You’re ready to live the dream of owning your own home, but it can be complicated and confusing for first-time homebuyers working to use their VA loan benefit. The experience doesn’t have to be so intimidating! If you’ve served in the United States military, you deserve to get the full benefits of the veteran’s home loan program.

To help you make sense of the process, here are seven expert tips to help veterans understand how to secure a first-time homebuyer loan with the VA.

  • Your credit score can be lower than with other loans

First-time home buyers often run into high credit score requirements in order to get a loan. With the VA home buying program, there is no strict credit score requirement. Borrowers can get into a home with a score as low as 640, or potentially even 620 if there are other factors.

  • You don’t need a down payment

One of the biggest benefits of the VA loan program is that no downpayment is required. Other loan programs for first-time borrowers mandate anywhere from 3-20% cash upfront in the form of a down payment to secure a home loan. It’s important to note that there are still costs that you’ll need to cover, including earnest money, a home inspection, an appraisal, and other closing costs.

  • Comparing VA mortgage lenders can save you money

There are lots of mortgage lenders that offer VA loans, so it’s a good idea to shop around and see which lender is right for you. You’ll want to have a mortgage loan officer who understands the program and can help you get through the process as easily as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and to check with competitors who might offer special benefits to first-time home buyers.

  • VA loans come with lower interest rates

Low-interest rates on a first-time home loan can save you lots of money over the life of a mortgage. VA home loans have some of the best interest rates available because they are backed by the United States government. When you’re buying your first home, it’s worthwhile to pursue a VA loan for these savings alone.

  • Veteran savvy real estate agents can help

Who you surround yourself with during the buying process is important, so check around for a buying agent that has experience helping veterans. This can help you to navigate things that are specific to the VA home buying experience like occupancy requirements.

  • Getting your Certificate of Eligibility is easy

You don’t have to get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) before you start the loan process, but many veterans feel better having it in hand at the outset. You can get a copy through the Veterans eBenefit online service or by contacting your VA Regional Loan Center. Your VA mortgage lender can also get the COE for you as part of the application process.

  • VA loans are a lifetime benefit

Once you get a VA home loan, you can use this program over and over again. You can even have more than one VA loan at the same time. This positive benefit for first-time homebuyers gives veterans peace of mind for the future.

Buying your first home is exciting! For veterans, the VA home loan program can make the home buying process easier and more accessible. We hope these tips have helped put you at ease about the whole process. If you want to read more information on VA loans and how they work check out Money’s 10 Best VA Loan Lenders of June 2021.

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