National Guard VA Loan Eligibility
As a thank you for their service, the VA guarantees home loans called VA loans. This is generally the best mortgage program available, thanks to its low rates and the option to buy without a down payment.
However, not everyone who has served the government is eligible for VA loans. There are strict stipulations, and they change depending on how each person served.
Some home buyers don’t know it, but many National Guard and Reserve members are eligible for VA loans. Of course, this depends largely on how long they served, or what their service entailed.
National Guard requirements for VA loan eligibility
There are four separate ways in which a National Guard or Reserve member can qualify for VA loan eligibility.
Many members of the National Guard will gain VA eligibility by having at least six years of service in the Selected Reserve and one of the following:
- Honorable discharge
- Placed on the retired list
- Transferred to Standby or Ready Reserve, and have an honorable character
These aren’t the only ways that National Guard members can earn VA loan eligibility, though. Aside from the previous conditions, Servicemembers and Veterans can be eligible if they satisfy one of the following conditions:
- Continuing to serve in the Selected Reserve for longer than six years
- Serving for at least 90 days on active duty during wartime
- Being discharged or released for a disability connected to service
One thing to note is that active duty must be during wartime. If a National Guard member is active for State Active Duty, this time does not count toward the active duty requirement. However, National Guard members can still get additional benefits form the state, depending on the state they serve in.
There are also unique cases, some of which don’t necessarily fall under these criteria. If you have questions about your potential eligibility, you can find the full list of stipulations here.
Buying a home with a VA loan
If you’ve met any of those conditions, then you should be eligible to apply for VA certification. All members must get VA certification before they are eligible for a VA loan, regardless of what their service entailed.
You can get the Certificate of Eligibility through the US Department of Veterans Affairs here. There are also additional stipulations that National Guard or Reserve members must follow in order to become certified. These are just to ensure that you are eligible, and you meet any of the criteria, this step should not be an issue. Those are all laid out on the VA’s site.
After getting your Certificate of Eligibility, you’ll be able to purchase a home using a VA loan. There are plenty of benefits to the VA loan, including some specific to certain servicemembers.
One added benefit that National Guard and Reserve members get is that they can include the income they get form their service in their income toward mortgage qualification. This is useful in reducing the debt-to-income ratio, and it can lead to an even lower mortgage rate.
Begin the home buying process
Once you’ve become certified, you can start the process of buying a home. VA members can get a VA loan through any institution that offers them; however, many members find that experienced lenders are the quickest and simplest option for purchasing a home.
The best way to find the right lender for your specific situation is to connect with multiple lenders and talk to them about how they can help you.