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Unlocking Your Dream Home: VA Loan Eligibility

a couple stands in front of their new home

For some veterans and active-duty military personnel, buying a home can feel like a milestone just out of reach. Luckily, VA home loans are a resource you can use to help bridge the gap and successfully buy the home of your dreams. But what exactly are the eligibility requirements for a VA home loan,* and how can you get the loan process started? In this blog, we will explore the eligibility requirements set by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to help you determine if you qualify.

What is a VA Home Loan?

Let’s start with the basics of VA home loans. They are specialized mortgages backed by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs , and they are designed to make homeownership more accessible for military personnel and their families. You may qualify for a VA loan if you’re a veteran, active duty servicemember, or military spouse.

What are the minimum requirements for a VA home loan?

There are a few big elements that determine your eligibility for the VA home loan program. But even if you don’t completely meet the requirements, there are still workarounds that may help you qualify. Let’s take a look at the top criteria for being eligible:

1. Military Service Requirements

The first step in determining your eligibility for a VA home loan is understanding the military service requirements. Typically, people who served in one of the branches of the United States Military or part of the Reserves qualify. If you are an active-duty military member, you may also qualify.

While military service is an important requirement, the length and type of service also factor into your eligibility. To qualify for a VA home loan, a person needs to complete at least 90 consecutive days of active-duty service or 181 days of active-duty service during peacetime. If you served in the National Guard or Reserves, you must complete at least six years of service.

2. Certificate of Eligibility

The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) confirms your eligibility for a VA loan. There are many ways to submit a COE, from going through the VA's eBenefits portal to simply talking to your lender.

Our Loan Officers at Academy Bank can guide you through the process, help you fill out the COE, and determine if you meet the VA’s eligibility criteria.  

3. Surviving Spouses

In some cases, military spouses can apply for VA home loans. The primary criteria for the spouse of a veteran receiving VA loans is if the veteran passed away while serving their country or if they were missing in action. The Department of Veterans Affairs has many more stipulations, so it’s advised to do some research before filling out a COE. If you need assistance, make sure to reach out to your lender, and they will walk you through the requirements.

What if I don’t meet the service requirements for a VA loan?

If you are a veteran and don’t meet all the above requirements, is it possible to still receive a VA backed home loan? In some cases, yes! According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, you can still fill out a COE if you were discharged for one of the following reasons:

  • Hardship
  • The convenience of the government (You need to serve for at least 20 months of a 2-year enlistment)
  • Reduction in force
  • Certain medical conditions
  • A service-connected disability

Discuss the criteria with your lender, and they can help you complete your Certificate of Eligibility.

How can Academy Bank help me apply for a VA home loan?

We know the ins and outs of requirements, but paperwork can sometimes feel overwhelming. Understanding your eligibility and available resources for purchasing your dream home can be complex.

Academy Bank is proud to be a VA approved mortgage lender. You can work directly with us rather than coordinating with the VA. Our accredited loan officers are experts in VA home loans and will support you throughout the homebuying experience.

Reach out to one of our Loan Officers or call your local branch to begin your  journey to homeownership today!



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*Subject to credit approval. VA funding fee may apply. VA loan qualification guidelines apply. Borrowers pay third party fees that include the appraisal fee, title fees, insurance, etc.  Additional restrictions and fees may apply.  VA loans are offered exclusively to qualified military service members