Understanding The Eligibility Requirements For A VA Home Loan

The US government provides a wealth of resources for veterans, including the VA home loan programs. In order to qualify for a VA home loan, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements. If you are a veteran and are interested in purchasing or refinancing your home, here are some of the eligibility requirements you'll need to be aware of before filing your application.

Length Of Service Requirements

To receive a certificate of eligibility for a VA loan, you'll need to meet certain requirements for your length of active duty service. Your discharge reason can be anything, other than a dishonorable discharge, to get a certificate of eligibility. Length of active duty service requirements are typically lower if you served during wartime. For example, veterans who served during WWII, Korea and Vietnam qualify for a VA loan with 90 days of active service, while those service members who served in peacetime between the conflicts must have served 181 days of continuous duty. If you are a reservist or member of the national guard, you may also qualify for a VA loan.

Getting A Certificate Of Eligibility

You will need a certificate of eligibility to get approved for a VA home loan. You can apply online, through the mail or through your lender, but you will need to provide proof of your eligibility. Once you have determined that your length of service qualifies you for a VA home loan, you should be able to provide the proper documentation to support your service records. For current members of the military, this may mean having forms filled out by your commanding officer. For retired service members, a form showing your character of service and reason for separation may be required.

Meeting Minimum Credit Eligibility

Once you've established that your service record qualifies you for a VA loan, you will still need to follow some of the traditional steps of applying for a loan. This includes meeting a minimum credit score requirement to get financing. Most VA lenders require a credit score of 640, although some lenders may accept credit scores that are slightly higher or lower. The Department of Veterans Affairs does not set a minimum credit score; the lenders choose the minimum scores they will accept.

If you've never purchased a home before, qualifying for a VA loan may seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, you can have your real estate agent or the VA home loans regional loan center help you navigate the process. VA loans are designed to give back to those people who have dedicated themselves to protecting the citizens of this country. Be sure to take advantage of this program if you qualify.