VA Loan Guidelines Explained

When considering a VA Loan, there are many guidelines that designate eligibility. Before getting started on the process, it is important for a potential borrower to understand all of the requirements associated with a VA Loan. Although all VA Loan guidelines will need to be explained by a lender, here is a sampling of what to expect:

Eligibility Guidelines

  • Service requirements ranging from 90 days (active duty during wartime) to 6 years (National Guard)
  • Must acquire a Certificate of Eligibility

Occupancy Guidelines

  • Must personally live in the property or plan to live in the property upon its completion
  • Allows for intermittent occupancy in situations where the veteran has a history of continuous residence in the community and had no intention to establish permanent residency elsewhere
  • Occupancy by a spouse satisfies the requirement for those on active duty

Income Guidelines 

  • Sufficient in amount
  • Stable and reliable
  • Anticipated to continue during foreseeable future

Debts and Credit Guidelines

  • Credit reports must be less than 120 days old (180 days for new construction)
  • Deferred student loan payments must be considered among monthly obligations
  • Bankruptcy does not automatically disqualify applicants

How do I apply for a VA Home Loan Guarantee?

  • Get a Certificate of Eligibility. You can apply for one on-line or a VA approved lender can get one for you.
  • Gather your information. You will need to supply the lender with your personal, financial, employment, and other information so that they can process your application and see if you qualify for a loan.
  • Fill out the paperwork. The lender will give you a lot of paperwork to fill out for the loan. Be completely honest about your debt, bills, and income so that they can accurately figure out your income-to-debt ratio and determine home much of a monthly mortgage payment you can afford.
  • Get a credit check. The lender will run a credit check on you. Perfect credit is not necessary, but you do have to have a certain credit rating to get a loan.
  • Wait for an answer. Once you have filled out all of the paperwork all you can do is wait to hear from your VA approved lender. They may request further information which you should provide quickly to get a faster loan result.