Veteran Administration Loan: Everything You Need to Know

Are you a military veteran looking to buy a new home or refinance your existing mortgage? If so, you may want to consider a Veteran Administration (VA) loan. VA loans offer a number of benefits that traditional mortgage loans do not, including lower interest rates and more flexible qualification requirements. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about VA loans, including how they work, who’s eligible, and how to apply.

What is a VA Loan?

A VA loan is a type of mortgage loan that’s guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These loans are designed to help active military members, veterans, and qualifying family members buy or refinance a home. The VA loan program was created in 1944 as part of the GI Bill, which provided a range of benefits to help veterans integrate back into civilian life after their service.

Benefits of VA loans

VA loans offer a range of benefits that traditional mortgage loans do not. Here are some of the key advantages of VA loans:

Low interest rates
VA loans typically have lower interest rates than other mortgage loans.
No down payment required
VA loans do not require a down payment, which can save you thousands of dollars.
No private mortgage insurance (PMI)
Since VA loans are guaranteed by the VA, there’s no need for PMI.
More flexible credit requirements
VA loans have more flexible credit requirements than other mortgage loans, making them easier to qualify for.
No prepayment penalty
You won’t be penalized for paying off your VA loan early.

Overall, VA loans can be a great option for veterans and their families who are looking to buy or refinance a home.

Who’s Eligible for a VA Loan?

Not everyone is eligible for a VA loan. Here are the basic eligibility requirements:

Active-duty service members

If you’re an active-duty service member, you’re typically eligible for a VA loan after 90 days of continuous service. This requirement can be waived if you were discharged due to a service-related disability.


If you’re a veteran, you’re typically eligible for a VA loan if you served for at least 90 days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime. You must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.

National Guard and Reserve Members

If you’re a member of the National Guard or Reserve, you may be eligible for a VA loan if you’ve served for at least six years.

Surviving Spouses

If you’re the surviving spouse of a veteran who died in service or as a result of a service-related disability, you may be eligible for a VA loan.

How to Apply for a VA Loan

If you’re interested in applying for a VA loan, here are the basic steps:

Step 1: Obtain your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

The first step in applying for a VA loan is to obtain your COE. This document verifies that you meet the eligibility requirements for a VA loan. You can apply for your COE online through the VA’s eBenefits portal, or you can request a paper application from your lender.

Step 2: Find a VA-approved lender

Next, you’ll need to find a lender who participates in the VA loan program. Not all lenders offer VA loans, so it’s important to find one who does. You can search for VA-approved lenders on the VA’s website.

Step 3: Pre-qualify for a loan

Before you apply for a loan, it’s a good idea to pre-qualify with your lender. This will give you an idea of how much you can borrow and what your monthly payments will be.

Step 4: Complete the loan application

Once you’ve found a lender and pre-qualified for a loan, you can complete the loan application. You’ll need to provide documentation such as your COE, your income and employment information, and your credit report.

Step 5: Close the loan

After your loan application has been approved, you’ll need to close the loan. This involves signing the loan documents and paying any closing costs. Once the loan is closed, you’ll be able to move into your new home or start enjoying the benefits of your refinance.

FAQs about VA Loans

1. How long does it take to get a VA loan?

The timeline for getting a VA loan can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the lender you choose and how quickly you’re able to provide the required documentation. On average, it takes about 30 days from the time you submit your application to the time you close your loan.

2. How much can I borrow with a VA loan?

The amount you can borrow with a VA loan depends on a number of factors, such as your income and credit history. In general, the maximum amount you can borrow with a VA loan is $548,250 in most parts of the country.

3. Can I use a VA loan to buy a second home?

No, VA loans are intended for primary residences only. You cannot use a VA loan to buy a second home or investment property.

4. Can I use a VA loan to refinance my existing mortgage?

Yes, you can use a VA loan to refinance your existing mortgage. This is known as a VA refinance loan.

5. Do I need to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify for a VA loan?

No, there is no first-time homebuyer requirement for VA loans.

6. Do I have to pay closing costs with a VA loan?

Yes, you will need to pay closing costs when you get a VA loan. However, the VA has limits on how much lenders can charge for certain fees, which can help reduce your overall costs.

7. Can I get a VA loan if I have bad credit?

VA loans have more flexible credit requirements than other mortgage loans, but you will still need to meet certain minimum credit standards. If your credit is extremely poor, you may have difficulty getting approved for a VA loan.

8. What types of properties can I buy with a VA loan?

You can use a VA loan to buy a variety of properties, including single-family homes, condos, multi-unit properties, and manufactured homes. However, the property must meet certain minimum property requirements to be eligible for a VA loan.

9. What are the fees associated with a VA loan?

There are several fees associated with VA loans, including the VA funding fee, which varies depending on your loan amount and whether you’re a first-time or subsequent VA loan user. You may also be charged other fees, such as the appraisal fee and title search fee.

10. How does the VA loan appraisal process work?

Before you can get a VA loan, the property you’re buying or refinancing will need to be appraised by a VA-approved appraiser. This appraisal determines the fair market value of the property and helps ensure that the property meets the VA’s minimum property requirements.

11. Can I get a VA loan if I’m self-employed?

Yes, you can get a VA loan if you’re self-employed. However, you’ll need to provide additional documentation to prove your income and employment history.

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

Yes, you may be able to get a VA loan even if you’ve had a bankruptcy or foreclosure in your past. However, there are certain waiting periods you’ll need to meet before you can qualify for a VA loan.

13. Can I use a VA loan to make home improvements?

Yes, you can use a VA loan to make home improvements. This is known as a VA renovation loan.


If you’re a military veteran or active-duty service member, a VA loan can be a great option for buying or refinancing a home. VA loans offer a range of benefits, including lower interest rates, no down payment requirement, and more flexible credit requirements. If you’re interested in applying for a VA loan, be sure to do your research and find a VA-approved lender who can help you through the process.

So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of the benefits of a VA loan and start your journey towards homeownership today!

Closing Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or professional advice. Consult with a licensed professional, such as a lender or attorney, to determine what options may be available to you. VA loan eligibility requirements and loan limits are subject to change. This article may contain links to third-party websites that are not controlled by or the U.S. government. VA is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of these sites, and users are encouraged to review the policies of each site they visit.