VA home loans are great deal
One of the biggest benefits veterans have is the home loan guaranty program. The Department of Veterans Affairs website (www.benefits.va.gov) has full details, but here are a few things you need to know if you’re considering using it.
Benefits: You usually won’t need a down payment; the closing costs are limited and can be paid by the seller; you can pay off the loan early without penalty; and you won’t be stuck paying private mortgage insurance. The VA doesn’t loan you the money, but it stands behind a loan you get from another source. The loan guaranty is insurance to the lender, which can be helpful if you’ve been turned down by traditional sources.
Eligibility: You must have decent credit, sufficient income and a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The home must be for you to live in. To obtain a COE, you need to have been discharged under other than dishonorable conditions. To apply for the COE, you’ll need VA Form 26-1880. See the VA website for a chart showing the qualifying wartime and peacetime periods, the qualifying active dates, and the minimum number of service days required.
What you can do: Buy a home, build a home, buy and improve a home, install energy-related improvements, buy a manufactured home and/or lot to put it on.
Other types of loans: Cash-out refinance, which allows you to take the equity from your home for paying off debts, financing school or making improvements to your home; and Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), which is a refinance program for your existing VA loan. Additionally, there are housing grants to help disabled veterans buy or modify a home.
If you don’t have a computer, call the VA for more information about the home loan guaranty program at 1- 800-827-1000.
Freddy Groves regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to [email protected]. © 2013 King Features Synd. Inc.