VA Home Loans Military Relocation

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VA Buying Process Provided by two sources and


Locate a lending institution that participates in the VA program. You may want to get "pre-qualified" at this point - that is, find out how big a loan you can afford. Lenders set their own interest rates, discount points, and closing points, so you may want to shop around. Connect with VA Lender now.

Get a Certificate of Eligibility

The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) verifies to the lender that you meet the eligibility requirements for a VA loan. Learn more about the evidence you submit and how to apply for a COE on our Eligibility page.

Find a Home and Sign a Purchase Agreement

Work with a real estate professional and negotiate a purchase agreement. Make sure the purchase and sales agreement contains a "VA Option Clause." Connect with Realtor now.

Here's a sample of a "VA Option Clause":

"It is expressly agreed that, notwithstanding any other provisions of this contract, the purchaser shall not incur any penalty by forfeiture of earnest money or otherwise be obligated to complete the purchase of the property described herein, if the contract purchase price or cost exceeds the reasonable value of the property established by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The purchaser shall, however, have the privilege and option of proceeding with the consummation of this contract without regard to the amount of the reasonable value established by the Department of Veterans Affairs."

If you are loooking for a condo you need to ensure it is an approved complex. You can search the condo name on the VA site here.

Apply for your VA Loan

Work with the lender to complete a loan application and gather the needed documents, such as pay stubs and bank statements.


Loan Processing

The lender orders a VA appraisal and begins to "process" all the credit and income information.

(Note: VA's appraisal is not a home inspection or a guaranty of value. It's just an estimate of the market value on the date of the inspection. Although the appraiser does look for obviously needed repairs, VA doesn't guarantee the condition of the house. The appraiser, who is licensed, is not a VA employee. The lender can't request a specific appraiser; assignments are made on a rotating basis.)

The lending institution reviews the appraisal and all the documentation of credit, income, and assets. The lender then decides whether the loan should be granted.


The lender chooses a title company, an attorney, or one of their own representatives to conduct the closing. This person will coordinate the date/time and the property is transferred. If you have any questions during the process that the lender can't answer to your satisfaction, please contact VA at your Regional Loan Center.

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Eligibility Requirements

The VA loan program is available to active-duty members of the military, veterans, past and current members of the Reserves or National Guard, and the surviving spouses of service members who died in combat. To be eligible, applicants must meet a minimum length of service:

  • 181 days during peacetime (active duty)
  • 90 days during wartime (active duty)
  • Less than 90 days if discharged for a service-related disability (active duty)
  • Six years in the Reserves or National Guard 

Loan Limit
In most counties, you can borrow up to $424,100 for a VA loan without making a down payment. In high-cost areas, you may be able to borrow even more without making a down payment.

Loan Terms

VA loans are available with the same terms as conventional mortgages, typically ranging from 10 to 30 years. Loan options depend on the lender.

Advantages of VA Loans

No Down Payment

If your loan is within the VA guarantee limits, you can take out a mortgage with no down payment.

No Mortgage Insurance Requirement

Mortgage insurance is required with conventional and Federal Housing Administration mortgages if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the property value. 

Lower Credit Score Requirement

The VA does not require a minimum credit score for loans, but the lenders offering them typically do.

Lower Credit Score Requirement

The VA does not require a minimum credit score for loans, but the lenders offering them typically do. 

You need a minimum FICO score of 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage under Fannie Mae rules, but VA lenders typically have minimum FICO score requirements that range from 560 to 620.
Sellers can help with closing costs.

Closing costs include an application fee, a home inspection fee and a title search fee, and average between 2 to 5 percent of the purchase price, according to Zillow. Sellers may be willing to pay some of these expenses in exchange for a higher sale price or if they’re having trouble finding a buyer.

With VA loans, the seller can pay for some of closing costs, up to 4 percent of the purchase price. For closing costs in conventional mortgages, the seller can only pay up to 3 percent of the purchase price if your down payment is less than 10 percent.

VA funding fee can be financed.

The VA charges a funding fee to set up your loan, but you can add this fee to your loan principal so you don’t have to pay anything upfront.

No Prepayment Penalties

Mortgage lenders can charge a penalty if you pay off a conventional mortgage early. 

Support from the VA

If you have trouble making your mortgage payments, the VA offers support through its Regional Loan Centers. You can reach a specialist by calling 877-827-3702, and he or she will go over your options to avoid foreclosure.

Disadvantages of VA Loans

VA Funding Fee

The VA charges a funding fee when you take out a VA loan. It’s an extra charge that you would not pay for a conventional mortgage. The fee can be added into your loan, so you can pay it as part of your monthly mortgage payments.

The amount you’ll owe depends on the size of your down payment, whether you have taken out a VA loan in the past and whether you served on active duty, or in the Reserves or National Guard. 

VA Funding Fees
Type of veteranDown paymentPercentage for first VA loanPercentage for subsequent VA loan
Active duty None
5 percent or more
10 percent or more
2.15 percent
1.5 percent
1.25 percent
3.3 percent
1.5 percent
1.25 percent
Reserves or National Guard None
5 percent or more
10 percent or more
2.4 percent
1.75 percent
1.5 percent
3.3 percent
1.75 percent
1.5 percent

For example, if you served on active duty, are not making a down payment and are taking out your first VA loan, the VA will charge 2.15 percent of your loan amount for the funding fee.
See more restrictions and How to Apply here

How VA Loans Work

ow VA Appraisal Work - 


Additional VA Home Loan Programs

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