Everything You Need To Know About Using Your VA Loan
The VA loan program is universally recognized as one of the best loan programs available. VA loans are available to all current service members, veterans and even some eligible surviving spouses.
What many VA loan eligible home buyers do not realize is that things like rates and fees can vary depending on the provider you go with. So if you are considering buying a house with your VA loan, here’s everything you need to know about using your VA Loan.
Are there restrictions on what type of home I can buy with my VA loan?
Despite the VA Loan being labeled as one of the more strict loan programs, it follows very similar guidelines to the FHA loan. When using a VA loan, you must be using the house as your primary residence and it must be either an existing single family home, townhouse, condo or new construction.
Although mobile and manufactured homes on permanent foundations can be eligible for the VA loan program in certain circumstances, USAA and most other lenders will not finance them for purchase.
What are the big advantages to using your VA loan?
First, there’s no down payment. When using your VA loan, you do not have to put any money as down payment because the VA loan program allows you to 100% finance your home if you so desire. With that being said, if you have some savings and would like to start building equity in your home, you can always put money down if you wish to.
Second, there’s no PMI. PMI stands for private mortgage insurance. Most home buyers who purchase a home with a conventional or FHA loan and make a down payment of less than 20% have to purchase PMI. This protects lenders from the risk that you default on your loan. Because VA loans are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration, VA loans never require you to purchase PMI, even if you choose 100% financing and don’t make a down payment.
Lastly, there is no prepayment penalty. Some lenders will charge you if you make extra principal payments in an effort to build up equity and reduce the total amount owed in interest. However, this is not the case with the VA loan. You are encouraged to pay more towards your principal balance as you’d like and have the opportunity to cut your total loan amount by thousands if you choose to do so.
Do I have to get my VA loan through USAA?
Not at all! Although USAA is a great starting point for a VA loan, pretty much any lender will be able to help you use your VA loan and benefits to buy a house. With that being said, rates and fees differ between lenders so shopping around for the best loan terms is highly encouraged.
One thing I always recommend to VA home buyers I work with is to pay special attention to origination fees. Some banks will charge you a flat fee for origination, others may charge you a percentage of the price of the house you are going to buy. Shopping around for the best loan terms has the opportunity to save you thousands!
Is it true that USAA will get me the best price on home insurance?
Possibly! For instance, just as it’s a good idea to shop around for the best loan terms, it is also a good idea to shop around for the best deal on home insurance. If you already have your car insurance with USAA, they may be able to give you an extra discount for having multiple insurance policies if you include your home insurance.
Your VA Loan Specialist
Nicole Nark is a Central Arkansas Realtor specializing in helping veterans and current service members maximize the VA loan benefits available to them. She has helped numerous home buyers smoothly navigate both their domestic and international PCS moves.
Whether you have already made it to Central Arkansas and are ready to start looking at homes or you are ready to start the process from another base, Nicole is standing by and ready to help! Contact Nicole at 501-612-3965 or by email at