More and more people are turning to VA Loans for home purchases, tapping into the significant benefits that come with these loans. Designed exclusively for service members, Veterans and their eligible surviving spouses, VA loans were up 16.5 percent in 2021 from 2020, with a total of 1.4 million loans funded last year.
It’s easy to see why. VA loans require no down payment or private mortgage insurance, have more lenient credit requirements and provide qualified borrowers access to the lowest interest rates available. All of these benefits are designed to help make homeownership affordable for those who have served our country.
Only a small segment of Americans qualify for a VA loan. Roughly 18 million Americans, or about 7 percent of the adult U.S. population, were veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To qualify, the borrower must meet U.S. Veterans Administration active-duty requirements to receive a Certificate of Eligibility for a VA loan.
The activity duty requirement thresholds are different for current service members, Veterans, National Guard members and U.S. Reservists. Learn more about the eligibility requirements here.
VA loans are offered by private lenders but are partially guaranteed by the Veterans Administration, enabling lenders to offer better terms for borrowers because their loan risk is lower. The main benefits of a VA loan include:
- No Down Payment: For many, saving for a down payment can be a difficult and time-consuming process that may delay homeownership by months or years. Allowing VA borrowers to purchase a home without a down payment lets them realize homeownership much faster.
- No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Lenders typically require PMI on mortgages when less than a 20% down payment is provided. These PMI payments significantly add to the monthly costs of homeownership. VA loans do not require PMI.
- Lowest Interest Rates: VA loans have had the lowest average interest rate on the market for the past 53 consecutive months.
- Lenient Credit Standards: Because the loan is partially guaranteed by the U.S. Veterans Administration, lenders offer better terms to borrowers. This includes widening the accepted credit score range for mortgage lending.
- Multiple Use of Benefit: Existing VA loan borrowers can re-use their VA loan benefit multiple times across their lifetime. They can refinance a current VA loan into another VA loan to take advantage of lower interest rates, do a cash-out refinance to pay off other existing debt or if use the loan again to purchase another home, depending on how much of the borrower’s VA loan entitlement is available.
Apply for a VA Loan at Travis
You can see why a VA loan makes homeownership affordable. If you have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, first check if you qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility. The next step is to contact Travis Credit Union and we’ll help you get started on your VA loan.
We can also help you get ready for the spring home-buying season as well as prepare your credit score to qualify for a home loan. Travis also offers free webinars related to homeownership, including Home Buying 101 and Understanding the Importance of Your Credit Score.
Your financial wellness matters at Travis Credit Union. Visit traviscu.org for more information about our products and services. You may also visit one of our 24 branches in Northern California.
If you’re ready to start you home-buying journey with Travis, apply online and get pre-approved. We’ll walk you through the entire process, no matter what type of home loan you choose. If you just want to talk about home loans, get in touch with a TCU real estate expert and we’ll provide you with the information you need.