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Seven tips for Getting a VA Loan

Veteran's Administration (VA) loans are a type of housing loan given to military veterans by private financing and lending institutions. The amount of financing that can get approved is potentially larger than that offered by conventional housing loans. The coverage of a VA loan is also a bit wider in scope, allowing veterans not only to purchase a house, but to use the money for refinancing and altering an existing home. VA loans are being offered by a lot of different groups that have tie ins with the Veteran's Administration, so when checking out the various loan options, you should look at the seven following tips to ensure that you find one that's right for you.

1) Check your eligibility for the loan - before applying for a VA loan, you must first apply for a certificate of eligibility. The request is made by the VA Form 26-1180. Once approved, the Winston-Salem eligibility center issues the certificates. These certificates are not guarantees of loan approval, however, they are merely the first step to getting a loan.

2) Check your credit rating - a person's credit rating is extremely important for getting any type of loan approved. Be sure to check your credit ratings before making any loan applications with a lending institution. Be aware that some financing groups have stricter policies regarding shaky credit histories than others, while some tend to be more lenient with lower amounts. Take everything in your credit history into account, as some groups have different qualifications for what constitutes a good credit history.

3) Occupancy is Important - VA loans are intended for assisting veterans and their families afford housing. Trivial things like second homes and summer vacation homes have reduced chances of getting approved. When applying for a loan, it is important to stress that you and/or your spouse and dependents will be occupying the house as a permanent residence in a short period of time after the loan is approved and the house is purchased.

4) Consider Income when applying for the Loan - you have to show financial capacity when applying for the loan. This does not mean simply that you can afford to pay the loan back within a reasonable amount of time. Aside from paying back the loan, other things to consider when applying for the loan is whether you can handle the mortgage and the day to day expenses for the house's upkeep. Another consideration regarding income is that it is not necessarily a solo venture. Your spouse's income and livelihood can also be used as additional factors to help you get a good loan.

5) Consider your Status of service - loan applications differ depending on your military service. For example, VA loans are primarily geared towards active members, but discharged veterans may also apply depending on factors like the terms of discharge and the tenure of active service. Furthermore, while the offer is made for any military veteran, reservists have to go through slightly different procedures than veterans from active units. Likewise, there are also modified considerations for some loans for those who have served primarily in a peace time capacity as opposed to those who have seen combat. When applying for the loan, make sure that it covers your personal qualifications.

6) Study the lenders carefully - there are a lot of diferent private lending institutions that work with the Veteran's Association to provide VA loans. While all are certified by the VA and are guaranteed, each one will have different credit limits on their loans, different terms of interest and different repayment methods. Be sure to look for one that you can afford to repay in a reasonable amout of time with minimum fuss.

7) Don't start house hunting till after you know the size of the loan - most applicants try to find a house first, then apply for a loan to suit it's size. This does not mean that they will get their loans, and as a matter of fact limits their options severely. The best thing to do is to wait until your loan is approved. At that point, VA consultants will visit the house you're trying to get to make sure it fits within your budget. If you get the loan first then you'll at least be guaranteed of finding a house that will fit your funding, thus gaining the VA consultant's final approval.

by Groshan Fabiola


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