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Curious About VA Loans? Here's What You Need to Know

by Brynda Cummings 11/05/2018

There are a number of programs, government-sponsored and otherwise, that are designed to help aspiring homeowners find and get approved for a mortgage that works for them.

Among these are first-time homeowner loans insured by the Housing and Urban Development Department, mortgages and loans insured by the USDA designed to help people living in urban and rural areas, and VA loans, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


In today’s post, I’m going to give you a basic rundown of VA loans, who is eligible for them, and how to apply for one. That way you’ll feel confident knowing you’re getting the best possible deal on your home mortgage.


What is a VA Loan?

VA loans can provide soon-to-be homeowners who have served their country with low-interest rates and no private mortgage insurance (PMI).

If you’re hoping to buy a home soon and don’t have at least a 20% down payment, you typically have to take out private mortgage insurance. This means paying an extra insurance bill on top of your monthly mortgage payments. The downside of PMI is that it never turns into equity that you can then use when you decide to move again or sell your home.

Loans that are guaranteed by the VA don’t require PMI because the bank knows your loan is a safer investment than if it wasn’t guaranteed

VA loans may also help you secure a lower interest rate, or give you some negotiating power when it comes to discussing your interest rate.

Finally, VA loans set limits on the number of closing costs you can pay in your mortgage. And, if you’ve ever bought a home before, you’ll know how quickly closing costs can add up.

Who is eligible?

There are some common misconceptions about who can apply for a VA loan? So, we’ll cover all the bases of eligibility.

If you meet one of the following criteria, you may be eligible for a VA loan:


  • You’ve served 90 consecutive days during wartime

  • You’ve served 181 days during peacetime

  • You’ve served six or more years in the Reserves or National Guard

  • Your spouse died due to their work in the military

There are some restrictions to these eligibilities. For example, your chosen lender may still have credit score minimums.

Applying for a VA Loan

There are two main steps for applying for a VA Loan. First, you’ll have to ensure your eligibility. You can do this by checking the VA’s official website. Be sure to call them with any questions you may have.

Next, you’ll need a certificate of eligibility. The easiest way to acquire one is through your chosen lender.  If you haven’t chosen a lender, you can also apply online through the eBenefits portal, or by mailing in a paper application.

Once you have a certificate, you can apply for your mortgage and you’ll be on your way to buying a home.

About the Author

Author
Brynda Cummings

 I am excited to be back home in Florida and residing in St. Augustine. Whether you need help buying or selling a home, purchasing a second home, investment property or vacant land, I will put my expertise to work for you!
I pride myself on my ability to listen to my clients needs and connect them with the opportunities that best match those needs. I will work tirelessly for you to ensure you are connected with the best real estate opportunites.
I know first hand the challenge of relocating, selling a home and having to find a new one. I have relocated from North Florida to South Florida, New Orleans, Houston Texas and now back home in Florida in Sunny St Augustine.  

My Experience

  • Over 20 years experience.

My Credentials and Memberships

  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Graduate REALTOR Institute (GRI) Member St. Johns-St Augustine Association of Realtors Member Northeast Florida Association of Realtors
  • broker-Associate

My Community Involvement

  • Harbor Island Tennis Club
  • Sunrise Rotary of Saint Augustine
  • Anastasia Baptist Church
  • Treasure Beach Property Owners Association