VA Loan Requirements for Homes: What You Need to Know

🏡 Introduction

Welcome to our guide on VA loan requirements for homes! If you’re a veteran, active-duty service member, or surviving spouse, VA loans can be an excellent option for financing your dream home. Not only do they offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms, but they also come with a host of benefits that can make your homebuying journey easier and more affordable.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about VA loans, from their eligibility requirements to the application process and beyond. We’ll also address some common questions and misconceptions about VA loans, so you can make an informed decision about whether they’re right for you.

🏡 Eligibility Requirements

Duty Status Requirements

First and foremost, to be eligible for a VA loan, you must have served on active duty in one of the following branches of the military:

Minimum Active Duty Service Requirement
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard
90 days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime
National Guard and Reserve
6 years of service (or 90 days of active duty during wartime)

Additionally, if you were dishonorably discharged from the military, you are not eligible for a VA loan.

Credit and Income Requirements

While VA loans typically have more lenient credit and income requirements than conventional loans, you’ll still need to meet certain standards to be approved. Specifically, you’ll need:

  • A minimum credit score (typically around 620)
  • Sufficient income and assets to cover your mortgage payments and other expenses

However, it’s worth noting that VA loans don’t require a down payment or private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can make them a more affordable option for many borrowers.

Property Requirements

In addition to meeting the above eligibility requirements, your desired property must also meet certain criteria to be approved for a VA loan. Specifically, it must:

  • Be your primary residence
  • Meet minimum property standards (e.g. safe, sanitary, and structurally sound)
  • Be appraised at or above the loan amount

🏡 Application Process


The first step in applying for a VA loan is to get prequalified. This involves providing basic information about yourself, your finances, and the property you’re interested in. Based on this information, your lender will give you an estimate of how much you can borrow and at what interest rate.


If you’re serious about buying a home, the next step is to get preapproved for a VA loan. This involves submitting documents that verify your income, assets, and creditworthiness, as well as a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA.

Home Search and Offer

With preapproval in hand, you can start your home search in earnest. Once you find a property you like, you can make an offer and negotiate the terms of the sale with the seller.

Underwriting and Closing

If your offer is accepted, the final steps in the application process are underwriting and closing. During underwriting, your lender will verify all the information you provided and make sure the property meets VA loan requirements. If everything checks out, you’ll sign the final paperwork and take possession of your new home!

🏡 Frequently Asked Questions

What is the maximum VA loan amount?

The maximum loan amount for a VA loan varies depending on your location and the size of your loan. In most areas, the maximum loan amount is $548,250 for 2021.

Can I use a VA loan to buy a second home or investment property?

No, VA loans are only available for primary residences.

Can I get a VA loan if I’ve had a bankruptcy or foreclosure?

Possibly. The waiting period after a bankruptcy or foreclosure varies depending on the circumstances.

Do I have to pay closing costs on a VA loan?

While VA loans generally have lower closing costs than conventional loans, you may still be responsible for some fees, such as a funding fee and appraisal fee.

Can I refinance my existing mortgage with a VA loan?

Yes, you can use a VA loan to refinance your existing mortgage. This is known as a VA streamline refinance or Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL).

Can I get a VA loan if I have a low credit score?

While there is no minimum credit score required for a VA loan, most lenders prefer to see a score of at least 620.

What happens if I can’t make my mortgage payments on a VA loan?

If you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments, it’s important to contact your lender right away to discuss your options. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a loan modification or other forms of assistance.

What is the funding fee on a VA loan?

The funding fee is a one-time fee charged by the VA to cover the cost of administering the loan program. The amount of the fee varies depending on your military service status, loan amount, and other factors.

How long does it take to get a VA loan?

The timeline for getting a VA loan can vary depending on various factors, such as the lender’s processing times and the complexity of your application. However, most VA loans close within 30 to 45 days.

Can I use a VA loan to buy a manufactured home?

Yes, you can use a VA loan to buy a manufactured home as long as it meets certain requirements, such as being permanently affixed to a foundation and meeting minimum property standards.

What is a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?

A COE is a document issued by the VA that verifies your eligibility for a VA loan. You’ll need to provide this document to your lender when you apply for a VA loan.

Do I have to pay off my student loans before getting a VA loan?

No, you do not have to pay off your student loans before getting a VA loan. However, your lender will factor your student loan payments into your debt-to-income ratio when determining your loan eligibility.

What happens if I sell my home before paying off my VA loan?

If you sell your home before paying off your VA loan, you can use the proceeds from the sale to pay off the loan balance. Alternatively, you can transfer the loan to the buyer if they are also eligible for a VA loan.

🏡 Conclusion

As you can see, VA loans offer a wide range of benefits and can be a great option for qualifying veterans and service members. However, it’s important to understand the eligibility requirements and application process before diving in.

If you’re interested in learning more about VA loans or want to get started on your application, contact a VA-approved lender today.

👍 Here’s a quick recap of what we covered in this article:

  • VA loan eligibility requirements
  • The VA loan application process
  • FAQs about VA loans

🏠 Take the first step toward homeownership with a VA loan today!

🏡 Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as financial or legal advice. Consult with a financial advisor or attorney for guidance on your specific situation.