Introduced in 1944 as part of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (commonly called the G.I. Bill), the VA home loan program was created to help returning veterans purchase a primary residence as part of their transition back to civilian life. Since then, the program has been amended several times to improve upon its existing benefits and expand the eligibility requirements.
As of 2018, more than 20 million veterans have become homeowners thanks to the VA home loan program, but many are surprised to learn that those mortgage loans are not just for home buying.
What else can veterans use a VA home loan for?
In addition to using the loan to buy a primary residence such as a house, townhouse or condominium, the government-backed loans can help veterans:
- Build a new home (and purchase the lot on which it will be built)
- Buy a multi-unit property (up to a fourplex), as long as one of the units becomes the primary residence
- Buy a manufactured (mobile) home, with or without a lot
- Buy a lot on which to put a manufactured home that is already owned
- Repair or make improvements to a home
- Add upgrades to improve energy efficiency, such as a solar energy system
VA home loans can also be used to refinance an existing home loan or VA loan for a better interest rate or to refinance a manufactured home loan to acquire a lot. This can be done through the Interest Rate Refinance Loan (IRRRL) or the Cash-Out Refinance Loan , which lets veterans turn home equity into cash.
Can I buy land with a VA mortgage loan? What about a vacation home?
With the exception being that veterans can purchase a lot for building a new home or for moving a manufactured home, VA home loans cannot be used toward the purchase of land if there are no immediate plans to build on or occupy the land.
The purchase of vacation homes, second homes, homes outside of the country or investment properties is also prohibited under the VA home loan program. Veterans are also restricted from buying farm land unless it contains a home that will be used as the primary residence.
To start the VA mortgage loan process, you will need to show proof of service.
Once you have determined whether or not you are eligible for VA mortgage assistance, the first step is applying for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which lets vendors know you’ve qualified for a VA-guaranteed loan. You can obtain your COE online through the eBenefits portal or ask your lender to request it on your behalf, but before you can do that you will need to have a copy of your DD214 in hand.
DD214Direct is the fastest, most convenient way to get your DD214.
And we worked hard to make it that way, spending decades perfecting a system for requesting, locating and delivering military service records that has helped thousands of veterans get the documents they need—most of the time within 3 to 10 business days.
Instead of having to download, print, sign and fax your document request form, you can submit your order directly through our website with the ease of e-signature technology from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. This use of cutting-edge technology, combined with our unique knowledge of government protocol and procedure, helps the DD214 team get your request where it needs to go so we can locate your documents quickly, even if it means searching outside of conventional records repositories. We’ll even stand in line at government counters so you don’t have to.
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