VA Home Loans

Army Reserve: Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

Tweet
Share

Summary:

The VA Home Loan Program helps Veterans finance the purchase of homes with favorable loan terms and a competitive rate of interest. For VA housing loan purposes, the term "Veteran" includes certain members of the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, Regular Army, and certain categories of Spouses.

Eligibility:

Army Reserve Soldiers serving on active duty may be eligible for a VA Home Loan based on the following criteria:

 

Status

Qualifying Wartime & Peacetime Periods

Qualifying Active Duty Dates

Minimum Active Duty Service Requirement

Veteran

WWII

9/16/1940 - 7/25/1947

90 total days

Post-WWII

7/26/1947 - 6/26/1950

181 continuous days

Korean War

6/27/1950 - 1/31/1955

90 total days

Post-Korean War

2/1/1955 - 8/4/1964

181 continuous days

Vietnam War

8/5/1964 - 5/7/1975
*For Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, the beginning date is 2/28/1961

90 total days

Post-Vietnam War

5/8/1975 - 9/7/1980
*The ending date for officers is 10/16/1981

181 continuous days

24-month rule

9/8/1980 - 8/1/1990
*The beginning date for officers is 10/17/1981

  • 24 continuous months, OR

  • The full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty

Gulf War

8/2/1990 - Present

  • 24 continuous months, OR

  • The full period (at least 90 days) for which you were called or ordered to active duty

Currently On Active Duty

Any

Any

90 continuous days

National Guard & Reserve Member

Gulf War

8/2/1990 - Present

90 days of active service

  • Six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard, AND

    • Were discharged honorably, OR

    • Were placed on the retired list, OR

    • Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after service characterized as honorable, OR

    • Continue to serve in the Selected Reserve

*If you do not meet the minimum service requirements, you may still be eligible if you were discharged due to (1) hardship, (2) the convenience of the government, (3) reduction-in-force, (4) certain medical conditions, or (5) a service-connected disability.

Other Forms of Eligibility

The Spouse of a Veteran can also apply for home loan eligibility under one of the following conditions:

  • Un-remarried Spouse of a Veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or

  • Spouse of a Service member missing in action or a prisoner of war

  • Surviving Spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003
    (Note: a surviving Spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, must have applied no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility. VA must deny applications from surviving Spouses who remarried before December 6, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.)

  • Surviving Spouses of certain totally disabled Veterans whose disability may not have been the cause of death

Benefit Highlights:

The VA Guaranteed Loan

VA guaranteed loans are made by private lenders to eligible Veterans for the purchase of a home that must be for their own personal occupancy. A Veteran must apply for a loan through a VA-approved lender. If the lender determines that the Veteran meets VA credit and income standards, the loan is approved and VA guarantees a portion of it to the lender. The guaranty protects the lender against loss up to the amount guaranteed and allows a Veteran to obtain favorable financing terms. A Veteran's basic entitlement is $36,000 but additional entitlement is available for certain loans over $144,000. VA does not have a maximum loan amount but lenders will generally only loan up to four times a Veteran's available entitlement without a down-payment, provided the Veteran is income and credit-qualified and the property appraises for the asking price. The maximum entitlement amount changes on an annual basis and is currently $104,250 for 2014. Therefore, if a Veteran qualifies, a loan up to $417,000 (or higher in certain areas of the following locations: in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maryland, Northern Mariana Islands, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming) can be obtained without a down payment.

Benefits of a VA Guaranteed Home Loans

  • Equal opportunity for all qualified Veterans to obtain a VA loan

  • Reusable

  • No down payment (unless required by the lender or the purchase price is more than the reasonable value of the property)

  • No mortgage insurance

  • One time VA funding fee that can be included in the loan

  • Veterans receiving VA disability compensation are exempt from the VA funding fee

  • VA limits certain closing costs a Veteran can pay

  • Can be assumed by qualified persons

  • Minimum property requirements to ensure the property is safe, sanitary, and sound

  • VA staff dedicated to assisting Veterans who become delinquent on their loan

Obtaining a VA Guaranteed Loan

Find a Lender: Locate a lending institution that participates in the VA program. You may want to get "pre-qualified" at this point - that is, find out how big a loan you can afford. Lenders set their own interest rates, discount points, and closing points, so you may want to shop around.

Get a Certificate of Eligibility: The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) verifies to the lender that you meet the eligibility requirements for a VA loan. Learn more about the evidence you submit and how to apply for a COE on our Eligibility page.

Find a Home and Sign a Purchase Agreement: Work with a real estate professional and negotiate a purchase agreement. Make sure the purchase and sales agreement contains a "VA Option Clause." You may also want the purchase agreement to allow you to "escape" from the contract without penalty if you can't get a VA loan.

Apply for your VA Loan: Work with the lender to complete a loan application and gather the needed documents, such as pay stubs and bank statements.

Loan Processing: The lender orders a VA appraisal and begins to "process" all the credit and income information.

(Note: VA's appraisal is not a home inspection or a guaranty of value. It's just an estimate of the market value on the date of the inspection. Although the appraiser does look for obviously needed repairs, VA doesn't guarantee the condition of the house. The appraiser, who is licensed, is not a VA employee. The lender can't request a specific appraiser; assignments are made on a rotating basis.)

The lending institution reviews the appraisal and all the documentation of credit, income, and assets. The lender then decides whether the loan should be granted.

Closing: The lender chooses a title company, an attorney, or one of their own representatives to conduct the closing. This person will coordinate the date/time and the property is transferred. If you have any questions during the process that the lender can't answer to your satisfaction, please contact VA at your Regional Loan Center.

Additional Information:

For more information, please visit the VA Home Loans website maintained by the Department of Veterans Affairs at:
http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/

Fact Sheet on VA Guaranteed Loans:
http://www.benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/homeloans/VA_Guaranteed_Home_Loans.pdf

Document Review Date: 1 April 2014