If You’re a Veteran, You Owe It to Yourself to Consider Using a VA Loan

Real_Estate_Today_bylineAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a mortgage broker — frankly, I don’t think real estate agents should be in that business — but I know enough about VA loans to say that any veteran purchasing a home with a mortgage should ask their lender whether a VA loan might be right for them.

This is particularly true for veterans with a 10% or greater disability, because for them the VA funding fee is waived, making a VA loan an easy choice over a conventional, FHA or even a jumbo loan.

A VA jumbo loan is one that is in excess of the conforming limit, which varies by county (the limit in Jeffco, for example is $493,350). You may think that the VA loan limit is that amount, but that’s merely the limit for 100% financing. You can borrow much more than that amount — up to $1.5 million — as long as you put down at least 25% of the difference between the purchase price and the VA limit.

The following useful information about VA loans was gleaned from the VA’s website:

VA logoVA home loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling your lender to provide you with more favorable terms, including:

  • No down payment as long as the sales price doesn’t exceed the appraised value.
  • No private mortgage insurance premium requirement.
  • VA rules limit the amount you can be charged for closing costs.
  • Closing costs may be paid by the seller.
  • The lender can’t charge you a penalty fee if you pay the loan off early.
  • VA may be able to provide you some assistance if you run into difficulty making payments.

You should also know that:

  • You don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer.
  • You can reuse the benefit.
  • VA-backed loans are assumable, as long as the person assuming the loan qualifies.

You must have satisfactory credit [Wells Fargo requires a credit score above 600], sufficient income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan. The home must be for your own personal occupancy [not for a rental or investment property]. The eligibility requirements to obtain a COE are listed below for service members, veterans, spouses and other eligible beneficiaries.

VA home loans can be used to:

  • Buy a home or a condominium unit in a  VA-approved project
  • Build a home
  • Simultaneously purchase and improve a home
  • Improve a home by installing energy-related features or making energy efficient improvements
  • Buy a manufactured home on land
  • To refinance an existing VA-guaranteed or direct loan for the purpose of a lower interest rate
  •  To refinance an existing mortgage loan or other indebtedness secured by a lien of record on a residence owned and occupied by the veteran as a home.

Fortunately, a VA regional loan center — one of only nine in the country — is located in Lakewood, at 155 Van Gordon Street. They should be able to provide you with the required Certificate of Eligibility.

Eligibility (visit http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans for more information) varies by the type and length of your military service, whether you are disabled or a surviving spouse who has not remarried.

Come to our VA Homebuyer Workshop Tonight!

Whether a VA loan is right for you is not always easy to determine, so Golden Real Estate has partnered with Wells Fargo to host a VA Homebuyer Workshop this Thursday, November 30th, from 6 to 7 pm, at VFW Post 1, 841 Santa Fe Drive, Denver.  RSVP to Bernie Bernfeld at 303-273-6373, or call or text me at 303-525-1851.

Bernie specializes in VA loans for Wells Fargo and would be happy to answer your questions if you can’t attend the workshop.


Author: Golden Real Estate, Inc.

Golden Real Estate is a prominent member of the Denver/Jefferson County real estate scene. Based in Golden, we service both Denver and Jeffco, representing both buyers and sellers. We're well known for Broker Jim Smith's weekly "Real Estate Today" column published in the Denver and Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section each Thursday. The column also appears in several weekly newspapers and is archived at www.JimSmithColumns.com. We have nine agents, all of whom are Realtors and EcoBrokers. Our office is Net Zero Energy since December 2017, and several of us drive electrics cars. Known for our sustainable practices, we accept polystyrene (aka "Styrofoam") for recycling, keeping 200 cubic yards per year out of area landfills.

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