Benefits of VA Home Loans for Military Families

Chelsy Meyer  | 

There are many benefits that come along with being a veteran of the armed forces, however, what some may not know about is the VA mortgage benefits. Lending to anyone is a risk, and lenders always want some assurance that they will be repaid. Military borrowers must still go through an application and qualification process, even if there are better terms available to them.

There are many resources available to help military families find a home, as well as a slew of loan options. Military families are offered many perks for their service, including better mortgage rates due to the complicated (and sometimes dangerous) nature of a military career and the country’s desire to make sure military families have comfort and security.

There are requirements to meet, but generally, there are ways to make sure servicemen and women can easily purchase a home, which is just one of the benefits of the VA home loan process.

Homeownership Benefits

Whether each service member is active, overseas, or a veteran, the military has paved a path virtually free of complications to allow them to own a home. Homeownership is an amazing accomplishment for any family. For military families, there are homeownership benefits associated with military status and using a VA loan program:

  • No down payment required — Buying a home involves saving money, which can be easier for you in a military career, but with a military home loan, you won’t have to come up with the usual down payment.
  • No mortgage insurance — Many conventional loans require mortgage insurance, but military home loans do not.
  • Lower average interest rates — Lower interest rates make homeownership easier to afford and sustain.
  • Limits on closing costs — A military home loan limits closing costs for you as well, taking away one more cash variable to home buying.
  • Lenient credit requirements — You do have to prove a semblance of good credit for any loan, including a military home loan, but the requirements are much more lenient for a military home loan than a traditional loan. Thankfully, many aspects of the military can help your credit score, but if yours isn’t perfect you aren’t automatically rejected. 

Loan Options

The VA loan program is not a program designed just for veterans, it’s also meant for all types of military personnel. The program is responsible for home loan options that make homeownership possible for all military service members and their families.

Getting a military loan with bad credit isn’t impossible for service members. Even if a service member has bad or low credit, a military career is a secure paycheck in many cases. There are loans designed for veterans running small businesses, personal loans, and home loans all designed for those who have served in the military — though not all of them are offered through the VA.

Meeting the Requirements

Despite the lenient requirements for a VA home loan, the added advantages, and the fact that the loan is designed specifically for military personnel, there are still a few requirements. Before deciding on buying a home, be sure you are able to meet the requirements.  

  • Occupancy — The homebuyer or spouse and children will need to occupy the home full time; these home loans are for primary homes, not vacation homes.
  • Service requirements — You must have served in the military to qualify for these loans. Typically, the requirements are 90 consecutive days of active duty during wartime, 181 consecutive days of active duty during peacetime, or six years in the National Guard or Reserves.
  • Power of attorney — Since there are occupancy requirements, this may be tricky for deployed soldiers. Power of attorney paperwork is one way to make homeownership possible even for those who are deployed. When the soldier is deployed they must give someone who will occupy the house the power of attorney in order to get a home loan while overseas.

The other requirements for getting a military home loan with better mortgage rates than regular mortgages differ based on your circumstances. However, you’ll basically need to have money saved, acceptable credit (what is considered acceptable varies), a good debt-to-income ratio, and passive income.

Again, residual income is not often an issue for active service members. Their income is steady, stable, and they are given housing allowances that place them in better financial standing than the average person asking for a loan.

Military members are often sent away from their families, required to move around a lot, or deployed in dangerous conditions. Their job is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. Their families ride the rollercoaster of emotions as well, and for that reason, military personnel is given many advantages as a thank you for serving their country.

One of those advantages is better mortgage rates under the VA loan program. There are also other benefits to this program, other loan options, and limited requirements you must meet in order to qualify. Through VA loans, military servicemen and women have more access to the security of homeownership.


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Chelsy is a writer from Montana who now lives in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She enjoys talk radio, cold coffee, and playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow Chelsy on Twitter @Chelsy5