VA Home Loans Overview
Veterans and service members considering purchasing a home may be eligible for a unique home loan benefit that may offer better terms than a traditional loan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees home loans and offers other housing-related programs to help veterans, service members and eligible spouses to buy, build, repair or adapt a home for personal occupancy.
VA Home Loans were created to help military members and their spouses purchase homes without the need for excellent credit, a down payment or mortgage insurance. Although they are guaranteed by the federal government, the loans are issued through private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. Because a portion of the loan is guaranteed, lenders are incentivized to provide veterans with more favorable terms.
Contact a Regional Loan Center for loan eligibility questions and information.
Visit the Veterans Services page for more information on programs and services available.
To be eligible, veterans and service members must have satisfactory credit and meet the income requirements of their lender. In addition, they will need a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which is based on service history and duty status.
Veterans and service members can apply for a COE if they were not dishonorably discharged and meet the minimum active-duty service requirement based on when they served.
The loan options available may also set specific eligibility requirements as explained below.
Types of Services & Supports that can be used for VA Home Loans
There are four VA Loan options available:
- Purchase Loans and Cash-Out Refinance: Provides a competitive interest rate often without requiring a down payment or private mortgage insurance. Cash-Out Refinance loans allow eligible veterans to take cash out of home equity to take care of concerns like paying off debt, funding school, or making home improvements.
- Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL): Also called a Streamline Refinance Loan, this may provide access to a lower interest rate by lowering monthly mortgage payments or by refinancing an existing VA loan. To be eligible, applicants must already have a VA-backed home loan and can certify that they are currently living in or used to live in the home covered by the loan.
- Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program: The NADL program helps Native American veterans and their spouses buy, build or improve a home on Federal Trust Land. The tribal organization must participate in the VA direct loan program.
- Adapted Housing Grants: Helps veterans with a permanent, service-connected disability purchase or build an adapted home or modify an existing home to accommodate their disability. Visit Veterans Home Accessibility Grants and Programs for more information.
Purchase loans, cash-out refinances and IRRRLs are obtained through private lenders such as a bank, mortgage company or credit union. Be sure to contact several lenders to evaluate the options.
To begin the application process for the NADL program, contact the VA Regional Loan Center.
Contact a Regional Loan Center for application to other programs or for information.
Find the nearest Regional Loan Center online here or call 1-877-827-3702 between the hours of 8am to 6pm.