Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?

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Buying a new home is a big undertaking and one of the most complex components of this process has always been securing a loan in order to cover the costs of this new home. The good news is, there are a number of programs available to help make home ownership more attainable for the average person. One of these programs is the VA home loan.

While VA home loans are popular, they aren’t as straightforward as everyone thinks, especially when it comes to VA loan eligibility. Unfortunately, qualifying for a VA loan isn’t as simple as “you’ve been in the service, you get a VA loan.” If you are a veteran and are interested in a VA loan, here’s everything you need to know about who qualifies for this type of loan and what is involved in the loan application process.

The first thing you need to understand is that banks, loan companies and mortgage brokers and the individuals who issue these loans. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not issue these loans, so do not assume that you will be working with the department directly. The main difference is not that the VA issues the loan, but that they insure part of the loan in case you default on it.

So, why would you want a VA loan. There are a few benefits, which include:

  • Lower interest rates
  • Not being required to make a down payment
  • No mortgage insurance requirements

The lenders need to follow the requirements issued by the VA in order to grant this type of loan, so in a way the VA is still involved. However, once they fulfill these requirements, the lenders can also add some of their own requirements.

Now that you understand how the VA loan works, it’s time to determine if you will qualify for this loan or not.

The general definition of a VA loan is that this product is designed for any person in active duty or that has “separated from military service” for any reason other than “dishonorable discharge.”

However, there are a few additional requirements you need to meet as well, mostly to do with length of service. Here are some basic numbers to keep in mind.

  • WWII Veterans- Minimum of 90 total days of service
  • Post WWII Veterans- Minimum of 181 continuous days of service
  • Korean War Veterans- Minimum of 90 total days of service
  • Post-Korean War Veterans- Minimum of 181 continuous days of service
  • Vietnam War Veterans- Minimum of 90 total days of service
  • Post-Vietnam War Veterans- Minimum of 181 continuous days of service
  • Gulf War Veterans- Minimum of 24 Continuous months or the full period for which you were called to active duty

Active duty service members with 90 continuous days of service and current National Guard and Reserve members who have been serving for 90 days are also eligible.

Also, anyone who is in the reserves or the National Guard may also be eligible. If you served 6 years in the Selected Reserve or National Guard and were discharged honorably, or were placed on the retired list, or were transferred to another type of reserve, you may be eligible. Most surviving spouses of deceased veterans are eligible as well.

The best way to determine if you will in fact qualify for a VA loan is to talk to a loan specialist in person and to make sure that you meet these requirements so that you can enjoy the unique perks that come with this type of loan.


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