10 Biggest Benefits of a VA loan!

thank-you-veterans

The VA loan: Better than FHA and conventional loans?

There is a “right program” for every mortgage borrower, but for many, the VA loan stands apart for its combination of low rates, aggressive underwriting, and secondary benefits.

Backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans are designed to help active-duty military personnel, veterans and certain other groups become homeowners at an affordable cost.

The VA loan asks for no down payment, requires no mortgage insurance, allows flexible guidelines for qualification among its many other advantages.

VA-FLYER

Here’s an overview of the 10 biggest benefits of a VA home loan.

1. No down payment on a VA loan

Most home loan programs require you to make at least a small down payment to buy a home. The VA home loan is an exception.

Rather than paying 5, 10, 20 percent or more of the home’s purchase price upfront in cash, with a VA loan you can finance up to 100 percent of the purchase price. The VA loan is a true no-money-down opportunity.

2. No mortgage insurance for VA loans

Typically, lenders require you to pay for mortgage insurance if you make a down payment that’s less than 20 percent. This insurance, which is known as private mortgage insurance (PMI) for a conventional loan and a mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for an FHA loan, protects the lender in the event that you default on your loan.

VA loans require neither a down payment nor mortgage insurance. That makes this a VA-backed mortgage very affordable upfront and over time.

3. VA loans have a government guarantee

There’s a reason why the VA loan comes with such favorable terms. The federal government guarantees that a portion of the loan will be repaid to the lender even if you’re unable to make monthly payments for whatever reason.

This guarantee encourages and enables lenders to offer VA loans with exceptionally attractive terms to borrowers that want them.

4. Your ability to shop and compare VA loans

VA loans are neither originated nor funded by the VA. Furthermore, mortgage rates for VA loans aren’t set by the VA itself. Instead, VA loans are offered by U.S. banks, savings-and-loans institutions, credit unions and mortgage lenders — each of which sets its own VA loan rates and fees.

This means you can shop around and compare loan offers and still choose the VA loan that works best for your budget.

5. VA loans don’t allow a prepayment penalty

A VA loan won’t restrict your right to sell your home if you decide you no longer want to own it. There’s no prepayment penalty or early-exit fee no matter within what time frame you decide to sell your home.

Furthermore, there are no restrictions regarding a refinance of your VA loan.

You can refinance your existing VA loan into another VA loan via the agency’s Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) program or switch into a non-VA loan at any time.

6. They come in many varieties

A VA loan can have a fixed rate or an adjustable rate. It can be used to buy a house, condo, new-built home, manufactured home, duplex or other types of properties.

Or, it can be used to refinance your existing mortgage, make repairs or improvements to your home, or make your home more energy efficient. The choices are yours. A VA-approved lender can help you decide.

7. It’s easier to qualify for VA loans

Like all mortgage types, VA loans require specific documentation, an acceptable credit history and sufficient income to make your monthly payments. But, as compared to other loan programs, VA loan guidelines tend to be more flexible. This is made possible because of the VA loan guaranty.

The Department of Veterans Affairs genuinely wants to make it easier for you to buy a home or refinance.

8. VA loan closing costs are lower

The VA limits the closing costs lenders can charge to VA loan applicants. This is another way that a VA loan can be more affordable than other types of loans. Money saved can be used for furniture, moving costs, home improvements or anything else.

9. The VA offers funding fee flexibility

VA loans require a “funding fee”, an upfront cost based on your loan amount, your type of eligible service, your down payment size plus other factors. Funding fees don’t need to be paid as cash, though. The VA allows it to be financed with the loan, so nothing is due at closing.

And, not all VA borrowers will pay it. VA funding fees are normally waived for veterans who receive VA disability compensation and for unmarried surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or as a result of a service-connected disability.

10. VA loans are assumable

Most VA loans are “assumable,” which means you can transfer your VA loan to a future home buyer if that person is also VA-eligible.

Assumable loans can be a huge benefit when you sell your home — especially in a rising mortgage rate environment. If your home loan has today’s low rate and market rates rise in the future, the assumption features of your VA become even more valuable.


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10 Questions You Should Ask Your Mortgage Lender

Being a home buyer can be a stressful experience, especially if you don’t know what to expect. You want to ensure that you make informed decisions. But, doing so can be challenging when you aren’t even sure of what the right questions are to ask your mortgage lender.

  1. How much money can I borrow to buy a home?

When determining how much you can borrow, lenders may consider your income level compared with debt, your employment status and your credit history. Talk to a lender about getting prequalified for a mortgage before you start shopping for your new home. This can make the whole experience go more smoothly.

2. How much money do I need to put down?

To get the best rate and terms for your loan, try to put down at least 20 percent of the purchase price. Although a lower down payment won’t necessarily disqualify you, there is a chance that a monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) payment will be added if your down payment is less than 20 percent. Your down payment will affect other variables as well, such as your interest rate, terms and monthly payments. Ask your lender for more information about the minimum down payment required for your loan and if you might be eligible for any down payment or cost-saving assistance programs, and decide what’s right for you.

3. What’s the interest rate?

Right off the bat, you should ask your lender for a direct interest rate quote, as well as the corresponding annual percentage rate (APR) for the loan. Since the APR accounts for fees and other loan-related charges, it gives you an apples-to-apples comparison among lenders. Don’t be afraid to shop around until you find one you’re comfortable with.

4. What’s the difference between a fixed rate and an adjustable rate?

A fixed-rate mortgage keeps the same interest rate for the life of the loan, typically a 15- or 30-year term. This keeps your monthly payment for principal and interest steady and predictable over time. Adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, have interest rates that change based on the market, so your payment will go up and down. Most ARMs are based on a 30-year term and typically start with an initial fixed interest rate for a specific period of time, usually 5, 7 or 10 years. It’s important to compare these two types of mortgages to find what’s best for your situation.

5. How many points does that rate include?

A discount point is a fee paid to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. (1 point = 1% of your total mortgage amount.) Be sure to ask your lender how many points are included in the quoted interest rate and what the benefits might be to buying more or fewer points.

6. When can I lock my interest rate?

Interest rates always fluctuate. Sometimes, locking in a low rate can really pay off. Ask your lender when you can lock a particular rate and for how long. Keep in mind, lenders will usually offer lower interest rates for shorter-term locks and higher interest rates for longer-term locks.

7. What are my estimated closing costs?

Remember to factor in the various fees associated with buying a home—particularly closing costs. Closing costs include loan origination fees, appraisal fees and attorney fees (if any), to name a few. Your lender should provide you with a Loan Estimate showing the approximate costs of your loan so you can budget accordingly.

8. Are there any other costs or fees I should know about?

The more information you can collect up front, the more prepared you’ll be should you run into any unexpected expenses along the way. To help you understand the various fees you’ll need to cover, your lender should give you a Closing Disclosure detailing all the costs associated with your loan. It’s a good idea to compare the Closing Disclosure to the Loan Estimate.

9. Can you estimate when the closing will be?

A lot of factors help determine when your exact closing date will be—many of which are completely out of your control. Ask your lender for an estimate of when you might expect to close. That way you’ll at least have a rough idea of the timetable you’re working with.

10. Is there anything that could delay my closing?

Yes, buying a home is a complex process with many stages and requirements. While delays are normal, the best way to avoid them is to stay in touch with your lender and provide the most up-to-date documentation as quickly as you can. 

Pre-qualification is neither pre-approval nor a commitment to lend; you must submit additional information for review and approval.


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