Veterans serve our country and help keep us free. It’s not an easy job, but those who are called to service can qualify for a variety of benefits, including home loans through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Knowing how VA loans work is the first step toward buying a home in California, but understanding VA mortgages in California, your VA loan eligibility, and how to get qualified is an extremely important part of the process. What’s the best way for a veteran to get a home loan? Here’s some information to help get you started.
Veterans and Active Duty Should Get a VA Home Loan
Home buyers in California face mountains of red tape, paperwork, and restrictions when applying for a mortgage. If you’re a veteran or active duty military, you can to tap into a number of benefits unseen in other financing options:
No Down Payment
It’s incredibly difficult to buy a home these days with no money down. In the aftermath of the recent housing crisis, most conventional lenders require between 5% and 20% down. FHA loans provide a low down payment option—at 3.5%—but even that figure can be out of reach for some buyers.
Even with today’s strict lending practices, California VA home loans continue to offer 100% financing to qualified home buyers. These loans have enabled thousands of military home buyers to purchase their dream properties over the years. While always an important benefit of military service, the VA loan program is incredibly helpful in today’s tight lending climate.
The VA loan program also unburdens military borrowers from the requirement of buying private mortgage insurance (PMI). A portion of each VA loan is backed by the federal government, which means that PMI is unnecessary.
Not having to purchase PMI can generate some serious savings for veteran homebuyers in California. PMI fees generally range from 0.5% – 1% of the total loan amount on an annual basis. In March 2015, the average mortgage was $294,900, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, meaning a typical home buyer could be expected to pay from $1,475 to $2,945 in first-year PMI costs.
Relaxed Credit Standards
In previous years, conventional lenders were happy with any credit score above 620; however, recently most conventional lenders have raised the bar for credit score minimums. The average FICO credit score of successful conventional mortgage applicants in April 2017 was 753, according to mortgage technology firm Ellie Mae.
Fortunately, you don’t need perfect credit to qualify for VA financing. Most VA lenders still require a 620 minimum credit score; these minimum credit standards can be very helpful for military home buyers.
Competitive Interest Rates
California VA home loan rates fluctuate based on the market and the individual borrower. VA loan rates are competitive with other loan programs, and often fall below conventional rates.
Before you start looking for a house, you should get pre-approved for your VA loan amount—this way, you’ll know how much you have to spend. Knowing in advance what you can afford gives you a great deal of security that goes a long way as you search for the best value for your money. Having a VA mortgage in California is an excellent benefit, but finding the right home is just as important. When you’re pre-approved, you avoid wasting time with homes outside your price range or sellers who might be unsure whether you are a serious buyer.
Golden State Mortgage Can Help
Golden State Mortgage is a California-based mortgage company specializing in new home purchases and mortgage refinance. Whether a FHA, VA, or USDA Loan, we have you covered with loan options for almost every lending need. With in-house underwriting, we can make fast decisions—and, we strive to close all loans in 28 days or less. Low Rates. Low Fees. Fast Closings—Call Golden State Mortgage today at 1-800-585-6886 or fill out the quick contact at https://www.goldenstatemortgage.com to speak with a mortgage loan consultant to get a free good faith estimate.