How much of a difference does being a veteran make when becoming a first-time homebuyer?

Asked by Geoff, Denver, CO Tue Aug 28, 2007

I have an honorable discharge, decent credit (working on improving it) and income of about $30k. I'm also working on building up savings.

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John Schinkel, Agent, Colorado, CO
Tue Aug 21, 2012
Hello Geoff,
I'm a veteran and I've used my VA loan twice. It is an amazing purchasing tool for those who are eligible and qualified to use it. The excellent rates and lack of mortgage insurance separate it from any other financing vehicle for Buyers looking to purchase with little to no money down. I have had some difficulty with VA appraisals lately but the benefits far outweigh that one negative, in my humble opinion. Something even more exciting that isn't widely known: you can use your VA loan to purchase a multifamily property. Though this isn't an option or of much interest to everyone, having the ability to buy up to a 4 unit apartment building with no money down and live there while your tenants pay your mortgage is one heck of a powerful wealth building tool.
2 votes
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Wed Aug 29, 2007
Hi Geoff:
I just happen to be a veteran; and don't ask me why - but I've never used my VA Loan benefit. Don't get me wrong - I did try once - but the criteria was so stringent on the pre-inspection I just went for the traditional loan option.

However, the VA Loan allows you to purchase without a down (the loan can only be based on the lowest factor: appraisal or sale price), the VA Guarantees your loan (unlike FHA/HUD where they only insure the loan), and the VA will not allow a pre-payment penalty on your loan.

Contact your local Veteran's Affairs Office to insure you have all the details. Good luck to you!
2 votes
Yolanda Tann…, , 92584, 92585, 92562, 92563, 92564, 92596, 92592
Tue Aug 28, 2007
Being a veteran provides an additional funding option. Although I am a Realtor, with the purchase of our first home we used the VA Loan. While we had the money to cover a monthly mortgage, property taxes and monthly recurring expenses we did not have the money to cover a down payment nor closing costs.

While the interest rate was not the best, it was okay and far better than renting. As our equity grew in the home over time there was a return on investment and allowed us to move into our second home six years later.

Make sure that you compare, for instance, each service usually has a Credit Union (i.e Navy Federal) and they may competitive programs. We shopped around, at the end of the day, we still went with the VA Loan and were confident that we made the best decision.

Make sure you check out the General Rules for Loan Eligibility and then take it from there.

Good Luck,
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1 vote
Bryan Horn, , 92101
Tue Nov 11, 2014
VA loans are a fairly easy to get with Wells Fargo since they are the biggest lender in the land. Plus Wells Fargo does not charge any loan processing or underwriting fees.

VA mortgage loans are also lower in rate than their conventional counterparts and have no mortgage insurance!

Appraisals are not a problem either as the VA appraiser is going to give an honest and accurate value number based on the comps in the area.

All in all, Veterans Loans are great so please inquire with me as Wells and I do several hundred of these VA loans per month!

Thank you for your service and Happy Veterans Day!

0 votes
Carl Larson, Agent, Denver, CO
Sat Aug 2, 2014
I would say the two primary benefits would be in the lending process, no down payment required on a VA loan, and in negotiations, the apprehension to a first time buyer offer is often quelled by the veteran status. I just help my brother, a veteran of the navy, buy his house, it was in a multiple offer situation and they picked his lower offer because of his VA loan... It totally depends on the seller, but it can be a huge asset in negotiations! I have a great VA lender, and would love to help you find you new home!

Carl Larson
The Bartic Group
(303) 880-8778 - Cell

#1 Keller Williams Real Estate Team in Colorado

Top 1% of Realtor © Teams in The World
0 votes
Abel Reyes, Agent, LAKEWOOD, CO
Tue Aug 21, 2012
There are a handful of banks that offer service member benefits. For example Chase bank has a Military Mortgage Program, offering mortgage benefits and support to the military. If you have any questions or would like more information please feel free to email me.

Hope this helps :)
0 votes
Bret Weinste…, Agent, Denver, CO
Tue Aug 21, 2012
A big piece of the decision is how much money you are putting down. Feel free to email me if you need a bit more clarification, it appears you have quite a bit below!
0 votes
Robert McGui…, Agent, Denver, CO
Mon Aug 20, 2012

