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 2019.
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?
If you want to take advantage of the program’s biggest benefit (the zero down payment), you’ll have to stay within the official loan limits for your county. The good news is that VA loan limits in Washington State are going up in 2019, due to rising home values. This gives borrowers more financing range. It’s possible to borrow more than these limits, if you’re willing to make a down payment. Also, your current debt and income situation will affect the amount you can borrow. Please contact us if you’d like to get pre-approved, and to find out how much you can borrow.
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.
Have questions? Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions.