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VA Loan Eligibility


Find Out The VA Loan Requirements For Who’s Eligible?

VA home loan benefits are awarded to those whose service and sacrifice to our country meets Veterans Affairs requirements. If you meet VA loan requirements for eligibility, you may be able to enjoy attractive mortgage features not available to the general public, such as:

  • Most home purchases made without a down payment
  • Up to 100% loan-to-value on all types of refinancing
  • Never pay monthly mortgage insurance premiums
  • Easier qualifying standards
  • No prepayment charges if you pay off early or pay more toward principal
  • Streamline refinancing for quick and affordable interest rate reduction
  • Competitive interest rates

As we mentioned, certain service requirements need to be met before borrowers can become eligible for these unique benefits. We like to talk about four numbers when discussing VA loan eligibility. Can you remember the numbers 2, 6, 90 and 181? Then you may find it easier to understand the eligibility requirements

  • 2 years of regular service, or
  • 6 years of service with National Guard or Special Reserves, or
  • 90 days active duty service during wartime (either nonstop or total depending on the period), or
  • 181 days nonstop active duty service during peacetime

These numbers are a simplified guide of the VA’s service eligibly requirements and apply to most veterans and active military members. A more detailed description can be found below. To see if you’re eligible, you can get in touch with one of our experienced professionals today at 1-866-663-0826.

VA Home Loan Eligibility Has To Do With War And Peace

In general, you have VA home loan eligibility if you served at least 90 days of active duty during WWII, the Korean, Vietnam or Gulf Wars. The VA considers the Gulf War to be from August 2, 1990 to present. If you served in peacetime periods, you must have at least 181 straight days of active duty.

Here are the dates for wartime and peacetime and the active duty requirements:

  • WWII September 16, 1940 – July 25, 1947 → 90 total days
  • Post WWII July 26, 1947 – June 26, 1950 →181 continuous days
  • Korean War June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955 → 90 total days
  • Post-Korean War February 27, 1950 – August 4, 1964 → 181 continuous days
  • Vietnam War:
    • Republic of Vietnam February 28, 1961 → 90 total days
    • Others August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 → 90 total days
  • Post-Vietnam War May 8, 1975 – September 7 1980 → 181 continuous days
    • Officers May 8, 1975 – October 16, 1981 → 181 continuous days
  • 2 Years or 181 Days September 8, 1980 – August 1, 1990 → Full Call or Order (at least 181 days)
    a. Officers September 8, 1980 – October 17, 1981 → Full Call or Order (at least 181 days)
  • Gulf War August 2, 1990 – Present → Full Call or Order (at least 90 days)
  • Currently on Active Duty August 2, 1990 – Present → 90 continuous days

Since September 8, 1980, the VA has enforced the 24 -month rule. This means that you can be eligible for a mortgage through the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program after serving for 24 continuous months (or 2 years) if you don’t meet active duty minimums.

Selected Reservists and National Guard personnel can earn VA mortgage eligibility after completing full call or order for active duty (at least 90 days) or after 6 years of service. If discharged, it must be honorably. Or, members can be placed on retirement, Standby or Ready Reserve or continue to serve on Selected Reserve.

Sometimes servicemembers do not meet minimum durations, but may still be eligible. If you were discharged for hardship, convenience, reduction in force, some medical conditions or a qualifying service-related injury, it’s possible you could still receive a VA-backed home loan.

If you survived a spouse who died while in service or from service-connected disabilities, or you are a spouse of an MIA or POW you may also be eligible. New rules for surviving spouse eligibility have been adopted to now include certain military widows and widowers who outlive veterans who die of any cause. The veteran must have lived with a service-related disability for a designated period of time and meet disability compensation criteria at the time of death.

The VA reviews eligibility applications from members who were discharged for reasons that are other than honorable on a case-by-case basis.

Don’t Forget Your VA Certificate Of Eligibility

If it’s determined that you are eligible for these benefits, then you will need to obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) before you can apply for a home loan. The COE serves as your proof of eligibility and tells the lender important information about your entitlement. A lender can advise you on the best way to obtain this document. Most can be printed right in the lender’s office, others may be requested online by the servicemember and some (surviving spouses) can only receive theirs by mail.

Properties Need To Be Eligible For VA Financing, Too!

It’s a common misbelief that VA loans are only for financing houses. In fact, there are many other kinds of properties that can be financed using your home loan benefits. A VA-guaranteed loan can be used to finance the following:

  • Purchase of a house
  • Purchase of a townhome or row house
  • Purchase of a unit in a VA-approved condominium complex
  • Purchase of a unit in a multiplex
  • Finance the construction of a new home
  • Home upgrades, additions or major repairs
  • Energy efficient improvements
  • Refinance of an existing mortgage loan (VA or non-VA)
  • Interest rate reduction of an existing VA loan

VA Appraisal And Minimum Property Requirements

Each property financed with a VA home loan is subject to an appraisal. Only a VA-approved appraiser will be able to perform this evaluation. The appraisal serves to assure that the property is priced appropriately and it meets VA Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) for safe living and code.

VA MPRs will help determine whether the home you’ve got your sights set on qualifies for this type of financing.

Here is a summary of some of the VA MPRs:

  1. Access must be year-round; dirt roads are okay if they are maintained and independent of your neighbor’s property with ample space between buildings.
  2. Property must be a single, marketable piece of real estate with:
    • 75% or more residential living space
    • Separate spaces for bathroom, living, sleeping, cooking and dining
    • 4 or fewer units sharing laundry, storage, utility room
    • Separate water main, sewer, gas and power shutoffs
    • Protected water connections and proper maintenance agreement if well is shared
    • Safe, correctly sized mechanical system in good condition and not exposed to elements
    • Power source ample for lights and major equipment; if solar, 100% backup power must be present if needed
    • VA appraiser must detail report for unvented gas fireplaces or fueled heaters
    • Water supply (either city or well) is constant and safe for drinking from the source, and there must be hot water
    • If well is shared, there must be ample water for all units to use simultaneously
    • Waste must flow safely into septic or public sewer
  3. The Roof is leak-free, and any repairs done by first removing old shingles with 3 or more layers before replacing with new ones.
  4. Attics and Crawl Spaces have natural airflow, safe access, are free of rubble and have plenty of room for repairs to ductwork, electrical and plumbing.
  5. Party Walls or shared walls that separate semi-detached or row units need to be gap-free from foundation to roof.
  6. Site has correct drainage away from structure and ground cover is stable. Property can’t be within the boundaries of high voltage transmitters or pipelines. If within 220 yards, additional approval is necessary.
  7. Structure is safe, sound and clean, and without rot, decay, fungus, mold, peeling paint, broken windows, shoddy construction, bad craftsmanship, dankness, leaks, exposed wires, settling, termites and other pests.

Basically, the VA MPRs require that the home is hazard-free so that occupants can use and enjoy it safely.

For more info on borrower or property eligibility, contact us now at 1-866-663-0826.

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