VA Home Loan Eligibility: 9 Important Things to Know

VA Home Loan Eligibility is a common concern that bothers many veteran buyers interested in buying their homes. Veterans think that VA loan eligibility will decide whether you can move with the application or not. It’s not that simple.

You can move forward with the VA loan application under the preapproval process without worrying about eligibility. This will help your lender to get a quick look at your credit and income. This will also help your lender identify and solve the problems that might delay your loan. Here, the eligibility factor doesn’t matter.

The VA has set some official eligibility requirements but fulfilling them doesn’t mean you are going to get the loan. Private lenders have their own set of requirements to ensure that you have sufficient income to repay the loan.

Go ahead and read this post if you are still interested to know about the VA Loan Official Eligibility.

1) A VA Home Loan Eligibility is earned:

Many service members have a misconception that you become eligible for the VA home loans if you stay longer in service. Generally speaking, official service requirements for eligibility are as followed:

  • 2 years for regular service members
  • 6 years for Reservists and National Guard members
  • 90 days active duty during wartime
  • 181 days active duty during peacetime

2) Members from these Seven Uniformed Services Will Qualify for the VA Home Loan Benefits:

Service members from seven uniformed services will qualify for the VA home Loans:

  • Army
  • Navy
  • Air Force
  • Marines
  • Coast Guard
  • National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Public Health Service (USPHS)

Read More: 5 things first-time veteran home buyers should know

3) Reserve/National Guard Members Can Be Eligible Too:

Reserve or National Guards will also qualify for the VA home loans after 6 years of service.

You don’t need to worry if you aren’t serving as the active duty personnel. Were you deployed during the Iraq War as an active duty? In that case, you will qualify under active duty wartime (90 days or period ordered) rules. 

The service year’s requirements for Reserve and Guard members include:

  • 6 Years of Service
  • Discharged honorably
  • Placed on retired list
  • Transferred to Standby or Ready Reserve after honorable service
VA Home Loan Eligibility

4) Certain Other Members Can Earn VA Loan Eligibility:

Service members from seven uniformed services aren’t the only people to qualify for the VA loans. In fact, service members from other forces can also apply for the VA loan benefits:

  • Academy Cadets
  • West Point
  • Air Force Academy
  • Coast Guard Academy
  • Midshipmen
  • Naval Academy

5) Active Duty Members Are Eligible to Earn Benefits Faster:

According to the regulations, active duty members are eligible for VA loan benefits but requirements will vary for periods.

  • 90 continuous days for active duty service members
  • 90 days of active service for current Guard and Reserve service members (this can be either Title 10 or Title 32 service)
  • 90 total days for wartime veterans until 05.07.1975
  • 181 continuous days for peacetime Veterans until 09.07.1980 (10.16.1981 for officers)
  • At least 181 days or full call for peacetime Veterans 09.08.1980 – 08.01.1990 (10.17.1981 beginning date for officers)
  • At least 90 days or full call for Gulf War Veterans 08.02.1990 – present

Read more: What’s the best loan option for veteran home buyers?

VA loan Eligibility

6) Surviving Spouses Can Earn VA loan Eligibility:

A military spouse leads a stressful and uncertain life due to the unpredictable nature of their partner’s jobs. Military spouses sacrifice a lot for a greater good although they are not serving in the field. The government acknowledges this sacrifice thus allotting VA loans benefits for the surviving spouses too.

Some eligibility requirements include:

  • Veterans who died in service, or of duty-related causes
  • Veterans who were disabled and eligible for compensation
  • POW or MIA

Surviving spouses should strongly consider checking with the VA about all bereavement benefits during this difficult time.

VA home loan eligibility

7) Eligibility Requirements for the Home:

The property that you will buy must meet the VA minimum property requirements (MPRs) for you to be eligible for VA loan. Here is a brief outline of the MRP including:

  • The home must be built on a good foundation with a safe and sound structure and roof
  • The home must have basic supplies like clean water, heat, and power with no health hazards
  • The home must also have distinct areas for sleeping, cooking, dining, and bathing
  • A home with pests, mold, rot or broken windows will not be accepted
  • The home must have year-round access on a well-maintained road

During the VA appraisal process, a VA-certified appraiser will use the MPRs checklist to ensure that your home meets the requirements.

Here is a short guideline you should follow to make sure you qualify for the VA appraisal process.

Read more: What will fail a VA Appraisal and the solutions to it

8)  You’ve served for a short period of time: 

You will be eligible for the VA loan even if you have served for a short period of time and were discharged for any of the following reasons:

  • Hardship
  • Government convenience
  • Reduction in force
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Service-connected disability

9) You have a Certificate of Eligibility (COE):

You have a COE means that you are already entitled to the VA home loan benefits. Even the spouses of veterans can obtain the COE if:

  • You are the spouse of a surviving veteran
  • You are the spouse of a veteran who is missing
  • You are a spouse of a veteran who is held as the POW  

Determining VA Loan Eligibility is just the part of the VA Loan Process

Meeting the VA home loan eligibility requirements is just the first step of the VA loan process. You will have to prove that you’ve enough money to pay the mortgage after proving your eligibility. In the next steps the lender will check the credit report, your assets, income and documentation.