Whether you are an active duty member of the military or a veteran, the government has a number of different ways to help compensate service members for their sacrifice and service. If, sadly, they are deceased and unable to take advantage of these benefits, their spouse, children, parents, and even surviving spouses are able to take advantage of these benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs. If you or a loved one is currently serving in the military or a retired veteran, you should make sure that you know all the different programs that you or your loved one may qualify for.
One of the more popular programs for veterans is the VA home loan program. This is a program that is designed to help service members and their families achieve that American Dream of being a homeowner. This is a special program that is only available to those who are on active duty, who qualify as veterans, or are the spouse or dependant of an active duty member or veteran.
In order to be considered a veteran by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you must have served on active duty for at least 24 months continuously. If your service was sporadic or for whatever reason not continuous, or you were discharged dishonorably in any way, you will not qualify for veteran’s status or be eligible for any veteran-specific benefits programs. However, it should be noted that, for the purposes of the VA loan, there are actually more specific requirements as you don’t have to be a veteran in order to qualify. Active duty personnel can obtain a VA home loan as well.
If you have served at least 90 consecutive days as an active duty member, in a war zone during a time of war, you qualify to apply for a VA home loan. If you have served at least 181 days of consecutive active duty service during peacetime, you qualify for a VA home loan. If you have served in the National Guard or US Army Reserves for at least six years, you can qualify for a VA home loan. If you are the spouse of someone who meets these requirements, or your spouse died in wartime or became permanently disabled, you can also obtain a VA home loan.
It should be noted that VA home loans can be a bit of a misnomer. These are not loans that are given directly via the VA. Rather, these are loans that one takes out with private lenders who are guaranteed by the VA. Basically, what this does is allow the VA to guarantee some portion of your home loan, giving you a mortgage at better rates and terms than you would have received had you simply gotten a private home loan.
While the requirements are far easier for most people to obtain a VA home loan, there are still requirements. One of the most pleasing aspects of the VA home loan is that there are no minimum earning requirements for qualification for a loan. However, you do have to have regular, steady income that can cover the expected expenses of the mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. The VA requires that your earnings go beyond just the ability to meet these basic needs though, there is also a requirement that you make a certain amount over this amount so as to be able to provide basic needs for you and your family, in addition to a mortgage payment and other related costs.
It is because of this requirement that VA home loans actually have some of the lowest rates of foreclosure, even though their requirements aren’t as stringent as a civilian receiving a private home loan. It is because of the requirement that your income goes beyond this basic threshold that sets new homeowners up for healthy finances and a situation that they can manage without difficulty. The requirement means that the people who qualify for VA loans are in a much better position to be able to effectively manage all these costs. While private lenders often have certain financial requirements, they do not have what the VA calls residual requirements. It is these residual requirements that seem to make a big difference in the number of foreclosures seen.
Though people who qualify for a VA home loan are not subject to the same types of requirements that a civilian seeking a traditional private home loan is, there are still going to be specific requirements that each lender will require, even of those who are borrowing via a VA home loan guarantee. You will have to look into the specific requirements at any potential lending institution to determine what terms will work best for your family and situation.
The VA home loan is one of the most popular benefit programs offered by the Veterans Administration. This benefit makes it easier for service members and their families to qualify for a mortgage at favorable terms that they might not have otherwise obtained through a traditional home loan. This type of loan is available for active service members, those in combat or war zones, retired veterans, Reserve and National Guard members, as well as their family members. The VA itself does not provide the loans; rather they guarantee a certain portion of your loan with a private lender, giving you far better terms with fewer asset requirements than a traditional private home loan.