Serving in the National Guard is a wonderful way to serve your country while still being able to maintain your civilian life, job, and obligations. Though you’re not serving in the military as a full-time service-member, you’re still entitled to many of the same benefits other veterans and current military members receive. The VA loan program is one of them. Buying a home with a VA loan is somewhat different than buying one with a conventional mortgage. Use this guide to help you get ready for your purchase.
Understand the Eligibility Requirements
Before you can get serious about buying a home with a VA loan, you need to make sure you qualify for the loan in the first place. For National Guard members, you must have served for a set period of time. If you’ve served a time period of 90 days on active-duty you’ll qualify for the loan. The active-duty service requirement means you’re working with the National Guard full-time for 90 consecutive days. If you haven’t been on active-duty service for 90 days, you can still qualify for the loan by serving for six years.
You’ll Need to Get Your C.O.E.
Before you can apply for a loan, you’ll need to get a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility from your commanding officer. This can be done online through the benefits portal. Once you have your C.O.E., you’ll be able to speak with lenders and start applying for a loan immediately. The sooner you apply, the easier it will be to figure out your budget.
Look for VA-Approved Lenders and Realtors
Buying a home with a VA loan works almost identically to financing a house with a conventional mortgage, but it’s different enough that it can confuse both lenders and realtors. Look for professionals that have worked with military or National Guard members in the past. When you work with experienced professionals, you’ll know that you’re getting the best service and fairest terms possible.
Figure Out Your Down Payment
One of the biggest benefits of buying a house with a VA loan is that you don’t have to make a down payment. You can finance the full purchase price of the house if you need to. Keep in mind that making a small down payment may get you better terms from the lender and will almost always lower your monthly payments.
If you’re thinking of buying a house with a VA loan, don’t put your application off. Apply online today and get the process started.