Homebuying 101 – VA Loans

Throughout the next several weeks we’ll be posting articles and info on various aspects of the home buying process. Topics will cover everything from saving for a down payment, to refinancing, to purchasing investment properties, and more. We encourage you to connect with us on any questions you might have, and to share this information with friends and family.

What is a VA Loan?

The VA (Veteran’s Administration) Home Loan Guarantee Program helps veterans purchase or refinance homes through VA-approved lenders, like USAgencies Credit Union.

Loans are backed up to $417,000 in Oregon and Washington (and more in some areas) with low closing costs and fewer fees than conventional loans.

Packed with money-saving advantages such as no down payment requirement and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), it’s no surprise that the VA home loan has been used by over 18 million families. For nearly 70 years, this program has made it possible for families just like yours to experience the pride of homeownership.

The VA home loan program continues to shine brightly and forge ahead on its mission of making homeownership possible for the brave men and women who serve our country

Advantages of a VA Loan

  1. No Down Payment Necessary. Traditional loans typically require a buyer to provide between 3 to 20 percent of the home’s price as a down payment. For many first-time homebuyers, supplying this amount of money up front may not be feasible. The VA Loan is a good option for those who may not have a large sum set aside for a down payment, and who meet certain requirements (see Qualifications section).
  2. Less Stringent Qualifications. Many first-time homebuyers might not yet have a strong credit history, which can make it more difficult to get approval for a mortgage or qualify for an affordable interest rate. Since the VA Loan is government-backed, VA Loans are easier to qualify for at competitive rates.
  3. Lower Monthly Payments. Since VA Loans don’t require the added monthly expense of PMI, they tend to leave more money in your pocket each month. In addition, the competitive VA Loan rates can save a typical buyer thousands over the life of the loan.

Qualifications

In general, an honorably discharged service member is eligible for a VA home loan if he or she meets any one of these requirements:

  • Served 181 days during peacetime (Active Duty)
  • Served 90 days during war time (Active Duty)
  • Served 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard
  • The spouse of a service member who died while in service or from a service-connected disability

For more specific information about VA loan qualification, it is best to speak with an experienced home loan officer, like USAgencies’ Steven Raymond.

Next Steps…

The first step toward securing your VA loan is getting pre-approved. This involves a pre-qualification process, where a loan officer assesses the borrower’s financial situation and determines the maximum the veteran qualifies for. The borrower then must submit a completed loan application and documentation to obtain a commitment, otherwise known as a “pre-approval”.

For more detailed information about getting pre-approved for a VA loan, please contact an experienced mortgage loan officer, like Steven Raymond, VP of Residential Lending at USACU.

Questions?
Steven Raymond, VP or Residential Lending at USAgencies Credit Union, has over 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry. Steven’s seen it all, as far as mortgages go. If you have questions—about refinancing, getting pre-approved, or anything else mortgage-related—talk to Steven!

Steven Raymond
Vice President of Residential Lending, NMLS#: 234025
Direct: (503) 275-0329
Toll-free: (800) 452-0915 x329
Email: sraymond@usacu.org

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