Orange County VA Loans – 8 Things Realtors (and Vets!) Should Know

Posted on October 3, 2011. Filed under: First Time Buyer help, Lenders & Loan info, Making Life Easier | Tags: , , |

VA LoansHey Orange County Veterans!  Here’s a great article about VA loans from OCAR mag, reprinted with permission here on our blog.  If you’re interested in a VA loan or getting a home with your veteran benefits please contact the AskAngie team at 877-230-3211!

VA Loans on the Rise

With deployment looming and more veterans entering the workforce soon, Realtors might want to brush up on the basics of VA financing.  A VA (Veterans Administration) guaranteed home loan is the preferred loan program for Active (and non-active), Reserve, National Guard, and retired military of the armed forces because there is no down payment needed, the interest rates are low, and no private monthly mortgage insurance is required.

An interesting fact — more than 27 million veterans and service personnel are eligible for VA financing.  This is a growing buyer segment for the real estate community.

Veteran Loans – Do I Qualify?

To be eligible for a VA loan, Wartime/Conflict Veterans must serve for at least 90 days and must receive an honorable discharge.  Here are the dates of active duty:

  • World War II – September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947
  • Korean Conflict – June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
  • Vietnam Era – August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975
  • Persian Gulf War – Check with VA regional office for specific eligibility.
  • Afghanistan and Iraq – Check the VA’s Web site for eligibility guidelines for current service in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Reserves and National Guard – Members who have completed six years of service and have been honorably discharged (or are still serving) may be eligible for a VA loan.

For peacetime service, an applicant must have at least 181 days of continuous active duty with no dishonorable discharge. If discharged earlier due to a service-connected disability, the applicant must contact the regional VA office to verify eligibility.

8 Things Realtor’s & Vets Should Know about VA Loans:

  1. 100% financing – No down, Zero Down.   Unlike an FHA loan (3.5% down) or a conventional loan (3-5% down), a VA loan requires no down payment.
  2. No monthly private mortgage insurance is required.  Unlike a low down FHA or a no down Conventional loan (which require PMI), a VA loan has no PMI.
  3. 4% seller credit is okay — There is a limitation on buyers closing costs.  FHA and Conventional loans allow for a 6% seller credit, but VA loans cap this credit at 4%.
  4. VA is not a lender — VA does not actually lend the money to you directly. Instead, the VA offers a guaranty to lenders, like me, that if the loan goes into default, they will pay the lender a percentage of the loan balance. The word GUARANTY does not actually guaranty the veteran will qualify for a VA home loan.  Instead, it’s a “guaranty” that the lender will not incur losses in case the VA borrower hits hard times and a foreclosure ever develops.
  5. Interest rates are low – The interest rates are similar to FHA rates.
  6. You don’t need perfect credit – Most lenders require at least a 620 FICO score, but some lenders will go as low as 580, if certain conditions are met.
  7. The VA defines allowable fees and charges that the veteran borrower can pay or closing costs that may be charged to the borrower. These costs are determined as reasonable and customary by each local VA office. All other costs in the transaction are considered non-allowable and generally paid by the seller when purchasing a new home or by the lender when refinancing your current VA mortgage. Allowable fees are appraisal, inspections, recording fees, credit report, prepaid items, hazard insurance, flood check, survey, title insurance, and VA funding fee.
  8. The VA also specifies what is NOT allowable.  Additional fees may be charged to the veteran only if specifically authorized by VA. The lender may request VA to approve such a fee if it is, (a) normally paid by the borrower in a particular jurisdiction, and, (b) considered reasonable and customary in the jurisdiction.  The following list provides examples of items that CANNOT be charged to the veteran as “itemized fees and charges.” Instead, the lender must cover any cost of these items out of its flat 1% fee.   Non-allowable fees include:  Loan closing or settlement fees, underwriting, processing, escrow fees, notary, document preparation fees, preparing loan papers or conveyance fees, attorneys services other than for title work, photographs, interest rate lock-in fees,  escrow fees, broker fees by third party mortgage brokers and tax service fees.

PAUL E. SCHEPER, MBA, CSA, SRES is a devoted member of OCAR.  He is a graduate from Harvard University and USC.  He is a licensed mortgage banker and OC VA loan specialist since 1984.

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