?
A: Yes, possibly. If your spouse was disabled more than likely you have benefits. Also, spouses of POW’s or MIA’s may have benefits. You need to check with the VA to determine eligibility and benefits.
Q: What are the benefits related to purchasing a home as a Veteran?
A: These vary depending upon eligibility which includes aspects such as rank, time spent in active duty, character of service, etc. See: http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/index.asp
A VA guaranteed loan may be used for the following:
- Build a new home.
- Repair, alter, or improve a home.
- Simultaneously purchase and improve a home.
- Install energy-efficiency improvements.
- Buy a manufactured home and lot.
- Buy and improve a lot on which to place an already owned and occupied manufactured home.
- Refinance a manufactured home loan in order to acquire a lot.
- Refinance to reduce interest rates.
- Refinance to take cash out.
Also, the VA loan has the following great benefits:
- No down payment as long as the sale price does not exceed the appraised value
- Loan-to-value ratio of 100 percent
- Back-end debt-to-income ratio of 41 percent under certain circumstances
- No private mortgage insurance [but there is a VA fee that can be included with the loan]
- Limits on closing costs, which may be paid by the seller
- No penalty for early payoff
- Loan is assumable by another qualified veteran borrower
- May apply for a new loan two years or sooner after a bankruptcy
Q: What kind of assistance/programs are available?
A: For some additional thoughts see the section labeled for veterans at this blog.
Q: I was not discharged with a ‘honorable’ discharge; can I still qualify?
A: Veterans must have an honorable or general discharge from the service in order to qualify for VA financing. An other-than-honorable discharge does not automatically disqualify a veteran for benefits; the VA reviews these on a case-by-case basis to determine the conditions of the individual’s service and release.
Q: I live in Texas, are there any other benefits that I can apply for?
A: Yes! Texas has many special benefits just for Veterans, see: http://veterans.portal.texas.gov/en/Pages/assist-benefits.aspx
Q: I’m a Veteran interested in real estate; I wonder who I should choose for a real estate agent…?
A: A GREAT option would be a real estate agent or broker with some specialized training and experience working with veterans; someone with the MRP certification would be a good idea (like me!). I would be honored to help you with your real estate needs. Just give me a call or contact me.