7 Reasons Why VA Loans Are Perfect for Veterans
Purchasing a home is a major investment, and one-size-fits-all solutions do not apply. There are many different types of mortgage loans tailored to fit homebuyers’ unique needs, including a loan that is exclusively for veterans.
I recently sat down with Jay McMaken, our director of veteran affairs, to discuss how those who honorably serve our homeland can use the VA (Veterans Administration) loan program to buy a place of their own to call home. Here is what he had to say:
At Ross Mortgage, we treat every loan as if it were our own. As a former Marine, I’m passionate about helping fellow veterans achieve the American Dream of homeownership—to me, it’s like pinning a medal on their chest.
Backed by the government, VA loans are available to veterans of the United States Armed Forces, including those who are on active duty or reserve, as well as widows or widowers of veterans. Designed specifically for veterans, the VA loan program comes with special advantages other mortgage loan products don’t have. Financially, it can’t be beat!
Here are 7 reasons why VA loans are the perfect option for veterans:
- Flexible qualifying and credit requirements. While every mortgage loan has a specific set of underwriting guidelines each applicant must meet in order to qualify for the loan, the qualification requirements for VA loans are more flexible. For example, veterans only need a FICO score of 620 to meet credit score requirements.
- Zero down payment. It’s a myth that you have to have a 20% down payment to buy a house. While other loan programs feature low down payments, the VA loan program requires zero money down! Yes, you read that correct. When you apply for a VA mortgage loan, you are not required to put any money down (although you could if you wanted). This significantly lowers the amount of money you owe at closing and reduces your upfront investment.
- No monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI). Typically, when homebuyers have a down payment of less than 20%, lenders will charge the borrower private mortgage insurance each month. This practice is put in place to protect lenders should a borrower default on their loan. However, veterans who obtain VA loans are not required to pay PMI—which can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings each month.
- Low rates. Although mortgage rates remain near historic lows, interest rates have been steadily increasing over the last year. Interest rates on VA loans are typically a half point lower than conventional loans. While a .5% difference may not seem like much, it can add up to thousands of dollars in interest saved over the life of your loan.
- Property tax exemption. Last December, the governor of Michigan signed an act into law that exempts disabled veterans from paying property taxes and extended this tax benefit to spouses of veterans in the unfortunate event their significant other should pass away. This greatly reduces the cost of homeownership for disabled military veterans who were honorably discharged and are unable to work.
- Specially Adapted Housing grant. Under the Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant, disabled veterans can use government funding to make any necessary modifications to their new home. Eligible veterans may receive up to 50% of the total VA loan amount, not exceeding the maximum amount allowed by Congress of $67,500, to use toward home modifications. For example, if your home loan comes to $100,000 and contractors quote modifications at $30,000, you can receive up to 50% of $130,000 (or $65,000 total) for funding.
- Lower fees. Veterans are also exempt from paying the following closing fees if a 1% origination fee is charged at closing:
- Lender’s appraisal – Veterans can only be charged for one appraisal unless the VA deemed a second appraisal mandatory.
- Lender’s inspection – If it is not required on the appraisal, it cannot be charged to the veteran
- Settlement fees, escrow fees or closing fees
- Document preparation fee
- Underwriting fee
- Processing fee
- Pest inspection fee
- Attorney fees if for something other than title work
- Assignment fee
- Administrative fees, such as copying or emailing fees
As Michigan’s VA lending expert, our loan officers have received extensive VA loan training and are dedicated to helping you achieve the American Dream through ethical, obtainable and affordable financing options.
Have a question or want to learn more? Send us a message!