VA loans are more important than ever

By Kathleen McQuilkin | June 30, 2014 | 3 min. read

As our nation celebrates its independence this week, it is an important time to give thanks to the veterans and service members who protect our freedoms. It’s also a good time to update your knowledge on the VA mortgage program.

If you haven’t worked with a VA buyer recently, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Working with VA buyers provides Realtors® the chance to give back to  service members and veterans. After everything they’ve done for our country, veterans deserve your help in achieving their dream of homeownership.

The veteran population in the U.S. is almost 1/6th of our total population – providing a huge opportunity for real estate professionals. Too many troops and veterans don’t know about their VA home loan benefit, experts say.

VA loan celebrates 70 years

The VA loan celebrated its 70th year on June 22. The government created the VA Loan Guaranty Program to help returning service members purchase homes. 

For some, this loan is the only realistic path to homeownership. The VA backed its 20 millionth home loan in 2012. A year later, the program guaranteed 630,000 mortgages, an all-time record.

Today, in a time of tight lending and stalled income growth, this no-down payment mortgage program is more important than ever. Seventy years after its creation, the VA Loan Guaranty Program continues to fulfill its original mission and more. For many veterans and service members, it’s not just the most powerful loan on the market – it’s often the best chance they have to achieve the dream of homeownership in today’s tough housing and economic environment.

How can veterans get VA loans?

Veterans can apply for a VA loan with any mortgage lender that participates in the VA home loan program, but will need a certificate of eligibility from the VA to prove to the lender that they are eligible for a VA loan.

It’s not uncommon for service members to think they have to wait until they’ve separated from the military to pursue a VA home loan. When it comes to eligibility for a VA mortgage, it isn’t something that takes years to accrue. Generally, if a member of the military has served at least 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime or 181 days during peacetime, they are eligible.

The next time you are working with a client, be sure to ask him or her if they are a veteran. They may not know they are entitled to the benefit.

VA loans aren’t the answer for every veteran. I encourage veterans to seek the advice of a financial professional and to contact several lenders for quotes to determine what is in their best interest.


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