What is a VA Loan?

Loans for Veterans

VA loans are similiar in many ways to other loan products.  There are fixed rate VA loans and adjustable rate VA loans.  There are 30 year VA loans and there are 15 year VA loans.  VA loans are made by and held by the same banks and financial institutions that make and service every other type of loan.  Some of the differences between VA loans are:

Many veterans mistakenly believe that their VA benefit can only be used once but the truth is that as long as the veteran did not default on a previous loan, they are eligible to use their VA loan benefits for the remainder of their life and their spouse will be able to use the VA loan even after the death of veteran.  There are many advantages to VA loans which make them the most popular loan for veterans of the armed services. 

Maximum VA loan limits vary by county.  In the central valley of California, counties such as Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties all have maximum loan amounts of $484,350.  Higher priced counties such as San Francisco and Los Angeles county have maximum VA loan limits of  $726,525.  Higher priced states such as Alaska and Hawaii have conventional limits up to $726,525.

In order to apply for a VA loan you must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Veterans Administration (VA).  To request a Certificate of Eligibility through mail or overnight delivery, the veteran must complete form VA form 26-1880 and submit it to the VA Eligibility Center along with acceptable proof of service as described on the instruction page of the form.  Certificate's of Eligibility should be submitted to the Winston-Salem Eligibility Center in one of the following manners:

                    By Regular Mail:   

                    P.O. Box 20729 
                    Winston-Salem, NC 27120

                    For overnight delivery:  

                    251 Main Street 
                    Winston-Salem, NC 27155

You can contact the VA Eligibility Center Toll free at: 1-888-244-6711 or by email at: nceligib@vba.va.gov.

Depending on volume, your Certificate of Eligibility will be completed within 1 – 2 weeks.

In addition to form VA form 26-1880, you must also submit proof of military service. If you were separated after October 1,1979, and you received DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty, 1 July edition, the VA must be furnished Copy 4 of the form. You may submit either original papers or legible copies.  If you do not have a copy of your form DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty), you can request a copy by completing the following directions: 

1. Download, print and mail a copy of the VA form SF 180 to the National Personnel Record Center at the address below.

2. You can mail or fax your signed and dated request to the National Archives's National Personnel Record Center (NPRC). Most, but not all records, are stored at the NPRC. Be sure to use the address specified by eVetRecs or the instructions on the SF-180. 


NPRC Mailing Address:                                  NPRC Fax Number : (314) 801-9195

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100


Once you have allowed sufficient time for us to receive and process your request (about 10 days), you may check the status of your request by e-mail through our NPRC Customer Service Center at mpr.status@nara.gov. Please provide the request number if you have one, the name, address and phone number of the requester, and the veteran's branch of service to aid them in finding your request in their system. You will receive a return e-mail from them with a projected completion date for your request.  You may also telephone the NPRC Customer Service Line at: 314-801-0800.


Advantages of VA Loans


Disadvantages of VA Loans?

Eligibility.  VA loans are only available to active duty or honorably discharged service members and their spouses.

VA. Funding Fee.  In lieu of an upfront mortgage premium like the fee charged on FHA loans or USDA loans, the VA imposes a "funding fee" on all VA loans except for VA loans made to service members past or present or the spouses of deceased service members who have been deemed to been at least 10% disabled as a result of their service.  The fee ranges from 0.50% on a refinance up to 3.5% of the loan amount for service members using their VA benefits after their initial use. An exact fee for each service member can be verified here by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

These materials are not from HUD, VA, or FHA and were not approved by HUD or any other government agency.

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