Joint Base Charleston Real Estate

Know the Ins and Outs of the VA Loan

January 11th, 2012 11:57 AM by Jodie Ford

Joint Base Charleston:

Know the Ins and Outs of the VA Loan


What is a VA loan?

VA guaranteed loans are made by private lenders, such as banks, savings & loans, or mortgage companies to eligible veterans for the purchase of a home, which must be for their own personal occupancy. The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you or a later owner fails to repay the loan. The guaranty replaces the protection the lender normally receives by requiring a down payment allowing you to obtain favorable financing terms. NO DOWN PAYMENT IS REQUIRED ON VA LOANS.


Who is Eligible?

Veterans who served on active duty and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, and have at least 90 days of service during war time are eligible. Veterans with service only during peacetime periods and active duty military personnel must have more than 180 days' active service. Veterans of enlisted service which began after September 7, 1980, or officers with service beginning after October 16, 1981, must in most cases have served at least 2 years.

Reservists and National Guard members who were activated on or after August 2, 1990, served at least 90 days and were discharged honorably are eligible. VA regional office personnel may assist with eligibility questions.

Members of the Selected Reserve, including National Guard, who are not otherwise eligible and who have completed 6 years of service and have been honorably discharged or have completed 6 years of service and are still serving may be eligible. Contact the local VA office to find out what is needed to establish eligibility. Reservists will pay a slightly higher funding fee than regular veterans.

How Can I Use My VA Loan?

  • To buy a home, including townhouse or condominium unit in a VA-approved project.
  • To build a home.
  • To simultaneously purchase and improve a home.
  • To improve a home by installing energy-related features such as solar or heating/cooling systems, water heaters, insulation, weather-stripping/ caulking, storm windows/doors or other energy efficient improvements approved by the lender and VA. These features may be added with the purchase of an existing dwelling or by refinancing a home owned and occupied by the veteran. A loan can be increased up to $3,000 based on documented costs or up to $6,000 if the increase in the mortgage payment is offset by the expected reduction in utility costs. A refinancing loan may not exceed 90 percent of the appraised value plus the costs of the improvements. Check with a lender or VA for details.
  • To refinance an existing home loan up to 90 percent of the VA-established reasonable value or to refinance an existing VA loan to reduce the interest rate.
  • To buy a manufactured home and/or lot.

How Can I Get a VA Loan?

The application process for VA financing is no different from any other type of loan. In fact, the VA application form is the same as that used for HUD/FHA and conventional loans. The mortgage lender verifies the applicant's income and assets, and obtains a credit report to see that other obligations are being paid on time. If all is well and the appraised value of the property is enough to cover the loan needed, the lender, in most instances, can then close the loan under VA's automatic procedure. Only about 10 percent of VA loan applications have to be submitted to a VA office for approval before closing.


To obtain a VA loan, the law requires that:

1.     The applicant must be an eligible veteran who has available entitlement.

2.     The loan must be for an eligible purpose.

3.     The veteran must occupy or intend to occupy the property as a home within a reasonable period of time after closing the loan.

4.     The veteran must be a satisfactory credit risk.

5.     The income of the veteran and spouse, if any, must be shown to be stable and sufficient to meet the mortgage payments, cover the costs of owning a home, take care of other obligations and expenses, and have enough left over for family support.

6.     An experienced mortgage lender will be able to discuss specific income and other qualifying requirements.

For more information on VA Loans and benefits for military members wanting to purchase a home please visit:




Jodie Ford - Military Homes Charleston, Joint Base Charleston Real Estate I specialize in helping military families enjoy a smooth PCS in and out of Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. I have a passion for helping people, and I love what I do. Call me (843) 819-4398 and let me make this the easiest PCS yet!

Torri Jacobsen, Military Homes Charleston – Joint Base Charleston Real Estate Buying or selling a home doesn’t have to be hard, but choosing the right Realtor DOES make a difference. I specialize in making first-time home buying a great experience for military families moving to the Charleston, SC area. Call (843-819-4398) or email today, and let’s make this your best move yet! You’ll feel right at home with me.

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Posted by Jodie Ford on January 11th, 2012 11:57 AM


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