Tips for First-Time Veterans and Military Homebuyers

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Buying a home for the first time can be an overwhelming process filled with new terminology and very specific requirements. Luckily, when you’re a service member or veteran, you can take advantage of your military housing benefits (Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH) and apply for a VA loan. If you meet the requirements for a home loan backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you could get a mortgage with better terms, and without making a down payment.

NFCC strives to make this process easier for members of the military community, taking the headache out of the experience, and helping you and your family feel more confident in your homebuying decisions

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Benefits of Using VA Home Loans

What is a VA loan?

VA loans are available to current and former service members, as well as eligible spouses. VA mortgages have low-interest rates and usually do not require a down payment.

A VA loan does not require you to be a first-time homebuyer. You can use VA loan benefits as many times as you want as long as you qualify. The VA loan, however, must be used to purchase a primary residence rather than a vacation home or investment property.

How do VA Loans work?

The VA does not lend money with VA loans, but it does guarantee them. You borrow from a private VA mortgage lender, and the government guarantees payment on a portion of the loan.

If a borrower fails to make payments on a VA loan, the government will repay the lender a portion of the loan. This assurance lowers the risk for lenders, allowing them to offer favorable terms and require no down payment.

Top 10 Best VA Mortgage Lenders of 2022

According to U.S News
Lender Min. Down Payment Min. Credit Score
Best online mortgages with cash back rewards Not disclosed Not disclosed
Best digital customer care 3% 600
Best mortgage variety 3% 620
Best for client relations 3% Not disclosed
Best for online services 3% 620
Best for borrowers with bad credit 3% 620
Best low APR 3% 620
Best low down payment 3% 620
Best VA loans 0 for VA loan 620
Best for product availability 3% Not disclosed

Understanding the Full VA Loan Process

HUD-approved housing counseling agencies also offer free or low-cost buyer education workshops where you can ask questions of the experts and get tips for finding a real estate agent familiar with VA loan processing.

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