iStock_Capitol Dome at Dawn SmallI’m not a veteran, and at this point in my life, I don’t see it as a part of the master plan for my future to join one of the U.S. Armed Forces.  However, since I’ve been working at Quicken Loans, I seem to hear a lot about VA Loans that are available to veterans, currently serving military, and their spouses.  I’m quickly coming up to speed about the mortgage industry, but I was curious to learn more about this special type of home loan, and boldly decided to do some all-American digging to discover some of its history and benefits.

The best place to start my investigation was with Clay Closson, my leader among the wordsmiths on the Content Team.  He served in the U.S. Army and I’d heard through office banter that he previously used a VA Loan to purchase his first home.  When I inquired, he proudly told me, “I got my VA Loan because in my mind, it was a benefit I earned from serving.  It was something special from my service in the military.”  Here’s a brief rundown of the basics of VA Loans:

A Brief History of the VA Loan

  In 1944, Congress passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act that offered an array of benefits to qualifying veterans.  According to this law, the VA (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) is sanctioned to guarantee the insurance on loans for homes, farms, and businesses.  Subtle changes to the act were passed in the 1970s, but a more important amendment passed in 1992.  Prior to the modification, only those who had served on active duty during certain time frames were eligible, but the program transitioned to allow Reservists and National Guard personnel who served for at least six years.  The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act has been widely successful, covering over 18 million VA home loans during its tenure.

Main Benefits of VA Loans

Clay continued, “When I was ready to buy a home in 1998, I absolutely wanted a VA Loan.”  Why should those who are eligible have the same confidence as Clay to make the decision to use a VA Loan?  One of the main benefits I learned is the aspect of not having to pay a down payment on a home being purchased (What? No down payment!?  Wow!).  Or if refinancing is what a veteran is looking for, how about being able to refinance up to 100% of a home’s value? The jazziest thing is that a VA Loan can be used more than once! I was astonished to learn all the great features of the loan, but I realize it’s just a small token of appreciation our country can offer in return for the sacrifices of those who have served.

What Should You Look For if You’re Considering a VA Loan?

According to Clay, “it wasn’t whether or not I would get a VA Loan, but it was which lender I should choose.”  Those considering a purchase or refinance through a VA Loan should carefully examine online reviews of lenders, paying close attention to their reputation, trustworthiness, and competitive rates.  With the search for anything like a home loan – or anything you’ll be paying off for a long time! – it’s a great idea to seek the advice of trusted family or friends to garner referrals and suggestions.

VA Loans are an awesome benefit, and I’m proud to work for a lender that offers them through a dedicated banking unit.  It would be great to be able to use one when the day comes for me to purchase my first home.  Hmm, maybe I should rethink my future… camo isn’t such a bad look after all!

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