Military Home Loans for Servicemembers and Veterans


Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor

You’ve served your country, and as a token of appreciation, there is a home loan for active-duty service members and Veterans. Military home loans are also known as VA home loans, VA mortgages, military housing loans, or military mortgages.

All of these terms refer to a special program that allows eligible military members and retirees to buy a home with zero down payment.

These loans are issued by private lenders or mortgage companies and guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Compared to other loan types, military home loans are easier to qualify for and have better interest rates — and that’s just the start of the great benefits.

Check your VA home buying eligibility here now.

Military Home Loan Advantages

No Down Payment Required. With just about any other loan type, homebuyers have to come up with between 3.5% and 20% of the purchase price for the down payment. When buying a house for $250,000, that’s at least $8,750 and as much as $50,000 you would have had to save for.

No Monthly Mortgage Insurance. Unlike FHA loans or conventional loans, military home loans don’t require monthly mortgage insurance payments. In some cases, that’s a savings of hundreds of dollars per month. Use that money to qualify for a bigger home, put toward savings, or pay down your loan principal.

Click here to see if you can buy a home with a VA loan.

Lenient Credit Requirements. Military home loans don’t require a perfect credit score to qualify. In many cases, the lender can approve loan applicants who have previous bankruptcies, late payments, or other credit blemishes. The important part is that you’ve shown a good credit history recently and explain any previous credit challenges.

Lower Cash Reserves. With many loan types, lenders require you to have enough cash in the bank to pay for two months of mortgage payments, after paying for loan closing costs. But with a military mortgage, no such requirement exists. You just need enough to cover closing costs, and that’s it.

Limited Home Loan Closing Costs. The VA limits how much you can be charged in closing costs on your military home loan. For instance, you can’t be charged more than a 1% loan origination fee. Also, the escrow fee must be paid for by the seller of the home. See a complete list of estimated VA closing costs.

Easier Refinance Options. If you already have a VA home loan, you can refinance with very little documentation with a VA streamline refinance, also sometimes called an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL). If you don’t have a VA loan currently, you may be eligible for a VA cash out loan of up to 100% of your home’s current value. This is great for those who don’t have any equity in their home, or need cash for other purposes.

Get a military streamline refinance quote here.

Military Home Loan FAQ + How to Start

How do I get started?

You don’t have to know your eligibility status or credit score to start. VA lenders have access to tools that can check those things for you. Veterans or active-duty military who think they may be eligible only need to initiate the process by completing a short online request. The rest of the process is guided by VA lenders who have helped thousands of eligible veterans purchase and refinance property.

Click here to complete a short request now.

How do I know if I’m eligible for a military home loan?

You have to meet certain eligibility requirements. Basically, you have to have served in the military a minimum amount of time. Generally, that’s 90 days if still on active duty, two years if now retired, or 6 years in the National Guard or Reserves. See complete details on VA home loan eligibility.

What documentation will I need?

For your initial call with a VA mortgage specialist, you don’t need anything. He or she will ask you some quick questions to see if you qualify for the VA loan benefit. Start here. As the loan process progresses, you’ll need things like paystubs, bank statements, and possibly your DD-214.

Military home loans are available to eligible Servicemembers and Veterans

Military home loans are available to many Servicemembers and Veterans. Photo: DVIDShub.

Are military home loan rates low?

Yes. Mortgage interest rates are typically lower for those applying for a VA home loan. That’s because the U.S. government insures the mortgage, and military mortgages have the lowest default rates of any loan type. So lenders are willing to give low VA mortgage rates to eligible members of the military.

What’s a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)? Do I need one for a military home loan?

The COE is a form issued by VA showing whether or not you’re eligible to participate in the program. You do need a valid COE to qualify for a military VA mortgage loan. Your lender will order the COE for you, and review it to check your VA loan eligibility.

Click here to request your COE.

How much can I borrow with a military mortgage?

VA home loan limits are quite generous. In most areas of the country, you can borrow up to $417,000 with no down payment, and up to $1 million+ in some high-cost areas. The VA sets no limit on the size of the VA loan. However, you must pay a 25% down payment on the portion that’s over the VA guarantee, usually $417,000. Read more about VA jumbo loans.

How much cash on hand do I need to buy a home with a military home loan?

The answer varies greatly. You don’t need any money for a down payment unless your home price is above VA loan limits. However, you are responsible for VA loan closing costs. Those average 1% – 3% of the loan amount on bigger loan amounts. But they can be between 3% and 5% of a smaller home’s price. According to VA loan guidelines, the seller is allowed to help the buyer with up to 4% of the home’s price in closing cost assistance. So you could buy a home even if you have no money in the bank if the home seller is willing to cover your costs. Speak to your real estate agent about your chances of receiving seller closing cost assistance.

Can I use a VA loan to buy an investment property?

The VA loan program is intended to help those with military service to purchase primary residences and become homeowners, not to purchase second homes or rental properties. There are occupancy requirements for VA borrowers.

There are some rare circumstances under which you may be able to get a second VA loan. Learn more here.

What’s the VA funding fee?

The VA funding fee is 0.5-3.3% of the home loan amount. The percentage depends on whether you’re using your entitlement for the first time and type of loan. This fee allows the VA home loan program to be self-sustaining and offer loans with zero down payment and no private mortgage insurance (PMI). It’s added to the total loan amount so you won’t be required to pay it out of pocket at closing.

You can learn more about the VA funding fee here.

Military Home Loan Rate Quotes Available Here

If you have military experience and would like to know whether you’re a qualifying VA borrower, complete a short online form.

We’ll let you know if you qualify, or what you still need to become eligible. If you qualify now, we’ll give you a rate quote, the home purchase price you qualify for, and your estimated monthly payment. From there, we’ll issue a pre-approval so you can start house shopping and make your homeownership dreams a reality.

Ready to get started?  Click here to request a VA home loan rate quote.