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VA Loan Requirements and Guidelines for 2019

4 minute read

Being a veteran gives you more than just the pride of serving and the gratitude of your fellow citizens.

Veterans get a range of benefits from the federal government for serving.

One of these benefits is the VA loan. If you want to purchase a home after you leave the service, this is a benefit you’ll want to take advantage of.

VA loans are the cheapest mortgage type available today.

This article covers all of the VA loan requirements and guidelines.

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What is a VA Loan?

a VA loan is insured by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and offered by many lenders across the country.  The VA program was created to help Veterans become homeowners without a downpayment even if they have low credit scores.

The VA does not offer the loan directly, they just insure the loan incase the loan is defaulted on. There are several great benefits of VA loans but the largest benefits are NO downpayment and no mortgage insurance. VA loans can be used to purchase, or refinance a home.

VA Mortgage Benefits

VA Eligibility Guidelines

If you’ve served in the active military for at least six months, or in the reserves or National Guard for six years, or a spouse of someone who meets these conditions, you’ll likely qualify.

If you are approved, you’ll receive a document called a VA certificate of eligibility which will prove to lenders that you qualify for a VA loan. However, you don’t need one on hand to start the process. Lenders can get this document from the government on your behalf during pre-approval.

Basic VA Service Requirements:

Dishonorably discharged veterans are ineligible for any type of VA home loan.

Qualifying VA Income

Non-Qualifying VA Income

VA Loan Limits

In most parts of the country, veterans who qualify for military VA Loans can purchase a home worth up to $424,100 with no money down. However, with the 2017 VA Limits, high-cost counties such as Los Angeles and Denver have higher limits as high as $636,150. You can check VA loan limits in your county here.

VA Loan Requirements for Credit Scores


The VA hasn’t set any minimum credit score requirements for VA mortgages. Although, each VA lender sets their own minimum credit requirements, typically that score is 620. There are some situations in which someone can qualify for a VA loan with bad credit. Some VA mortgage lenders are able to accept a credit score of 580 or higher.

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VA Debt to Income Ratios

VA loan requirements do not state a maximum debt to income (DTI) ratio. However, lenders set there own maximum DTI requirements for these mortgages. Typically, lenders max DTI ratio fir VA 41%. However, 41% isn’t a hard limits there are exceptions in some cases. To qualify for a VA mortgage with a DTI over 41% you should have strong compensating factors, such as:

VA Interest Rates

VA loans have lower interest rates than conventional mortgages. However, like all loans the interest rate will be better the higher your credit score is. In order to avoid high interest rates, you should work on increasing your credit score as much as possible.  The exact interest rate you’ll be charged on a VA mortgage depends on many factors.

The maximum loan amount is around $450,000, but that can increase if you live an area with high housing costs. If you have bad credit for your VA loan, there are still options available.

VA Funding Fee

While you don’t have to have a down payment with a VA loan, there are some special fees you’ll have to pay. First, closing costs aren’t covered, you can expect to pay between 1%-4%. Second, there is a special one-time VA funding fee you have to pay in lieu of a down payment.

If you are getting a VA loan for the first time with no down payment, you need to pay a VA funding fee equal to 2.15% of the loan amount. If you do put down 10% of the loan, this fee is lowered to 1.25%. The exact percentage will vary based on your down payment and the type of veteran you are. If you were discharged for disability reasons, this funding fee is waived.

Speak to our lenders and get current VA rates