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General Frequently Asked Questions
What is a VA loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage loan program designed to help eligible Veterans, active-duty service members, and certain members of the National Guard and Reserves purchase, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for personal occupancy.These loans are negotiated by private lenders, not the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA loans can be used to purchase a home, apartment, or even new construction. These loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which means that lenders are protected against loss if the borrower fails to repay the loan.

What are the pros and cons of a VA loan? 

With a VA Loan, you can enjoy benefits like zero down payment, no personal mortgage insurance, better approval odds, lower fees, and more.VA loans, backed by Veterans Affairs, offer significant advantages including zero down payment requirements, lower interest rates, exemption from private mortgage insurance (PMI), flexible credit standards, limited closing costs, assistance in financial hardship, the ability to reuse the benefit, and no prepayment penalties, making homeownership more accessible and affordable for eligible veterans and active-duty service members.

Let's be real... there's always a down side. Most borrowers are required to pay a VA loan funding fee (currently between 1% and 3% of the amount of the loan). And sometimes there's a bit more paperwork. But VA Loan Nerd is here to help you through it and we'll make it smooth sailing until you're sittin in your new living room.

Read all pros and cons of a VA loan

How does the VA Loan Nerd process work

In a nutshell, here's how we'll do this.

Step 1: Choose Loan Type
We'll help you choose the right loan, and we'll guide you through affordability, benefits, goals, prep, and more.

Step 2: Request a COE
VA Loan Nerd can quickly request your Certificate of Eligibility for you once you've submitted your loan application.

Step 3: Apply for a Loan
We'll help you with application and paperwork (like W-2s, tax returns, etc), and we'll get you pre-approval in 24 hours.

Step 4: Find a Realtor (or in some cases, a builder)
We work with solid, reputable realtors across the country, and we'll help you find the right one for you .

Step 5: Move-in Time!
Your hard work is done. Now comes the fun part... settling in to your new home. And you'll get a gift from us soon after closing!

Read about the VA Loan Nerd process

What are the eligibility requirements for a VA loan?

VA home loan applicants must provide a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove they qualify for a VA loan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides instructions on requesting a COE.

Active Duty: Served 90 days continuously
National Guard or Reserves: Served 6 years, or 90 days with at least 30 days consecutively under Title 32 orders
Veterans: Were active-duty for at least 90 consecutive days in wartime or 181 days in peacetime. Veterans must not have been dishonorably discharged.
Surviving Spouses: Qualifying surviving spouse
Credit Score Requirements: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't set a minimum credit score requirement for VA loans. However, lenders may set their own minimum requirements. Most lenders require a score of at least 620, but some accept a score as low as 500.
Loan Limit: The standard VA loan limit for 2023 is $726,200 for most U.S. counties.

Read full eligibility requirements

What are the different types of VA loans?

Purchase, IRRRL, Cashout Refinance, Renovation, and New Construction

Read details about VA loan types

How long does it take to get approved for a VA loan?

In almost all states we can typically close inside of 30 days. Some states do allow for longer appraiser timelines for report turn in, but VA loans are much faster than most give them credit for.

What are VA loan limits?

NONE! Unless entitlement is wrapped in another property, then we calculate based on remaining entitlement and the conforming loan limit for the area you’re buying in.

Does VA Loan Nerd help me find the right realtor?

Yes. We have trusted agent contacts across the country. We consider them part of our team and they will help you attain your new home. We’d be proud to connect you with them.

What is the VA loan funding fee?

The VA funding fee is a one-time payment that veterans, active-duty service members, and certain other eligible individuals must pay when they obtain a VA home loan. This fee helps to reduce the cost of the loan for U.S. taxpayers since the VA home loan program doesn't require down payments or private mortgage insurance. A veteran may be exempt from paying the VA funding fee if they meet certain criteria, such as:

Receiving VA Disability Compensation: Veterans receiving compensation for a service-connected disability are exempt from the funding fee.

Eligible for Compensation: Veterans who would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability if they were not receiving retirement or active duty pay.

Surviving Spouses: Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from a service-connected disability may also be exempt from the funding fee.

Active Duty Purple Heart Recipients: Service members who have received the Purple Heart and are on active duty at the time of loan closing are exempt from the funding fee.

A non-exempt veteran, therefore, is someone who does not meet these exemption criteria and is required to pay the VA funding fee when obtaining a VA home loan. The fee can be paid upfront or rolled into the total loan amount, and the amount varies based on factors such as the veteran's military service category, the down payment amount (if any), and whether it is the first or a subsequent use of the VA loan benefit.

What are the terms of a VA loan?

VA loans can be in terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years. Adjustable and fixed rates are allowed. Full terms will be determined by credit application.

Eligibility Frequently Asked Questions
How do I request COE?

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What if I don’t meet the minimum service requirements?

You may still be able to get a COE if you were discharged for 1 of the reasons listed here.

You must have been discharged for 1 of these reasons:

The convenience of the government (you must have served at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment)
Early out (you must have served 21 months of a 2-year enlistment)
Reduction in force
Certain medical conditions
A service-connected disability (a disability related to your military service)

Can I get a COE as the spouse of a Veteran?

You may be able to get a COE if you’re the surviving spouse of a Veteran or the spouse of a Veteran who’s missing in action or being held as a prisoner of war (POW).

Can I get a COE in any other situations?

You may be able to get a COE if you meet at least 1 of these requirements.

At least 1 of these must be true:You’re a U.S. citizen who served in the Armed Forces of a government allied with the United States in World War II, orYou served as a member in certain organizationsThese roles in organizations can include:Public Health Service officerCadet at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard AcademyMidshipman at the United States Naval AcademyOfficer of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric AdministrationMerchant seaman during World War II

Can I use a COE I used before?

You may be able to “restore” an entitlement you used in the past to buy another home with a VA direct or VA-backed loan if you meet at least 1 of these requirements.

At least 1 of these must be true:
You’ve sold the home you bought with the prior loan and have paid that loan in full
A qualified Veteran-transferee agrees to assume your loan and substitute their entitlement for the same amount of entitlement you used originally
You’ve repaid your prior loan in full, but haven’t sold the home you bought with that loan (you can only do this 1 time)

To request an entitlement restoration, fill out a Request for a Certificate of Eligibility (VA Form 26-1880) and send it to the VA regional loan center for your state.

What documents might my lender require?

According to the VA, nearly all COE requests come electronically, and about two-thirds get issued immediately. If additional documentation is required, it's typically a DD Form 214 for regular military and the NGB Form 22 and NGB Form 23 for National Guard and Reserves.However, this isn't always the case. See the required forms for each service type.

Get in Touch

Getting a loan doesn't have to be confusing or overwhelming. VA Loan Nerd is here to answer your questions and guide you through the entire process.
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