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VA, Veteran Affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs: a federal agency which guarantees loans made to veterans; similar to mortgage insurance, a loan guarantee protects lenders against loss that may result from a borrower default.

The VA home loan benefit is called an entitlement.

VA guaranteed loans are made by lenders and brokers to veterans for the purchase of a personal home. The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you fail to repay the loan. The guaranty replaces the protection the lender normally receives by requiring a down payment allowing you to obtain favorable terms.

With a VA loan you finance 100% of the purchase price as well as the funding fee.

If you receive a Veterans disability benefit or allotment, there is a good chance that the funding fee will be waived.

Although rare, the VA will do a "refund" of the loan, from the lender. If the veteran is having difficulty making payments, the VA will "refund", which means they will take over the loan. This is only done when the veteran's reasons were due to circumstances beyond his or her control, and there is a good chance that they will recover and be able to make timely payments again.

VA loans closed after 1988 are assumable, with approval of the VA or the Lender. Loans closed before 1988 are assumable by anyone, without any approval. The owner should get a release of liability before allowing the mortgage to be assumed.

A VA loan refinance, is called an IRRRL. An "Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan" is also referred to as a "Streamline" or "VA to VA". Unless you are refinancing from an adjustable rate, you must be moving to a lower rate, from your existing mortgage rate.

No appraisal or underwriting is required for the IRRRL by the VA, but the lender may want an appraisal and credit report. An IRRRL can be done with no out of pocket expense and does not require the VA certificate of eligibility.

The veteran will need to provide their Certificate of Eligibility, the certificate is VA form 26-8320.

Also, it is possible for a veteran to have more than one VA loan.

A note to the borrower:

There is usually quite a bit more paper work involved in processing a VA loan. There are extra disclosures that need to be signed along with stricter underwriting guidelines. They may require letters of explantions for various items on credit reports etc...

The guarantee is called the VA Funding Fee. It's a percentage of the loan amount and can either be paid at closing or added to the loan amount.

Although you are paying for the funding fee you are getting a lower rate in exchange. This means over the life of your loan you could save thousands of dollars over other conventional loan programs.

It is important to recognize that while the VA appraisal estimates the value of the property, it is not an inspection and does not guarantee that the house is free of defects. Homebuyers should be encouraged to carefully inspect the property themselves, or to hire a reputable inspection firm to help in this area. VA guarantees the loan, not the condition of the property.


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