Have you ever used your VA Loan? I’m talking about a VA Mortgage Loan? Are you retired? Are you active duty? Are you discharged from the military? In most of these situations you will probably qualify for the privilege of a VA Mortgage. I thought I would share with you some things that I have learned!
Did you know that even if you separated from the military MANY years ago, that you may still qualify to have a VA Mortgage? I am not sure of the exact year off the top of my head that my dad separated from the military, but he was honorably discharged. He did not know that he would qualify for a VA Loan until a couple of years ago when I took over his finances. He had never used this wonderful privilege of being a VET!! When we tried to refinance his mortgage a few years ago from a conventional to the VA we could not because his house was too far upside down on equity. So we waited till now, when the rates are EXCEPTIONAL (3.75% our bank, check with yours, or others). Since the market in his area is going up, we thought that this would be the perfect time to try again! So for my dad, we are doing a refinance from the conventional loan at a bank, to another lender we have always banked with in Ohio.
1. Don’t forget to look at Origination (Bank or lender) fees. Some lenders will not make you pay this fee, it can be either a fixed dollar amount or percentage of loan balance.
2. With a VA loan you WILL have to pay a VA funding fee. However, for those of you how happen to have a disability, this can or will be waived, I’m not sure of all the exact rules on that, but don’t be afraid to ask! Your lender WILL NOT automatically assume you were given a disability. Then this fee also comes in tiers. What I mean by that is that the 1st time you ever use the loan you get to pay a certain percentage, and then each time after that you will pay a higher percentage (it does not go up every time, just the 1 time!)
My husband and I are also working on our mortgage loan! We purchased a home in Alaska, where we used our VA loan the first time. We had to pay 2.15%. We sold that house when we left Alaska. Then in 2010 we purchased the house that we live in now. The funding fee was going to be 3.3% because we were not going to put a down payment on the house. Then we decided we wanted to save more of our own money and decided to do a 5% down payment lowering a funding fee to 1.5%. We just thought it would be better to put the money onto the house rather than just give it away for the sake of having a loan!
That gives you a little knowledge of our dealings with purchasing and the funding fees! And now, did you know that you can do a VA Streamline Refinance? This is a very simple step in refinancing your VA mortgage, as long as you don’t want to cash out any money, or anything like that! We live in Las Vegas, so having equity in your house is not something that most families these days have. And for those that when they bought their house and the interest rates were a little bit higher like us… we were at 5.375% which was good when we bought the house, but not nearly as good as the 3.75% that is being offered right now! We are able to just lower the interest rate, not go through nearly as much underwriting or paperwork, we are able to lower our payment, and you don’t pay the full amount of funding fee to do this! The funding fee is only .5% unless you have a disability that would wave this minimal fee!
I am surely not a professional, when it comes to this, but this is the info that I have been working on for my family. There is lots of information, if you are looking for it, or are just interested in looking at lowering your payments. The thing that I liked about the Streamline is that they don’t require you to have an appraisal done. Certain lending institutions may require you to do this, but it is not required as part of the streamline, so make sure you check around, with different lenders. And another part that I did not understand at first!! You do NOT have to stay with your same lender… you can change banks and still not have to pay for the appraisal!
These are some of the sites that I like to go on. I won’t say they are perfect, but they are VERY informative!
And as always, if you have anything you would like to contribute…. please feel free! I love hearing other peoples views!