A VA loan can help a current or former service member of the military achieve the goal of becoming a homeowner. Established as part of the 1944 Servicemen Readjustment Act, VA loans are disbursed to those who qualify by private lenders and backed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Applicants must fulfill a number of eligibility requirements before receiving a VA loan.
What VA Loans Can Do
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, an eligible applicant can use a VA home loan to buy a home or condo in a VA-approved project, buy and improve a home, make a home energy efficient, purchase a manufactured home or lot or even build a home from the ground up.
To qualify for a VA loan, an applicant must meet certain service requirements. If you served during wartime for 90 consecutive days or during peacetime for 180 consecutive days, you may be eligible. You may also qualify if you served for at least six years in the National Guard or Reserves. Military spouses may also qualify for a VA loan if they meet the criteria set down by the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Certificate of Eligibility
A VA loan applicant must complete the Certificate of Eligibility before approval. To complete a COE, each type of service member must fulfill different requirements. Veterans, active-duty service members, current National Guard or Reserve members, discharged members or surviving spouses of service members who died on active duty or due to service-related injury each have different conditions to meet to complete a COE. These criteria are available on the Department of Veteran Affairs website.
In addition to the service requirements and the completion of a COE, a VA loan applicant must have adequate credit and income. The prospective home must be for personal occupancy only. If the applicant is a former service member, he must have been discharged in any manner other than dishonorably.
Kate Savage is a writer and editor with more than eight years experience writing and editing professionally. She holds a master's degree in writing and editing as well as a bachelor's degree in English literature. Her writing has been featured on a number of websites, including eHow, GlobalPost, and SFGate.com. She lives in Portland, Ore.