Everything You Need to Know About Your VA Loan

Congratulations on your decision to buy a new home! Whether it's your first home or you're downsizing for retirement, a new home purchase is exciting – and a bit overwhelming. 

If you've secured a VA loan already, great! This basic guide to your VA loan will answer any questions you may still have. If you're not yet approved for a loan, don't worry! Read on to find out everything you need to know about your VA loan and purchasing a new home. 

What is a VA loan?

First things first – what is a VA loan? A VA loan is a home loan, or mortgage, that's guaranteed by the US Department of Veteran's Affairs. But it's important to note that, although the loan is guaranteed by the government, it's not actually the government loaning you the money. VA loans are procured through private lenders like your bank or credit union. 

What do you mean, the money is "guaranteed?"

guaranty is a promise to pay, should you default. In other words, if you suddenly find yourself faced with medical bills or unexpected expenses and are unable to pay your mortgage, the Department of Veteran's Affairs will assume responsibility for your debt. 

Does that mean I don't have to fulfill my mortgage obligation?

No, you still have to pay your monthly mortgage. What a guarantor does is assume just a portion of your debt, allowing you to secure a very favorable loan with your private lender. In most cases, a VA loan will result in zero down payment. However, you should talk to your loan officer for complete details. 

What kind of house is eligible for purchase with a VA loan?

You can buy just about any home with a VA loan! There may be restrictions on mobile homes, but whether you're in search of a single-family dwelling, a condo or a townhouse, your VA loan can be used. As a matter of fact, you can sometimes use your VA loan for home repairs, too. Not all repairs are eligible, so be sure to check with your VA office and your private lender. 

You said it's good for home repairs – how many times can I use my VA benefit?

As a "thank you" for your service, the government doesn't put a limit on how many times you may use your VA benefit. In some cases, you may even be eligible to open two concurrent accounts. However, in most instances, you'll be responsible for paying off your first loan before you can open a subsequent account. There may also be limits to the dollar amount you are eligible for. 

I was generally discharged. Can I still get a VA loan?

Yes! Unless you were dishonorably discharged, you qualify for all the benefits available to veterans. General discharge, discharge under honorable conditions and honorable discharge all qualify you for a VA loan. 

I don't have good credit. Can I still get a VA loan?