VA Loan FAQ

VA Loan Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the loan amount limits for a VA loan?
  2. What are the eligibility requirements for a VA loan?
  3. What are the down payment requirements for a VA loan?
  4. What are the credit requirements for a VA loan?
  5. What documentation do I need to get pre-approved for a VA loan?
  6. Can I refinance my current mortgage into a VA loan?
  7. Does a VA loan have mortgage insurance or a funding fee?
  8. Can I use my VA loan eligibility more than once?
  9. Does a condominium tract have to be approved by VA?
  10. Can I have two VA loans at the same time?
  11. Does VA lend on manufactured homes (mobile homes) on land?
  12. What is an impound or escrow account?

What are the loan amount limits for a VA loan?

The standard zero down loan limit for a VA loan is $453,100 but high cost areas can have higher VA loan limits. Below are the 2018 high cost county zero-down loan limits for California:

Alameda $679,650
Alpine $463,450
Contra Costa $679,650
El Dorado $517,500
Los Angeles $679,650
Marin $679,650
Mono $529,000
Monterey $615,250
Napa $679,650
Nevada $477,250
Orange $679,650
Placer $517,500
Sacramento $517,500
San Benito $679,650
San Diego $649,750
San Francisco $679,650
San Luis Obispo $615,250
San Mateo $679,650
Santa Barbara $625,500
Santa Clara $679,650
Santa Cruz $679,650
Sonoma $648,600
Ventura $672,750
Yolo $517,500

[ Top ]

What are the eligibility requirements for a VA loan?

Eligibility requirements fall into two categories: wartime service and peacetime service. Potential homebuyers must satisfy only one of the service requirements set forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible for a VA loan.

These service requirements state that veterans who served during wartime must have been on active duty for at least 90 consecutive days. Conversely, those who served during peacetime must have served a minimum of 181 days.

Veterans of the National Guard or Reserves must have served for at least six years unless otherwise eligible.

Veterans must have received a discharge under honorable conditions, and provide a copy of their DD-214 or release from active duty.

If you are currently serving on active duty, you can provide a Statement of Service to verify your qualifying dates and character of service.

Spouses of service members who died in the line of duty, or as the result of a service related disability, may also be eligible.
[ Top ]

What are the down payment requirements for a VA loan?
The down payment requirement for a VA loan is zero if you purchase a property within the VA zero down loan limit for the county in which you are buying (see California VA loan limits above). If you are purchasing a home that exceeds the county loan limit, you can contribute a down payment equal to 25% of the difference between the county loan limit and the purchase price. Please call (800) 734-3772 and speak with a VA Loan Specialist about your specific situation.
[ Top ]

What are the credit requirements for a VA loan?
VA loan guidelines require that your credit history be generally good the last year to two years. They look for a minimum 620 middle credit score (three credit bureaus) to qualify and all outstanding collection accounts and/or charge-off accounts are often required to be paid in full. Any past bankruptcies, foreclosures and short sales need to be at least two years old to qualify. If you have any questions regarding your specific credit profile please give us a call at (800) 734-3772.
[ Top ]

What documentation do I need to get pre-approved for a VA loan?
You will need a copy of your DD-214 (Release from Active Duty) to confirm that you have qualifying service. If you do not have a copy you can obtain a copy through the National Archives, National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) on their website at http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.

They are the records custodian for most discharged and retired members of all branches of military service. Expect a two to three week wait to receive your record, but ordering online may speed up the process considerably.

If you are currently serving on active duty you are also eligible after you meet the 90 days of active service requirement. You can obtain a Statement of Service from your Commanding Officer, Adjutant, or Personnel Officer.
[ Top ]

Can I refinance my current mortgage into a VA loan?
Yes. The VA loan offers you the ability to refinance your current mortgage to lower your interest rate or take out equity from your home for other purposes. You can borrow up to 100% of your home’s equity for things such as debt consolidation, home improvement or cash out for any purpose. No other loan program allows you to borrow up to 100% of your home’s equity like the VA home loan.
[ Top ]

Does a VA loan have mortgage insurance or a funding fee?
Yes. VA does charge a one-time funding fee that can be added to the loan balance or paid in full through escrow. The VA loan funding fee can vary between 1.25% and 3.30% of the loan amount depending on your specific situation. There is no funding fee for veterans with service connected disabilities (VA disability rated 10% or more). There is no monthly mortgage insurance with a VA loan.
[ Top ]

Can I use my VA loan eligibility more than once?
Yes. You may obtain a new VA loan over and over as long as you have the necessary VA entitlement available. It is also possible to have more than one VA loan at a time. VA has two types of entitlement: basic entitlement and bonus entitlement.

If your VA Certificate of Eligibility states $36,000 then you have your full basic entitlement available. Please give us a call at (800) 734-3772 and speak with a VA Loan Specialist to discuss your specific VA loan eligibility options.
[ Top ]

Does a condominium tract have to be approved by VA?
Yes. VA does require the condominium to be approved by VA prior to closing a VA loan in that specific condominium tract. Planned Unit Development (PUD) tracts do not require VA approval to get a VA loan. Please call (800) 734-3772 with any questions about specific VA approved condominium tracts in your area.
[ Top ]

Can I have two VA loans at the same time?
Yes. You can have two VA loans if you have the necessary VA entitlement available. The best way to determine your entitlement and eligibility is to give us a call at (800) 734-3772 and speak with one of our VA Loan Specialists.
[ Top ]

Does VA lend on manufactured homes (mobile homes) on land?
Yes. You can use the VA loan program to purchase a manufactured home on land. If the home is on land and affixed to a permanent foundation, then the VA loan standard requirements apply. To purchase a manufactured home in a rental park in California please see our CalVet loans. Please give us a call at (800) 734-3772 with any questions regarding the VA manufactured home loan requirements.
[ Top ]

What is an impound or escrow account?
An impound account (or sometimes referred to as an escrow account) is an account setup by a lender to pay the property taxes, homeowners insurance premiums and mortgage insurance premiums (if required) when they are due. The borrower will pay the property taxes and homeowners insurance each month (prorated over 12 months) instead of paying each item in full when they are due.

Government insured loans such as VA, FHA and CalVet loans require borrowers to have impound accounts with their loans.
[ Top ]

pre-approval