Summary: The VA loan program is highly advantageous for veterans who qualify, namely because of the zero down payment option and more lax lending requirements compared to conventional loans. Here, we’ll address 5 commonly asked questions about VA loans in Washington State.
We’ve published a lot of information about the VA loan program over the last year or so. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it’s one of our specialties. We are passionate about the VA loan program, because it rewards our women and men in uniform. Secondly, borrowers tend to have a lot of questions about this program. So we do our best to answer them.
5 Common Questions About VA Loans in Washington
We’ve created this FAQ article as a way of rounding up some of our best articles, and also to update you on some VA loan changes for 2020.
1. Are all military members in Washington eligible for VA loans?
Washington State has a fairly large military population. So there are many residents in the state who could benefit from using a VA loan to buy a house. This program is open to nearly all current military members and veterans who have served over a certain period of time. Active duty members are generally eligible after 90 days of continuous service. National Guard and Selected Reserve members are usually eligible after six years of service. Here’s an in-depth guide to VA loan eligibility in Washington State.
2. How do I apply for the program?
The mortgage application for VA loans is similar to “regular” conventional mortgage loans, with one notable exception. Borrowers who want to use their VA entitlement to buy a home in Washington must first obtain their Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This official document is provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it shows mortgage lenders that you’re able to participate in the program. Military members can request this document online, through the VA’s website, or through their mortgage lender. Please contact us if you need help with this process, or if you have questions.
3. How much can I borrow?
Before 2020, veterans who wanted to take advantage of the VA loan program’s zero down payment option were required to borrow no more than a certain amount. Every year, new VA loan limits are put out, which represent the maximum loan amount that veterans can borrow in their respective county. Borrowing any more would constitute a “jumbo loan,” which would then require a down payment.
But as of January 1, 2020, VA loan limits have been eliminated. That means borrowers who are eligible have much more buying power. They’re able to look at homes in higher price brackets while still being able to take advantage of not having to put forth a down payment.
However, it should be noted that veterans who already have more than one active VA home loan or who have defaulted on a VA loan in the past will still be subject to loan limits. In this case, the loan limits would be equivalent to the conforming loan limit in their area. Exceeding this loan limit would constitute the loan a “jumbo loan” and would require a down payment
4. Can I use a VA loan more than once in Washington?
“I’ve used a VA loan to buy a home in the past. Can I use the program to buy another home in the future?” In many cases, the answer is yes. In Department of Veterans Affairs lingo, this is known as having your entitlement “restored.” Borrowers can often restore their entitlement (in order to use another VA loan) if the original mortgage was paid off or assumed by a “qualified Veteran-transferee.” Learn more about using a VA loan more than once.
5. Do VA loans have lower mortgage rates than conventional?
The interest rate assigned to a mortgage loan can vary based on several factors, including the borrower’s credit history. Generally speaking, however, VA loans tend to have lower mortgage rates than conventional (non-government-backed) home loans. This is one of the many benefits of using this program to finance a home purchase in Washington. Here’s a deeper explanation of why VA loans often have lower rates.
Looking to Get a Mortgage in Washington?
At Sammamish Mortgage, we are pleased to offer many different mortgage programs to borrowers in Washington State, as well as the rest of the Pacific Northwest region, including Idaho, Colorado, and Oregon. We are a family-run business local to Bellevue, Washington, and work hard to help borrowers become homeowners. Contact us today if you have questions about applying for any type of mortgage product.