The VA mortgage is a government backed home loan guaranteed by the Veterans Administration. The VA loan program provides veterans and/or their surviving spouses with a 100% guaranteed mortgages with no down payment required. This is great for Vets looking to purchase in Escambia County as most mortgage programs like FHA require a 3.5% min down payment. Conventional loans require even more down payment of 5-10%, however all of these require mortgage insurance costs and VA does not. Below we will discuss some of the eligibility guidelines and advantages of the VA program in Pensacola.
- VA loans have varying eligibility requirements depending on the duration and type of military service performed. Veterans who served on active duty for 90 days during wartime, or 181 or more continuous days during peacetime are generally eligible. There is also a two-year requirement if the veteran enlisted and began service after September 7, 1980 or if the veteran was an officer and began service after October 16, 1981. Additionally, there is a six year requirement for National Guards and reservists along with other specific criteria.
- Surviving spouses of a service member missing in action or a prisoner of war may also be eligible. The best way to see if you’re eligible for an VA loan is to visit the following website, which lists all eligibility criteria for Florida VA loans. You can apply for and obtain a VA loan with any VA lender that participates in the VA home loan program. To get started, you will need to get a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA, which we would be happy to assist you with. If you need help, just contact Coast2Coast Lending at ph: 904-810-2293
- VA loans are for primary home purchases only. No vacation homes or investment properties.
VA has a few different mortgage programs for purchase and refinance:
- If you currently have a VA mortgage and want to learn about lowering your interest rate, the VA streamline refinance or "IRRRL" program is the best option. Unlimited loan to value, no appraisal, all documentation is “streamline” as the program name states with little hassle. VA also offer cash out refinance options for those home owners that do have equity, please contact below for details.
- VA purchase program - Prospective homebuyers around Pensacola can borrow up to 100% for a purchase with NO PMI or private mortgage insurance. VA is the only 100% home loan available in Escambia County that doesn’t require monthly mortgage insurance. USDA loans also offer 100% financing for non military home buyers, the property to be purchased must be in a USDA approved rural area. Most of the immediate Pensacola area is not eligible for USDA home financing.
- VA loans can be an assortment of terms - both fixed-rate mortgages or ARM (adjustable-rate mortgages) with the 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, and 5/1, 7/1 ARM common options. A VA funding fee of 0% to 3.3% of the loan amount must be paid to the VA, and can be financed on top of the total loan amount.
Advantages of VA Loans:
VA loans come with a number of benefits and advantages that can make them a solid choice above conventional options. Let’s take a look at some common frequently asked questions:
Do VA loans require a down payment?
No. Perhaps the biggest advantage is the lack of a down payment requirement, which was previously mentioned. Additionally, mortgage rates on VA loans are typically cheaper than those on conventional mortgages, though that will vary based on your unique borrower profile. So you could wind up with a lower rate and less out-of-pocket expenses, which is certainly helpful for the home buyers in Escambia County that have limited cash savings. Additionally, VA loans are generally easier to qualify for than other home loans
What is the VA loan amount cap?
VA loan amount limits vary by county, but most of is aligned with the conforming loan limit of $417,000, though there are high-cost counties that go higher in south Florida. Borrowers can get loans up to these amounts without a down payment. But if the loan amount exceeds these limits, a down payment may be required. A down payment may also be required if a veteran has already used their entitlement and it hasn’t been restored.
Is there a minimum require a minimum credit score?
Aside from not needing a down payment, there isn’t a "technical" minimum credit score requirement for VA loans. However, most lenders and banks that originate VA loans will have in house requirements that require a minimum credit score of 600.
Have a question? Please contact us below - we have specialist available to assist you until 8pm, 7 days a week.