The VA home loan program is an amazing benefit for our deserving active-duty service members, veterans, and surviving spouses of veterans. While no one could ever repay you for the sacrifices you’ve made, the VA loan was created to make your dreams of homeownership just a little easier to achieve.
This program is part of the GI Bill, which was signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) in 1944. At that time, a VA mortgage maxed out at $2,000, with half of that guaranteed by the government.
As you can imagine, a lot has changed since then. Most of these changes have been positive, providing even more benefits to eligible VA borrowers, but they’ve also brought about some confusion and unwarranted assumptions. The last thing we want is for anyone to fall victim to VA home loan myths.
So take a few minutes to separate fact from fiction. This can help you ensure that these common VA home loan myths won’t derail your American dream.
VA Funding Fees
MYTH: The VA funding fee will make my loan payments unaffordable.
While there are many benefits to the VA home loan program, there are also fees and closing costs involved—just like with all mortgages. The biggest difference in the VA funding fee is that it is a one-time upfront fee that can be paid in multiple ways.
It can be wrapped into the loan amount and paid monthly with a small increase to your monthly payment. But it can also be paid by the seller or with gift funds from a friend or family member. However you pay it, it doesn’t come close to the monthly fees on conventional loans, such as PMI, which can run hundreds of dollars per month.
VA Loan Timeline
MYTH: VA loans have a lot of red tape and take longer to close.
VA loans tend to take about the same amount of time to close as a standard conventional loan or FHA loan. The biggest factors involve getting pre-approved, getting your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) as soon as possible (we can help with this), and finding a home that meets the criteria for a VA home loan.
Sometimes appraisals in more rural areas can take a little longer because of a shortage of VA appraisers. Additionally, any repairs on the appraisal that are marked as “subject to” must be completed prior to close.
MYTH: Jumbo financing is not available for VA loans.
Another one of those VA home loan myths busted! VA absolutely offers jumbo loans, but technically they’re not called “jumbo,” as it’s all based on eligibility and entitlement. While there’s not a hard loan limit, in most cases lenders will go as high as $2 million if the veteran qualifies.
Multiple VA Loans
MYTH: You can use your VA home loan benefit only once, or you can’t purchase a second home with a VA loan if you already own a home.
You are absolutely able to use your benefit more than once, and you can even use it for multiple VA loans. The only limit is the amount of your entitlement. If you have more entitlement left, then you can use it for another home. If you use your benefit and then sell your home, then the entitlement is fully reinstated.
If you’re a service member, veteran, or eligible surviving spouse, the VA home loan benefit is here for you, period. Becoming a landlord and earning rental income is part of the American dream for many individuals, and that includes our military heroes.
Whether you’re looking to downsize or expand, you are welcome to purchase a new home with a VA mortgage even if you also financed your current home through a VA loan.
Foreclosures and VA Loans
MYTH: I can’t get another VA home loan because I lost my entitlement in a foreclosure.
Here’s a truth bomb for you: Service members, veterans, and eligible surviving spouses can use their VA entitlement again, even if they’ve fallen on hard times. You can purchase a home using a VA loan as soon as two years after a foreclosure or bankruptcy has occurred. Since part of your entitlement was “lost” through foreclosure, there may or may not be a requirement for a down payment because there’s only partial entitlement remaining.
We know this process can be tricky, which is why our trusted APM Loan Advisors are here to help you navigate the VA loan process, regardless of your circumstances.
VA Loan Costs
MYTH: VA loans cost the buyer and seller more money.
VA loans typically have fewer costs for all involved in the transaction. While it’s true that the program allows for sellers to pay the funding fee, it’s not a requirement. And the funding fee is typically a fraction of the cost that a seller might contribute to on a conventional loan.
All fees charged on VA loans are regulated by the federal government and are typically lower across the board than other, more traditional loan types.
VA Loan Eligibility
MYTH: The VA home loan benefit is only for those who have served and are out of the military.
VA loans are available to anyone who meets the criteria, including those in active service. If you are still serving but have met the requirements, you are absolutely able to use your benefit. If you’re living off base you can even use your BAH toward your home loan payments.
We know there are other VA home loan myths out there, which is why we’re happy to walk you through your loan options and the process of deciding whether a VA loan works for you. Click here to connect with an APM Loan Advisor and VA specialist in your area, and we’ll set the record straight once and for all.
Disclaimer: Rates, terms, programs and underwriting guidelines subject to change without notice. This is not an offer to extend credit or a commitment to lend. All loans subject to underwriting approval. Equal Housing Opportunity