Veterans May be Eligible for VA-Guaranteed Home Loans

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Q: I’m a veteran and am interested in purchasing a home. Might I be able to get a home loan through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)?

A: You may be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan if you have sufficient income and you can provide a “certificate of eligibility” confirming your veteran status. For more information on how to obtain your certificate, visit the VA website at www.benefits.va.gov/HOMELOANS/purchaseco_certificate.asp. Once you have obtained your certificate, you can take it to a private lender of your choice.

Q: What, exactly, is a VA loan?

A: VA home loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks or mortgage companies, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees a portion of the loan. This means that the VA promises the lender to cover some of the costs if the transaction ultimately ends in foreclosure. The guarantee allows lenders to give you more favorable terms. For example, while you may have to put 20 percent down to get a conventional loan, it is generally possible to get a VA-guaranteed loan with a much smaller down payment, or even without any down payment.

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