At Alaska Unlimited Realty we would like to thank all Veterans, past and present, for their service to our country.

We can help you with your VA purchase, and we can help you find a lender.

Here is some important information about the VA Mortgage Loan Program:

Demand has been sizzling for Veterans Affairs mortgages, better known as VA loans. These mortgages do not always require a down payment and are available to military veterans and active military members. VA loans are made through private lenders and are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, so they do not require mortgage insurance. There’s no minimum credit score requirement.

The VA loan remains one of the few mortgage options for borrowers who don’t have the money for a down payment. Available to millions of veterans and active military members, VA loans are somewhat easier to qualify for than conventional mortgages.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is not a direct lender. The loan is made through a private lender and partially guaranteed by the VA, as long as guidelines are met.

If you think you may be eligible for a VA loan, here are some must-knows about the program.

Eligibility

Most members of the military, veterans, reservists and National Guard members are eligible to apply for a VA loan. Spouses of military members who died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability may also apply.

Active-duty members generally qualify after about six months of service. Reservists and members of the National Guard must wait six years to apply, but if they are called to active duty before that, they gain eligibility after 181 days of service.

“Most reservists are qualifying under active duty,” says Michael Frueh, chief of staff for the Veterans Benefits Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Reservists, members of the National Guard and active-duty members generally are eligible after 90 days of service during war periods.

“If you were on any type of foreign soil, more than likely you are eligible,” says Grant Moon, a veteran and president of VA Loan Captain Inc., a loan referral company.

Potential borrowers must obtain a certificate of eligibility. The form can be submitted online.

“But you don’t need the Certificate of Eligibility in hand to start the mortgage process,” says Chris Birk, director of education for Veterans United Home Loans. “Lenders in many cases can get this document for borrowers during the preapproval phase.”

Advantages of a VA loan

Loans guaranteed by the VA can be obtained without any down payment.

“That’s a huge plus,” Frueh says.

Another plus: A VA loan doesn’t require mortgage insurance, as do Federal Housing Administration and conventional loans with less than a 20 percent down payment. The benefit translates into significant monthly savings for VA borrowers. For instance, a borrower who makes a 3.5 percent down payment on a $200,000 FHA-insured mortgage pays $100 a month for mortgage insurance alone.

“And with a VA loan, you don’t have to save all the money you would have to save for a conventional loan,” Moon says.

Fees

Although the costs of getting a VA loan are generally lower than for other types of low-down-payment mortgages, they still carry a one-time funding fee that varies, depending on the amount of the down payment and the type of