Ari Koufos
REALTY EXECUTIVES | 617-799-8948 | ari@arikoufos.com


Posted by Ari Koufos on 11/6/2018

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 todayís post, Iím going to give you a basic rundown of VA loans, who is eligible for them, and how to apply for one. That way youíll feel confident knowing youíre 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 youíre hoping to buy a home soon and donít 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 donít require PMI because the bank knows your loan is a safer investment than if it wasnít 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 youíve ever bought a home before, youíll 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, weíll cover all the bases of eligibility.

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


  • Youíve served 90 consecutive days during wartime

  • Youíve served 181 days during peacetime

  • Youíve 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, youíll have to ensure your eligibility. You can do this by checking the VAís official website. Be sure to call them with any questions you may have.

Next, youíll need a certificate of eligibility. The easiest way to acquire one is through your chosen lender.  If you havenít 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 youíll be on your way to buying a home.