What is a VA Loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage loan in the United States guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The loan may be issued by qualified VA lenders.

Congress created the VA Loan Guaranty Program in 1944 to help returning service members achieve the dream of home ownership. Since then, the Department of Veterans Affairs has helped more than 17.6 million military members purchase and homes in the United States.. The basic intention of the VA direct home loan program is to supply home financing to eligible veterans in areas where private financing is not generally available and to help veterans purchase properties with no down payment. Eligible areas are designated by the VA as housing credit shortage areas and are generally rural areas and small cities and towns not near metropolitan or commuting areas of large cities.


With more than 26.3 million veterans and service personnel eligible for VA financing, this loan has many advantages. There is a two-year requirement if the veteran enlisted and began service after September 7, 1980 or was an officer and began service after October 16, 1981. There is a six-year requirement for National guards and reservists with certain criteria and there are specific rules concerning the eligibility of surviving spouses. Eligibility for the VA loan is defined as Veterans who served on active duty and have a discharge other than dishonorable after a minimum of 90 days of service during wartime or a minimum of 181 continuous days during peacetime.

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