By Marie Flounoy
If you belong to the armed forces, then you should be acquainted with the array of benefits veterans are entitled to. One of the most common benefits is the VA loan.
Whether you are a service veteran, active duty or a surviving spouse, you could be eligible to apply for a VA loan. However, you should know that the VA has specific requirements that you need to be aware of. First, you should have a good credit rating, a valid Certificate of Eligibility, and sufficient income. The house can be utilized for personal occupancy only.
For active duty
If you are on regular duty at the moment, you are entitled to get VA financing. However, you must have served 181 days (90 days during the Gulf War) if you weren't separated or discharged for a given reason.
For National Guard and reserves members
Those belonging to the National Guard or Reserves must have served the state for a minimum of six years. At the same time, it's worth noting that the six years must be completed prior to applying for a VA loan. Individuals who completed less than six years could still apply for this type of financing if they were discharged due to a service-related disability.
For retired veterans
Retired veterans are required to have served at least 181 days; 90 of those days should that time be during the Gulf War. Simultaneously, they should have had an honorable discharge. Nevertheless, for serving less than 90 days, you could still get a VA loan only if you were discharged because of a service-connected disability.
Considering that you are a surviving spouse who has remarried after turning 57, or after Dec. 16, 2003, you may benefit from a VA loan. You may also be entitled to get VA financing if you were married to a veteran who died in service, or as a result of a disability. Still, remarried spouses aren't considered eligible.
At the same time, if you're married to a service person that has gone missing in action, or is a war prisoner, you could apply for a VA loan.
Who is eligible?
So, who is eligible to get a VA loan? VA financing is available to the veterans who have served an official branch of the armed forces for 90 days, at the very least (or less, if they were discharged due to service-related disability), in the upcoming categories:
- Korean conflict
- World War II
- Vietnam Era
- Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990, to present)
Concurrently, veterans who were discharged under honorable conditions, having served the armed forces for at least 90 days, before September 1980, are considered eligible.
On a final note, what does the VA require of veterans applying for financing? For starters, they'll assess your credit score; and it should be good. Some lenders might have specific requirements regarding the minimum credit score that is acceptable. Additionally, your income should allow you to make repayments. The minimum loan requirements will be established based on the location and size of your family.
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