The Ultimate VA Mortgage Guide

Make sure you’re OK with VA



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    Thank you for serving our country.

    You’ve sacrificed your all for the safety of our home soil, and for that thank you. If you’re trying to qualify for a VA mortgage and do not know where to start, this is the guide for you.

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    Step by step guide

    Our step-by-step guide breaks down the VA Home Loan giving you the information you need to make the right choice in your path to homeownership.

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    Do’s and don’ts

    You will see the insight on where the pitfalls and land mines are in the VA loan process that will help you steer clear of headaches and issues in your homeownership process.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What First Time Home buyer programs do you recommend?

      There are SO many great programs to choose from. Deciding which program to choose from comes down to which works best for YOU. Let’s start with veterans. If you are a veteran then a VA mortgage is hands down the best program for you. This loan option offers 100% financing, no monthly mortgage insurance, low rates, closing costs can be covered and it’s flexible on minimum credit score needed. If you are not a veteran and your ideal purchase price is under $400k then I recommend a down payment assistance program. For a 400k home the difference between coming in with a down payment and closing costs compared to coming in with only 1-2% of the purchase price is about $100-$250. Let me paint that picture, for a 400k purchase would you rather come in with 4-8k and pay a higher payment of $250 bucks or come in with only $240 for down payment and closing costs? Less down all the way! What about a home over 400k? If you have good credit I would look into the home possible home ready program. You can come in with 3% down and have very affordable mortgage insurance. Another loan option for a home over 400k, and probably the best value would be a 5% down conventional loan. Again, you need good credit for this option and you’re putting the most down at 5%. The FHA loan program is the last and most popular loan program. The largest reason is that it’s forgiving towards lower credit scores. If you have under a 700 fico score I would go fha if you’re chasing the cheaper mortgage payment. The caveat to FHA though is the monthly mortgage insurance. The only way to remove it is to refinance out of your FHA loan or to wait until you have hit 20% equity in your home and the MI will fall off automatically. As you can see, there is no one perfect loan program. And not one is better then the other. They are all tailored towards different buyers with different qualifications and needs.

    • This is my first time buying a house, where do I start?

      If you want to understand how to qualify for any mortgage and you want to know how mortgages work, check out my Ultimate Mortgage Guide. If you have good credit and down payment and you want to make sure you’re buying responsibly please check out the ‘buying responsible play list.

    • I just changed jobs how long do I have to wait to buy?

      If you change jobs in the same line of work then you need just a 1 month pay stub at the new job. If you are using overtime and bonus from the new job, you must have proof you received this for over 2 years from your old job. If you change jobs into a different industry you will have to wait 12 months to 2 years depending on the uw. Please note though- if there’s less then a 6 month gap you’re fine! If its more than 6 months you have to be back at work for 1 year. There are exceptions for certain circumstances like illness or familial hardship.

    • How soon can I refinance after I buy a home?

      FHA 6 mortgage payments for an FHA streamline refinance, 12 months if you want to use new value for a true refinance. VA 7 months to do an IRRRL, 12 months from purchase date if you want to use new value for a true refinance. Conventional after 6 months you can use new value for rate and term; 12 months for cash out.

    • When a lender pulls credit how long is that credit report good for?

      Credit report is good for 90-120 days

    • How long do I have to wait before I can refinance after I buy a home?

      FHA 6 mortgage payments for an FHA streamline refinance, 12 months if you want to use new value for a true refinance. VA 7 months to do an IRRRL, 12 months from purchase date if you want to use new value for a true refinance. Conventional after 6 months you can use new value for rate and term; 12 months for cash out.

    • How can I remove Private Mortgage Insurance?

      With a Conventional loan you can remove PMI when you pay down your house 20% or if you gain 20% equity. With FHA you have to refinance into a conventional loan.

    • How long do you have to wait to buy a house after you changed jobs?

      If you change jobs in the same line of work then you need just a 1 month pay stub at the new job. If you are using overtime and bonus from the new job, you must have proof you received this for over 2 years from your old job. If you change jobs into a different industry you will have to wait 12 months to 2 years depending on the uw. Please note though- if there’s less then a 6 month gap you’re fine! If its more than 6 months you have to be back at work for 1 year. There are exceptions for certain circumstances like illness or familial hardship.

    • When should I refinance from an FHA loan to a Conventional loan?

      If you have good credit and rates stay low then refinance as soon as you have 5% equity! Your conventional loan mortgage insurance will be cheaper then your FHA mortgage insurance and when you have 20% equity the mi will fall off.

    • What is the right credit score to buy a house?

      For FHA you want to be at least 620-660 to get the best deal on an FHA loan. For conventional you want to be at least between 700-760 to get the best deal.

    • If I am buying a home and it doesn’t properly appraise, what happens next?

      Three things, you either have to come in with the difference, the seller can drop the prices or you meet half way in the middle, and last, if you haven’t released contingency you can walk away and get your deposit back and cancel the escrow. For example, if you were going to put 5% down on a $420k purchase price, and the house appraises at $400k, you would have to make up the $20k or the seller would have to drop the price $20k or you can meet in the middle and you come in 10k and they drop the price 10k. You would still put the 5% down as your down payment for the home because it appraised at 400k.

    • Can I change lenders while I am in escrow?

      Yes!!!! This is my favorite question since I get so many people who’s lenders are doin them dirty and they want out! You must let the seller know ASAP, and you still must close on time unless you work out arrangements with the seller for an extension. You can also be subjected to penalties but they’re usually small.

    • If there are repairs that have to get fixed when you purchase a home who fixes it?

      It all depends on what you negotiate with the seller. This is why a strong negotiating realtor helps. Sometimes the seller will cover the repairs, other times that cost can come off of the price of the home.

    • Can I add my spouse to the loan and use the income but not the their debt?

      If you are adding a spouse or any co-signers or co-borrowers to a mortgage to qualify, you have to take their income and their liability. You have to take the good with the bad!

    • If I write an offer on a house and I decide I don’t want the house anymore do I lose my deposit?

      No, you will not lose your deposit if you have not removed contingency. There are 3 contingencies; home inspection contingency, appraisal contingency and loan contingency. As long as they have not been released you can get your deposit back.



      Ready to download? Enter your email to download the VA Mortgage Guide.
      loanDepot.com, LLC is not affiliated with the “Ultimate VA Mortgage Guide”. This is a publication that Minh Nguyen created and published independently.