This is an old question but I just saw it in the archives. A veteran who is buying for the first time has a 1% Funding Fee that can be either picked up by the seller or included in the loan. We can often get the seller to pay the closing costs on the loan and the VA buyer can come in with no money down. Although there are some great programs out there for 1st time home buyers, in recent days the VA loan has been very competitive and in some cases the best option for the VA eligible buyer. I have lenders who can review the options and help you find the best scenario for each buyers own personal situation. Contact me for info on the best lenders to meet your needs. It is a great time to purchase a home in Denver.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
Search Denver Homes
Direct - 303-669-1246
0 votes
Shelley Brya…, Agent, Englewood, CO
Mon Jul 9, 2012
Huge difference as you can receive a 100% financed loan depending on income and credit.
0 votes
Laurie King, Agent, Denver, CO
Wed Jun 13, 2012
With many of the changes in home financing these days, it's getting more difficult for people to qualify for a loan. FHA loans have raised the required down payment to 3.5% from 3% and are now also increasing the PMI, which is an insurance the buyer pays for but is used by the lender if the loan goes into default. I would say using your VA status for a VA loan is one of the best things you could do. A much better way to finance and buy your first home. You've earned it, certainly use it. For more help please give me a call or visit my website 303-777-7435
0 votes
Shelley Brya…, Agent, Englewood, CO
Wed Jun 13, 2012
VA loans are great loans with a 100% financing- I would definitely pursue getting one.
0 votes
Rudy McDowell, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Tue Sep 14, 2010
Hi, Geoff

As already menitoned, VA loans are a awesome and well earned entitlement for service men and women. Along with 100% financing and great interest rates for even less than perfect credit , a VA loan also removes much of your othrewise standrad closing cost fees as well. Please see my blog concerning those fees that can and can not be charged in a VA transaction for further clairty and assistance.
0 votes
Merritt Noel, , Denver, CO
Mon Sep 13, 2010
A VA loan can be a great option for those that are looking to get into a home with no money down. The VA will finance up to 100% of the purchase price. There is no other loan products on the market that allow for 100% financing in today lending environment. Typically, the VA loan is a great fit for borrowers with less than perfect credit and minimal funds to put towards a down payment.

The interest rates are very competitive if not better than conventional loans especially if your credit score is less than 700. While you do have to finance the VA funding fee into the loan amount (therefore it is not an out-of-pocket expense) the upside is you do not have to pay monthly mortgage insurance. Any other loan product where you put down at less than 20% requires monthly mortgage insurance...unless you buy out of the monthly mortgage insurance which can be very costly and requires a 680+ credit score.

Please let me know if I can assist your further in your home buying process. Good luck on this exciting journey.


Merritt Noel
Sr. Loan Officer
American Liberty Mortgage
Web Reference:
0 votes
#1, , San Francisco Bay Area
Sat Sep 29, 2007
Not much these days.

Conventional loans are more competitive than VA loans as far as rate and fees go.

You can get in with nothing down but you can do that without the VA. And get a better rate.

Maximun loan amount may or may not apply in your area.

It used to be but it is really not a benefit anymore. That is really smoke and mirrors. The system needs a major overhaul. SO what if the government guarantees your loan... if you don't make the payments they still take it away from you.

I am a disabled Viet Nam Veteran and my VA loan is still available to me and I wouldn't even consider using it. No sense... it is not a good deal.

The GI bill ain't what it used to be.
0 votes
Brian Burke, Agent, Highlands Ranch, CO
Sat Sep 29, 2007
You may need a lender to answer this question?? Some loan programs today may be better than using your VA loan certificate. are you looking in Castle Rock?
Web Reference:
0 votes
Suzanne Walk…, Agent, Oklahoma City, OK
Wed Aug 29, 2007
All good advice for the most part, plus I have one more thing to add. First, my husband is retired military and 80% of our business is VETS so I feel qualified to respond since we deal with a high volume of VA loan buyers. If you are rated as disabled your funding fee is waived so check into it. A lot of people will try to scare you off of a VA loan because of the funding fee and a lot of vets don't have to pay it because of their disability rating. I prefer VA over FHA in regards to vets, there is a reason the government calls it a 'benefit'. Also, there is a lot of grant money available that can be used in conjunction with the VA loan so definitely look into those programs in the area you will be buying. In regards to high interest rates, I don't see that with the lenders I do business with. VA loans pay a lot of money on the back end to the lender so they don't need to jack the price up on you so shop your loan. Lastly, call USAA first because I'm seeing no one beat USAA's VA loans and closing cost at the current time. At least you know you can trust USAA and use them a check point as you shop the loan with other lenders. Best of luck!
0 votes
Herman Chang, Agent, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Wed Aug 29, 2007
There is a VA loan program. However, you would have to compare w/ FHA and conventional to see which one would be more beneficial. Consult with a mortgage broker or bank. Banks also have first time home buyer programs and are waiving a lot of fees based on good credit.
0 votes
Pam Winterba…, Agent, Danville, VA
Tue Aug 28, 2007
Geoff....With you VA eligibility you can also purchase with no money down and have sellers pick up closing costs. I believe they call this a VA no, no. No down and no closing costs.
Web Reference:
0 votes
Patti Pereyra, , Chicago, IL
Tue Aug 28, 2007
Hi Geoff:

Have you looked into loans available to veterans? This link might be a good start for you:

This should answer many of your questions about obtaining financing as a veteran.

Congratulations on your journey to purchasing your first home!
0 votes
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