For Veterans, the VA Provides Great Homebuying Opportunities
By Phillip B. Burum
This summer the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, otherwise known as the original GI Bill. In addition to elevating the status of, and increasing funding opportunities for, the Veteran’s Administration, the GI Bill established the VA Home Loan benefit. The creation of the VA Loan program enables the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces and their eligible surviving spouses greater access to the American Dream of homeownership. Today, one of the most important benefits the VA offers is the VA Guaranteed Home Loan Program.
The V.A. Guaranteed Home Loan Program is an equal-opportunity program that provides a platform for qualifying veterans to purchase their primary residence without the absolute need for a down payment. The program is a loan guarantee benefit and assists qualified veterans to buy, build, repair, retain or adapt a home for their personal occupancy.
What makes these loans unique is that the V.A. guarantees a portion of the loan. In many cases, this guarantee can be the difference between qualifying for a loan and not qualifying. For others who might otherwise qualify, it provides the security necessary for banks to offer more competitive rates and fees for home and home improvement loans. Because the VA offers so many benefits, those seeking information on these loans should first visit the VA’s www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans website and the new www.ebenefits.va.gov homepage.
VA home loans, although guaranteed by the Veteran’s Administration, are provided by private lenders and can be used for virtually any purpose that a traditional mortgage can be used for.
To qualify for a V.A. Loan there are specific service conditions each borrower must meet or be the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
If interested veterans or surviving spouses meet the requirements, they must then obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the V.A. which is available at the www.ebenefits.va.gov website. The COE certificate verifies that the applicant’s length and character of service make them eligible to use the V.A. home loan benefit.
V.A. Loan applicants can apply online or fill out VA Form 26-1880 which can be downloaded from the V.A.’s website, http://benefits.va.gov/benefits and mailed directly to the V.A. at Atlanta Regional Loan Center, Attn: COE (262), P.O. Box 100034 Decatur, GA 30031.
While applicants are not required to reach any kind of income threshold to use their home loan benefits, they are expected to have stable, reliable income that will cover monthly expenses including their new mortgage payment. Additionally, the V.A. requires that borrowers maintain a certain amount of income left over each month after all major expenses are paid.
The V.A. Loan Program is one of several programs offered by the V.A. including The Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) which can lower the interest and reduce the monthly payment on the existing V.A. guaranteed loan and Adapted Housing Grants which assist veterans with certain total and permanent disabilities related to their military service.
For more in-depth information on any of these programs, visit the V.A.’s www.va.gov website and see all the opportunities available to assist Americans who have served their country to attain homeownership or to make their existing homes more available, affordable or comfortable.
If you are among the millions of Americans that have cause to visit the V.A. website and are eligible for any of the V.A.’s benefits, thank you for your service.
The BIA Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of home ownership. For additional information on homebuying, home improvements or the benefits of homeownership, go to www.biabuild.com on the web.