VA Home Loans 

One of the benefits of serving in the military is the VA home loans program. VA loans are a great option for veterans, active-duty service members, and qualifying spouses. There are unique VA loan benefits offered to disabled veterans as well.

Backed by the government, VA home loans are issued by banks, credit unions, and mortgage providers. It’s easier to qualify for a VA loan, and 100% financing is available with lower interest rates than a conventional loan. They can be used for the purchase of a home or refinancing. The advantage of government-backed loans is that private lenders are given special guarantees that protect them. This means they can risk offering loans with little to no down payment and forego private mortgage insurance.  

Who can get a VA loan?

There are guidelines as to who can apply for VA home loans. If you meet any of these qualifications, you’re eligible: 

  • 181 days of active service during peacetime 
  • 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime 
  • More than 6 years of National Guard or Reserves or 90 days under Title 32 with at least 30 days being consecutive.  
  • You’re a spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or their death was connected to a service-related disability. In most cases, you can’t be remarried. 

What are the basic requirements?

  • Down Payment: Zero down – 100% financing 
  • Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio limit: 55% (May vary based on other credit factors) 
  • Personal Mortgage Insurance: Not required 
  • VA Funding Fee: Yes. Can be rolled into mortgage and some exemptions
  • Credit score minimum: 580 
  • Must be your primary residence 
  • Property types: Single-family, Condos, Townhomes, Multi-family, Manufactured  

Summary of VA Loan Benefits

  • No equity in house needed to refinance a VA loan to lower rate 
  • No private mortgage insurance payment tacked onto your monthly mortgage 
  • Interest rates are typically lower because the loan is guaranteed by the government 
  • Less strict borrower requirements: Typically, no down payment; lower credit score accepted 
  • Exemptions for disabled veterans and spouses of veterans who’ve lost their life in the line of duty or as a result of service-related injury 
  • Access to grants for Special Adapted Housing for disabled 


Our loan comparison chart shows how VA home loans differ from conventional loans, jumbo loans, and other government-backed mortgages.