The COVID-19 pandemic led to an unexpected shift in the U.S. housing market in 2020, with home sales reaching a 14-year high in August and continuing through December. For veterans looking to join the ranks of new homeowners, a VA home loan is a smart and affordable way to purchase a house.
VA home loans allow veterans and active duty servicemembers to obtain a mortgage loan and purchase a home while avoiding some of the biggest hurdles of home buying—including coming up with a down payment. According to a recent Washington Post article, the number of VA home loans closed in 2020 represents a 100 percent increase over fiscal year 2019, and more VA home loans were provided in 2020 than in 2018 and 2019 combined.
What are the benefits of a VA home loan?
- No down payment. This is probably the biggest advantage, especially for newer veterans who have not had a chance to set aside any considerable savings or build up their credit history.
- More flexibility and leniency. With VA loans, lenders are more likely to overlook lower credit scores as well as past foreclosures or bankruptcies.
- No private mortgage insurance (PMI). Most conventional home loans require monthly PMI payments unless the buyer can come up with at least 20% down at the time of sale. This is not the case with VA loans.
- Competitive interest rates. Interest rates for VA home loans are about 0.5% to 1% lower than those associated with conventional home loans—which can add up to significant savings over time.
- Cap on closing costs. Also a great benefit for veterans, the VA caps what lenders can charge and allows sellers to pay the closing costs in full. This is not required, so the buyer still may be responsible for some of the closing costs (as well as the earnest payment), but the amount needed is often considerably less.
Plus, you don't have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify for a VA home loan, and the benefit is reusable. VA loans are also assumable, meaning another buyer can take over your mortgage loan and keep the existing interest rate and terms; this is not the case with the majority of conventional loans.
Before you apply, make sure you have a copy of your DD214.
The first step toward getting approved for a VA home loan is completing your certificate of eligibility, or COE. For veterans, this will require providing a copy of your DD214, also known as the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, to show proof of service and honorable discharge. If you never received a copy of your DD214, or if it has been lost or damaged over time, you will need to order a replacement copy before you can apply for your VA home loan.
Veteran-owned DD214Direct helps you get the documents you need, when you need them.
Our cutting-edge technology platform and keen knowledge of government protocol and procedure allow us to deliver your documents faster than you could get them on your own. First, we digitize both your request and the returned documents, using electronic signatures to avoid extra time with the postal service. We also integrate email and fax throughout our entire process, while many agencies do not.
To further expedite the process, our team ensures your initial request is filled out properly the first time and includes the necessary supporting documentation so that it doesn't bounce back. In addition, we break up multiple requests (DD214, OMPF, etc.) so that each piece is handled separately and one does not delay the other.
Once your request is processed, DD214Direct becomes your personal advocate, working directly with the agency that holds your records (currently there are about 75 independent agencies) and immediately responding to any agency issues on your behalf. In many cases, DD214Direct is able to advance your request to a higher-priority workflow. Finally, we have team members at many locations to drop off and pick up documents.
Much like paying a small fee to have your taxes done by a professional, DD214Direct provides the service and convenience you’ve been hoping for, plus we make it a lot easier. Once we locate your DD214, we can email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers.
Ready to get started? Click here to begin the order process.