With Colorado Springs County, Colorado being home to Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain, the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy, and countless military contractors who heavily recruit retired military personnel, VA Mortgage Loans are not only a common loan type, but local market driver. Because of the demand for these types of mortgages in Colorado Springs, we at Pink Realty want to answer the Top 10 questions that military and retired military home buyers have about VA mortgages.
>Question 1: What is the VA Mortgage Lending Limit?
According to our in-house lending specialist, Tammy, the VA mortgage lending limit is $417,000 in Colorado Springs. While this limit is set for most areas of the country, the VA lending limit can be as high as $1M for other parts of the country that have higher average home prices, such as Washington DC, California and Hawaii. Additionally, while the VA sets their limit, this does NOT limit the veteran to a house priced at $417K or less. For example, let's say you want to purchase a home priced at $500K. That's $83K higher than the VA guarantee limit of $417K. If your VA eligibility is $417K and you qualify for the higher loan amount from your lender, you can purchase the $500K home with a down payment of 25% of the $83K difference ($20,750) and your lender will lend you the other 75% of the difference or $62,250. Therefore, your loan amount would be $417K, plus $62,250 or $479,250.00. As long as you qualify for the higher loan amount and have the cash for the down payment, you can buy that $500K house.
Question 2: What is the VA Funding Fee?
The VA charges a VA Funding fee of 2.15% of the mortgage amount to first-time users who do not put pay a down payment on the home. This fee covers the cost to operate the VA loan program. After the first VA loan, the funding fee is increased to 3.3% of the mortgage amount if the veteran does not pay a down payment. This fee does not have to be paid by the veteran out of pocket. It can be financed into the loan along with other closing costs, so there is no down payment required and no out of pocket expenses to the veteran.
Question 3: Can the VA Funding Fee be waived?
Did you know if you are discharged from service with at least a 10% disabled status you can get the VA funding fee waived? That's right! Nearly 70% of the veterans today are discharged with at least a 10% disabled status. This not only gets the veteran a tax free check every month, but also allows them to purchase a home without having to pay the standard VA funding fee!
Question 4: Is my eligibility lost if I file Bankruptcy?
Filing Bankruptcy does affect your VA eligibility, but depending on what type of Bankruptcy you file, your VA eligibility is affected differently. If the veteran files Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which is a total liquidation of their debts, the veteran must wait 2 years before they can qualify for another VA loan. If, however, the applicant files Chapter 13, which is a re-organization of their debts, the VA will consider lending to the applicant for another home purchase in as little as 12 months into the bankruptcy if the applicant receives permission from the bankruptcy court and can show they have paid 12 months of payments on the bankruptcy in a timely manner.
Question 5: Is my eligibility lost if I lose my house in foreclosure or sell my home as a short sale?
There have been a lot of foreclosures in Colorado Springs in the past couple so Pink Realty agents get this question quite a bit. Whether a veteran looses their home in a foreclosure or sells their home as a short sale, if the VA suffers a loss, they do not forgive or forget the loss. However, this does not mean the veteran loses their eligibility. The amount the VA loses on your home, whether via a foreclosure or short sale, gets subtracted from your total eligibility. What this means is if you were elegible for a VA guarantee of $200K and the VA lost $100K on your loan, your VA eligibility is reduced by the amount of the loss and is now $100K. If the deficiency is repaid to the VA, the veteran's eligibility is fully restored.
Question 6: Can I use my VA eligibility more than once?
Yes! Veterans can use their VA eligibility as many times as they want but only on one house at a time. To use the eligibility again, the veteran must pay off the previous loan and provide proof to the VA, and your Pink Realty agent can help you with this. When a veteran has a VA loan on their home and they sell it, they must notify the VA that the home has sold and the mortgage has been paid in full. This restores the veteran's VA eligibility so that it can be used again to buy their next home. If the veteran allows his VA mortgage to be assumed by another eligible veteran (and this is never a good idea) and the assuming veteran is not willing to substitute his own VA eligibility to the original veteran, the original veteran's eligibility is reduced by the amount of the loan that was assumed. Once the assuming veteran pays the loan in full, the original veteran's VA eligibility is restored.
Question 7: What kind of properties can I buy?
The VA does not lend on any property that is not intended to be used as the applicant's primary residence. Should an applicant want to purchase a duplex, tri-plex or any 2 - 4 unit building as an investment, the VA will grant a VA mortgage loan as long as the applicant intends to occupy one of the units as their primary residence. The VA also requires that the home be in move-in and livable condition at the time the loan is made. The VA does not lend on uninhabitable properties, raw land, commercial property or any other property that will not be considered the applicants primary residence.
Question 8: Can I buy more than one property at a time?
The VA only issues mortgages on the veteran's primary residence. This does not keep the veteran from being able to purchase other properties, though. If the veteran wants to purchase another property, such as an investment property, and they qualify for both mortgages, the veteran can secure other, non-VA financing to purchase other property. If you would like to discuss the other loan types that may be available to you, our in-house Pink Realty lender would be happy to help you. Just call our office at 719-393-7465 (Pink) and ask to speak to the lender.
Question 9: Who can apply for a VA loan?
VA loans are for military personnel and veterans. If a military applicant wants to include another person on their VA mortgage, the only acceptable co-applicants are the applicant's spouse or another VA eligible applicant. Family members, friends, relatives and/or 'significant others' can't be on a VA Loan with the applicant. If there are credit issues with an applicant's spouse, the applicant does not have to include the spouse on the application. However, the debts of the spouse must be included so the VA has knowledge of the total liability at stake. Sometimes, the spouse's total debt causes the debt to asset ratio to be too high to qualify for the loan. In this case, if the spouse works and has been at their job at least 2 years, the spouse's income, up to the total monthly debt liability, can be included on the application to offset the spouse's debt. This generally allows the debt to asset ratio to fall back in line for approval of the loan.
Question 10: What does my Credit Score have to be?
At time this article was written, the VA looks for scores of 620 or higher. (Please feel free to call Pink Realty at any to check to see if loan guidelines have changed. We are always here to help.) If the applicant's score is a little lower than this, Pink Realty lender will work closely with the applicant to see what can be done to raise their score, and many times we can help a borderline applicant buy a new home. The first item addressed is whether or not the credit report is accurate. More than 80% of the credit reports run today contain errors. Just removing the errors alone may raise the applicants score. Improving their credit score may also mean paying down a credit card balance so the outstanding balance is 50% less than the credit limit on the account or it may be as simple as paying a few low balance accounts off. Sometimes this is all that's needed to bring the credit score up to the approval score limit. Remember that your credit score is very specific to you, and we would be happy to evaluate your situation for free any time. Just call our office at 719-393-7465 (Pink).
We hope this article answered some of your questions about VA mortgage loans so when you are in the market for a VA loan, you are ready. For more information on VA home loans, you can call a Pink Realty agent or lender at any time.
Please stay tuned for more informative articles. Stop by the website regularly for new and updated information.