Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is an added cost many homebuyers face when they can’t make a 20% down payment. But veteran home loans allow eligible borrowers to purchase without any down payment, avoiding PMI. Let’s explore how VA loans help veterans and military members become homeowners without the cost of PMI.
PMI is an insurance policy lenders require when buyers put less than 20% down, protecting them in case of default. Borrowers pay the monthly PMI premium with their mortgage payment until they reach 20% equity. This added cost can add hundreds of dollars monthly.
VA loans don’t require PMI at all, even at 0% down. The funding fee takes the place of PMI and a down payment. This fee can be financed into the loan amount. Additionally, VA loans also offer competitive rates and flexible credit guidelines.
VA Home Loans Explained
To qualify for a VA loan, you must be an eligible veteran, service member, or surviving spouse. Active duty members can qualify with just 90 days served. The VA limits the loan amount based on location, with higher limits in costlier areas.
Can VA Loans Avoid PMI?
Yes, qualifying military members and veterans can pursue a VA loan as a way to avoid PMI. Doing so can help borrowers save significantly over the life of their loan. Let’s look at an example. On a $300,000 home at 3.5% interest, a 0% down VA loan has a 2.15% funding fee of $6,450. A 5% down conventional loan would need $15,000 down and with a PMI rate of 0.5-0.7%, the homeowner would pay about $150 monthly in PMI. Over 5 years that’s $9,000 in PMI!
Factors to Consider
While VA loans offer clear savings by avoiding PMI, it’s still important to weigh several factors when deciding between a veteran home loan and a conventional loan with PMI. Here are some key considerations:
Credit Score Requirements
VA loans can be obtained with a credit score as low as 580 (depending on the lender’s requirements), whereas many conventional loans require a minimum score of 620 or 640. If your credit score is on the lower end, a VA loan may be your best option. If you have excellent credit, a conventional loan may offer a lower interest rate.
Down Payment Options
One of the biggest perks of VA loans is the ability to purchase with zero down payment. Conventional loans typically need at least 5% down to avoid PMI.
Long-Term Financial Plans
Think about your long-term plans and financial position. How long will you be in the home? Do you have additional funds for renovations? Will you want to tap into your home’s equity in the future? Evaluate both loan types to discern which option aligns best with your long-term financial plans.
Apply for a Veteran Home Loan Today
VA loans give veterans and military personnel a great advantage with 0% down and no PMI. If you’re interested in applying for a veteran home loan, please contact us to start the process. Let us help you use your benefits to buy the home of your dreams!