VA Fixed-Rate EligibilityTo be eligible for a VA Fixed-Rate Loan, you typically need to meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Have served 90 consecutive days of active duty during wartime
- Have served 181 days of active duty during peacetime
- Have served more than 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves
- Be a spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or from a service-connected disability
- No Down Payment: One of the most compelling benefits is the option for zero down payment, which allows you to finance 100% of the home’s value.
- No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): VA loans do not require PMI, a monthly expense typically required for loans with less than 20% down payment.
- Competitive Interest Rates: Generally, VA fixed-rate loans offer lower interest rates compared to conventional loans.
- Flexible Credit Requirements: The VA is generally more forgiving when it comes to credit score requirements, making this loan more accessible.
- Stable Monthly Payments: Your monthly payment remains constant over the life of the loan, making it easier to budget.
Loan Term OptionsThe most common loan terms are 15 and 30 years. A shorter term usually comes with higher monthly payments but less total interest paid over the life of the loan.
Costs and Fees
- Funding Fee: This is a one-time fee that can be financed into the loan. The amount varies based on your down payment and military status.
- Closing Costs: Like any other loan, you’ll have closing costs, but they can often be rolled into the loan or paid by the seller.
How to Apply
- Certificate of Eligibility (COE): Obtain this document from the VA to prove your eligibility.
- Choose a Lender: Select a lender that is approved to offer VA loans.
- Pre-Approval and Application: Get pre-approved to understand how much you can afford. Then, complete the application process.
- Property Appraisal: The VA will require an appraisal to determine the home’s value.
- Closing: Once approved, you’ll go through the closing process to finalize the mortgage.
A VA Fixed-Rate Mortgage is a home loan with an interest rate that remains the same throughout the entire life of the loan. This means that your monthly principal and interest payments will not change, providing stability and predictability in your budgeting.
Veterans, active-duty service members, members of the National Guard, Reserve, and surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or as a result of a service-related injury may be eligible. Specific service requirements and documentation are needed to qualify.
The main benefits include no down payment required, competitive interest rates, no private mortgage insurance (PMI), limited closing costs, and no prepayment penalties.
The interest rate on a VA Fixed-Rate Mortgage is generally competitive and may be lower than conventional mortgage rates due to the VA guarantee.
Yes, you can refinance a VA Fixed-Rate Mortgage through the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) program, which is designed to help you obtain a lower interest rate or switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage.
The VA does not set a cap on how much you can borrow, but there are limits on the amount of liability the VA can assume, which affects the amount of money a lender will lend you. These limits vary by county.
There is a VA funding fee, which is a percentage of the loan amount and helps to fund the VA loan program. The fee amount varies depending on factors like your military service category and whether it’s your first time using the VA home loan benefit.
The VA does not set a minimum credit score requirement, but lenders typically have their own credit criteria. Many lenders prefer a credit score of 620 or higher.
VA loans are intended for primary residences, so vacation homes or investment properties are not eligible. The home must also meet certain property requirements and inspections to ensure it is safe, sanitary, and structurally sound.
To apply, you will need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove to the lender that you meet the eligibility requirements. You can then shop around and compare rates from different lenders, and submit a loan application.