Getting a VA home loan in St. Johns County might at first glance seem to be full of paperwork, hard to get and the loan process itself simply takes too long. First-time homebuyers can glean as much information as they can about the process but with all the different loan terms and qualification guidelines, it can be overwhelming. But for those that do have the VA home loan benefit and want to come to the closing table with as little cash as possible, the VA program is hard to beat. Whether you’re buying in St. Augustine or any other surrounding area, VA loans are definitely worth looking into.
For most counties in Florida, the VA loan limit is $726,200. If you’ve served in the armed forces, active duty for at least 181 days, served in the National Guard or Reserves for at least six years you’re likely eligible for this special program. But the only way a VA lender knows for sure is by seeing a copy of your Certificate of Entitlement. You can obtain this certificate by yourself with a copy of your DD-214 or you can have your selected lender do it for you, which is the easiest way to get your certificate.
VA loan guidelines don’t specify a specific qualifying credit score but do require a VA lender to document a responsible credit history. This doesn’t mean perfect credit, just good. You can have a couple of recent blemishes and still qualify. While the VA doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement most VA lenders do and the minimum qualifying score can be between 580 and 620.
Lenders are also required to determine that a borrower can document an ability to repay the new mortgage payment along with current monthly credit obligations. Lenders will add together the principal and interest payment with a monthly allotment for homeowners’ insurance and property taxes. This figure is then added with other debt such as a car payment or credit card minimum payment. Adding up all monthly debt is then compared to gross monthly income. VA guidelines ask that your debt ratio be around 43 percent.
VA loans also require the borrower to occupy the property being financed and is not to be used to buy a rental property or vacation home. However, if you’ve always wanted to retire on the beach, you can use your VA home loan benefit once again as long as the previous VA mortgage was paid off. You can sell your primary residence in St. Johns County and buy a retirement home using your VA benefit as long as the previous mortgage was paid off during the transaction. Your new VA lender will handle getting your eligibility restored using the documentation from the sale of your home.
Closing costs for veterans can also be lower compared to other programs. For instance, there is no monthly mortgage insurance payment as there is with other government-backed mortgage programs such as FHA and USDA loans. Veterans are restricted from paying certain costs such as loan processing fee or tax service. Veterans are only allowed to pay for an appraisal, credit report, title and title-related charges, origination fees and the recording fee. All remaining fees must be paid for by the seller or with a lender-provided closing cost credit.
Our VA loan specialist at Coast 2 Coast can walk you through the steps needed to get your VA loan application approved and get you in your home anywhere in Florida.
Questions about applying for a VA loan? Speak to a VA mortgage specialist by calling the number above.