Who is Eligible for a VA Loan?
Across the country, millions of veterans and active-duty service members are eligible to participate in the VA Loan Guaranty Program. Those who fit into one or more of these categories may be eligible:
- Military members who have served 181 days on active duty or three months during war time
- People who have spent at least a half-dozen years in the National Guard or Reserves
- Spouses of those killed in the line of duty
Certificate of Eligibility
Veterans and active-duty service members have to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA. This is a formal document that basically certifies that the prospective borrower has a VA entitlement and is eligible to participate in the program. An entitlement is the amount of money the Veterans Administration will guarantee on a loan.
Veterans can download a Request for Certificate of Eligibility online. VA-approved lenders will also help veterans obtain and fill out these forms automatically and electronically.
It’s important to remember that not everyone who is eligible for a VA loan will ultimately obtain one.
What Can I Buy With a VA Loan>
VA loans are primarily used for buying or building single-family homes. But these flexible loans can also help veterans improve their current living conditions or save more money each month through refinancing. Veterans can use a VA loan to:
- Refinance an existing VA-guaranteed or direct loan in order to lower the current interest rate
- Refinance in order to take out cash
- Repair, alter or improve a residence owned by a veteran
- Simultaneously purchase and improve a home
- Make energy efficient improvements through an Energy Efficient Mortgage in conjunction with a VA purchase or VA refinance
- Purchase a one-family residential unit in a condo development approved by the VA
- Purchase a farm residence to be owned and occupied by the veteran
- Purchase a manufactured or modular home and / or the lot
But veterans and active-duty service members cannot use a VA loan to purchase an investment property. These are geared toward helping eligible veterans become homeowners, not landlords or entrepreneurs.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.