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Buying a Home with a VA Loan

Buy a Home with a VA Loan

Why a VA Loan is Perfect for Home Buyers

Military homebuyers have access to one of the most unique and powerful loan programs ever created. The VA loan program has helped more than 18 million veterans become homeowners since World War II.

These flexible, low-cost loans are more popular than ever before, and there’s little secret why: Qualified veterans can purchase a home with no money down.

No Downpayment

Saving money and building credit can be difficult for service members constantly on the move. Government-backed VA loans allow qualified veterans to finance 100 percent of the home’s value. VA loans are easier to qualify for than conventional, with income and credit requirements that open home ownership to a wide range of veterans and active-duty service members. Even More Savings

VA loan borrowers also don’t have to spend money every month on private mortgage insurance, or PMI. Interest rates are often lower for VA loans than their conventional counterparts. They also allow sellers to pay closing costs and concessions, another benefit that keeps money in the veteran’s pocket.

First-Time Buyers

The advantages are real. A lower monthly payment, easier qualification guidelines and the ability to purchase with $0 down make a VA Loan the best option for first time home buyers who qualify. 


The VA Home Loan program has helped more than 19 million veterans become homeowners since 1944. Even during difficult economic times, VA loans made home buying a streamlined and relatively hassle-free process for military home buyers.

Like all government programs, there are requirements that need to be fulfilled before a service member can secure a VA loan to purchase a home, perform renovations or refinance a mortgage.

The VA insures up to 25 percent of each loan and applies its own guidelines to the program. But borrowers also have to meet any additional requirements and standards applied by an agency-approved lender. Ultimately, it’s the lender that issues a loan, not the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA doesn’t have any strict credit or income requirements for veterans. But lenders will certainly take a long, hard look at a prospective borrower’s credit score and overall financial profile. The lending climate has tightened in recent months. Service members need to pay closer attention to their credit and spending than ever before.

But there’s also a great deal of flexibility built into the VA loan process. Lenders don’t need to see perfect credit. In fact, the program’s flexible guidelines help scores of veterans who might not otherwise secure financing. About 80 percent of VA loan borrowers could not have qualified for a conventional loan.

There are also service requirements that determine a veteran’s initial ability to participate in the program. But a vast majority of veterans and active duty service members already qualify.

Veterans can talk to a VA loan specialist to see if they meet the eligibility requirements and obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, which is a formal government document that details a borrower’s VA home loan entitlement.

VA County Loan Limits for High-Cost Counties

VA Home Mortgage Loan Limits provided by

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Loan Guaranty program does not impose a maximum amount that an eligible veteran may borrow using a VA-guaranteed loan. However, the following county “limits” must be used to calculate VA’s maximum guaranty amount for a particular county. These limits apply to all loans closed January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009. 2010 county loan limits will be made available as soon as possible.

The maximum guaranty amount (available for loans over $144,000) is 25 percent of the 2009 VA Limit shown below. Therefore, a veteran with full entitlement available may borrow up to the 2009VA Limit shown below and VA will guarantee 25 percent of the loan amount. If a veteran has previously used entitlement that has not been restored, the maximum guaranty amount available to that veteran must be reduced accordingly. Lenders should check their own investor requirements regarding guaranty amounts and down payments. Questions about VA loans in a particular county may be directed to the VA Regional Loan Center (RLC) listed for that county.

NOTE: For all counties other than those listed below, the 2009 Limit is $417,000.

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