A VA (Veterans Administration) guaranteed home loan is the preferred loan program for active, non-active, Reserve, National Guard, and retired military of the armed forces in Maine because there is no down payment needed and no private monthly mortgage insurance required.
A VA home loan can be used to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage.
We will discuss what role the VA plays in a VA guaranteed mortgage, the benefits of a VA home loan for eligible Maine veterans, who is eligible for a VA loan, and the VA documentation you will need to present to at application.
Why Finance of America Mortgage? We are a direct VA approved lender located right here in Portland, ME. We underwrite all of our VA loans in-house, and we service most of our loans after closing! I have over 15 years of experience with helping Veterans in Southern Maine achieve the dream of homeownership! Let me guide you through the process and assist you with purchasing your Maine Dream Home using your VA entitlement!
VA Does Not Offer Loans Directly and Does Not Guaranty You Will Qualify.
VA does not actually lend the money to you directly. They offer a guaranty to a lender that if you should default on the loan, they will pay the lender a percentage of the loan balance. The word GUARANTY does not actually guaranty the veteran will qualify for a VA home loan.
Primary Benefits of a VA Home Loan:
- 100% financing
- No monthly private mortgage insurance is required
- There is a limitation on buyers closing costs
- The loan is assumable, subject to VA approval of the assumer’s credit
- 30 year fixed loan
- Seller can pay up to 4% of the veterans closing costs and even pay down your debt to help lower your debt-to-income ratio
- Interest rates are similar to FHA rates
- You don’t need perfect credit
Who is Eligible for a VA Home Loan?
Veterans with active duty service, that was not dishonorable, during World War II and later periods, are eligible for VA loan benefits. World War II (September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947), Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955), and Vietnam era (August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975) veterans must have at least 90 days of service.
Veterans with service only during peacetime periods and active duty military personnel must have had more than 180 days of active service. Veterans of enlisted service which began after September 7, 1980, or officers with service beginning after October 16,1981, must in most cases have served at least 2 years.
VA Documentation Needed:
The three specific pieces of documentation a lender will need to determine your eligibility is a DD214 for discharged veterans, a statement of service for active military personnel, and a certificate of eligibility (COE) to determine you have VA entitlement.
Because each lender has different qualifying guidelines, the next step is to contact your lender to find out if you meet their qualifying criteria such as minimum FICO/credit scores, debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, and find out what your county’s maximum loan amount is. Your lender can help you attain your certificate of eligibility on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Are the children of a living or deceased veteran eligible for the home loan benefit?
No, the children of an eligible veteran are not eligible for the home loan benefit.
Q: How can I obtain proof of military service?
Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, is used to apply for proof of military service regardless of whether you served on regular active duty or in the selected reserves. This request form is NOT processed by VA.
Rather, Standard Form 180 is completed and mailed to the appropriate custodian of military service records. Instructions are provided on the reverse of the form to assist in determining the correct forwarding address.
Q: Is the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran eligible for the home loan benefit?
The unmarried surviving spouse of a veteran who died on active duty or as the result of a service-connected disability is eligible for the home loan benefit.
Eligibility Requirements for VA Home Loans
Servicemembers and Veterans
To obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, you must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and meet the service requirements below:
|Status||Qualifying Wartime & Peacetime Periods||Qualifying Active Duty Dates||Minimum Active Duty Service Requirement|
|Veteran||WWII||9/16/1940 – 7/25/1947||90 total days|
|Post-WWII||7/26/1947 – 6/26/1950||181 continuous days|
|Korean War||6/27/1950 – 1/31/1955||90 total days|
|Post-Korean War||2/1/1955 – 8/4/1964||181 continuous days|
|Vietnam War||8/5/1964 – 5/7/1975 *For Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date is 2/28/1961||90 total days|
|Post-Vietnam War||5/8/1975 – 9/7/1980 *The ending date for officers is 10/16/1981||181 continuous days|
|24-month rule||9/8/1980 – 8/1/1990 *The beginning date for officers is 10/17/1981||
|Gulf War||8/2/1990 – Present||
|Currently On Active Duty||Any||Any||90 continuous days|
|National Guard & Reserve Member||Gulf War||8/2/1990 – Present||90 days of active service|
*If you do not meet the minimum service requirements, you may still be eligible if you were discharged due to (1) hardship, (2) the convenience of the government, (3) reduction-in-force, (4) certain medical conditions, or (5) a service-connected disability.
The VA Funding Fee
Generally, all Veterans using the VA Home Loan Guaranty benefit must pay a funding fee. This reduces the loan’s cost to taxpayers considering that a VA loan requires no down payment and has no monthly mortgage insurance. The funding fee is a percentage of the loan amount which varies based on the type of loan and your military category, if you are a first-time or subsequent loan user, and whether you make a down payment. You have the option to finance the VA funding fee or pay it in cash, but the funding fee must be paid at closing time.
You do not have to pay the fee if you are a:
- Veteran receiving VA compensation for a service-connected disability, OR
- Veteran who would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability if you did not receive retirement or active duty pay, OR
- Surviving spouse of a Veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability
The funding fee for second time users who do not make a down payment is slightly higher. Also, National Guard and Reserve Veterans pay a slightly higher funding fee percentage. To determine your exact percentage, please review the latest funding fee chart.
For more information on the VA loan, click here: http://www.homeloans.va.gov/