According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 21 million Veterans and Service Members live in the U.S. today, but only about 6 percent of them bought a home using a VA home loan in the past five years.
Just think about that staggering number for a moment. That means nearly 20 million deserving Americans who are either paying a traditional mortgage or renting and not using a benefit they’ve earned – and you are probably one of them. Renting! The fact that so many people seem unaware of the advantages of using their VA home loan brings up the question: Why?
Our suspicion is still that the reason is lack of information. Let’s be honest – in general, there is so much to know about buying a home that using your VA home loan on top of that might seem like a hassle. We hope that once you’ve read through this list of advantages that you’ll decide to give it a go. Letting my team and I handle everything else will take care of the hassles you’re worrying about.
1. No Money Down!
This is the #1 advantage when using your VA loan. There are few, if any, legitimate housing options out there that offers $0 down, with rental deposits typically being 2 months rent. Conventional loans usually require between 3 and 5 percent down. For a veteran, that’s a savings of up to $12,500 on a $250,000 home. This means you can buy a home now. Tomorrow. No saving up for years, no more landlords. What are you waiting for?
2. No Private Mortgage Insurance
With a VA loan, you also avoid steep mortgage insurance fees required by conventional lenders. At 5% down, private mortgage insurance (PMI) costs $150 per month on a $250,000 home, according to PMI provider MGIC. Because of this savings, you could afford a home worth $30,000 more with the same monthly payment. Need we say more?
3. Use Your Benefit Again and Again
You can use your benefits as many times as you want for the rest of your life. You would simply sell the home you purchased with your VA loan, use the proceeds to pay off the VA loan, and your entitlement is restored in full to buy your next home. For active duty members, this means you can still use your VA home loan even if you still have years of service left and aren’t able to settle down.
4. VA Loan Rates And Payments Are Lower
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loan rates are typically about 0.25% lower than those of conventional loans. The VA backs the mortgages, making them a lower risk for lenders. Those savings are then passed on to Veterans. Additionally, VA loans come with some of the lowest foreclosure rates of any loan type, further reducing risk for lenders. No surprise here, but Veterans and Service-persons take home-ownership seriously. These factors add up to lower rates and affordable payments for those who choose a VA loan.
5. You Can Have Less Than Perfect Credit
Unlike many loan programs, a lower credit score, bankruptcy or foreclosure does not automatically disqualify you from a VA home loan. While VA guidelines do not have a minimum qualifying credit score, most lenders do have guidelines they follow regarding past credit history. This, along with the fact that the VA backs the mortgage, gives lenders leniency to approve loans with lower scores. Don’t let your credit past stop you from considering homeownership.
6. Don’t Need A House? Buy a Condo
Condominiums are often overlooked as a property option when purchasing a home. Aside from a single-family house or a home with up to 4 units, condos are a type of properties you can purchase with a VA loan. Condominiums usually have a much lower listing price and are ideal starter homes or for unmarried active duty service members.
These are just a few, but there are actually many more reasons to use your VA loan benefit. You’ve certainly earned it.
From the Department of Veterans Affairs: “The freedom afforded to this country by members of all branches of the military, past and present, is not easily repaid. Consider this program a small “thank you” for your service and dedication.”
As a Military Relocation Professional and a retired career military spouse, I have the knowledge & experience to help you take advantage of this amazing benefit, even if (or, especially if!) you are active duty. Even if you aren’t in Hawaii, if you have questions or would like a referal to a Military Relocation Professional in your area, call me! I’m happy to help.