Surveys show many who are eligible for a VA home loan don't know how much they could be saving with one. Always consider VA...

On this Veterans Day, we all naturally wish to thank the men and women of the armed forces for their service and sacrifice. One way in which we taxpayers and our government thank veterans is with the VA home loan — a great program in which eligible servicemembers and veterans can purchase their residences with no money down. Interest rates and costs are competitive and no mortgage insurance is required.

20% Don’t Know About VA Mortgage Benefit

However, not everyone eligible for VA financing is aware of the program — one recent survey found that one-fifth of eligible servicemembers who bought homes didn’t know about the advantages of VA home financing. One reason for this is that the Uniform Residential Loan Application used by most mortgage lenders does not ask about an applicant’s military status or VA loan eligibility — so loan officers don’t necessarily tell people about what might be the best loan for their situation.

Improvements Worth Celebrating this Veterans Day

Efforts by the VA have made yielded progress in this area. During fiscal year 2013 (federal agency fiscal years run from October 1 through September 30) the VA guaranteed more than 629,000 home mortgages, the most in its history.

  • For the past 5 ½ years, VA mortgages have had the lowest foreclosure rate in the entire mortgage industry.
  • Since 2008, the agency has helped over 320,000 veterans avoid foreclosure.
  • VA home loan use is up by 32 percent.

Don’t Forget VA Home Loans

A VA loan could save you money even if you have a down payment. Today, for example, on LendingTree’s LoanExplorer, a first-time user can find a 30-year fixed VA home loan with 3.356 percent APR (payment for a $380,000 loan and five percent down is $1,654). The best those without VA eligibility can do is an APR of 4.338 percent ($1,957 per month)! Just by using your VA eligibility, you could save over $300 a month.

It’s easy to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for a VA loan. VA-approved mortgage lenders can do it for you, or you can request it online through the VA, or you can get it the old-fashioned way by mail. Once you have a COE, it’s easy to apply for a VA home loan.

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Gina Pogol

Gina Pogol