Summary: Washington State has a sizable military population who can take advantage of VA home loans. But in order to qualify, buyers must have sufficient income, suitable credit, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility. Here we review all of them.
Washington State has a sizable military population, with nearly 70,000 military personnel and another 90,000 dependents and nearly 20,000 reservists. Many of them reside in the state for years at a time. As a result, there are a lot of home buyers in the state who could benefit from using a VA loan to buy a house.
This unique program offers many benefits for eligible borrowers, including 100% financing. This article explains the basic eligibility requirements for Washington State VA loans.
Eligibility Requirements for Washington State VA Loans
Home buyers who wish to use a VA loan in Seattle must have sufficient income, suitable credit, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility. These are the minimum eligibility requirements for VA home loans in Washington State.
There are property-related requirements as well. The home you are buying must be used for personal occupancy. It must be your primary residence. Generally speaking, VA loans cannot be used to purchase vacation properties or second homes. When using this program, you are expected to reside in the house being purchased.
Washington State VA loans can be used to:
- Purchase a home.
- Purchase a condo unit that’s part of a VA-approved project.
- Build a new home.
- Buy and improve a property simultaneously.
- Improve an existing property by adding energy-related features.
- Buy a manufactured home and/or lot.
Obtaining Your Certificate of Eligibility
The Certificate of Eligibility, or COE, is a key requirement for Washington State VA loans. This official government document tells mortgage lenders that you are, in fact, eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan. Military service members can request this document online through the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
Most military members and veterans in Washington State are eligible for the VA loan program, and can therefore obtain a Certificate of Eligibility.
This program is available to the following groups:
- Active duty military who have served for at least 90 days continuously.
- Veterans who have served for at least 90 consecutive days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime.
- National Guard and Selected Reserve with at least six years of service. (Exception: Those who served in the Gulf War may be eligible with at least 90 days of service.)
- Military spouses are eligible for Washington State VA loans in some cases. According to official guidelines, this applies to the “Unremarried spouse of a Veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or spouse of a Servicemember missing in action or a prisoner of war.”
Other Eligible Groups
In addition to the military service members and veterans listed above, there are other groups that might be eligible for a VA loan in Washington State.
This includes the following:
- Certain U.S. citizens who served in the armed forces of a government allied with the U.S. during World War II:
- Individuals who have served with certain organizations such as: Public Health Service officers; cadets at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy; midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy; officers of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration; merchant seaman with World War II service; and others.
Residual Income Requirements
VA loans do not require a certain income level or threshold. But borrowers who apply for this program are expected to have sufficient income to repay their loan obligation. When you apply for a VA loan in Washington State, the lender will examine your current income and debt situation to ensure you have the ability to cover your monthly expenses going forward.
There’s also a “residual income” requirement with VA loans. In short, the Department of Veterans Affairs requires borrowers to have a certain amount of money left over each month, after all major debt obligations (including the mortgage payment) have been paid. This is referred to as residual income.
The idea is that homeowners should be able cover their monthly housing costs and still have money for basic necessities like food and transportation. It’s a sensible financial safeguard designed to protect veterans and military members who use VA loans to buy a home. Residual income requirements vary based on location and family size.
VA Loan Limits for Washington State
In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, there are limits to how much you can borrow with this program. Technically speaking, the VA does not set a cap on the amount you can borrow. But they do limit the size of loans they are willing to guarantee, and this can directly affect the amount you are able to borrow.
These VA loan limits, as they are known, vary by county. Elsewhere on our website, you’ll find a list of limits for all counties in Washington State. The current limit for most counties in the state is between $484,350 to $726,525, depending on the county. But it can be much higher in more expensive areas, like Seattle. Use the link above to see all VA loan limits.
Want to Apply for the Program?
Do you have questions about Washington State VA loan eligibility requirements, or other aspects of this program? Want to get pre-approved for a home loan, or request a mortgage rate quote? We can help.
Sammamish Mortgage is a local, family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington that has been providing borrowers with mortgage loans for over 25 years. We serve the entire state, as well as the broader Pacific Northwest region. Please contact us if you have mortgage-related questions