Perhaps you’ve served your country by playing a role in the military. If so, the government gives you a wide range of benefits in exchange for your sacrifice. One of them is help with buying a home. When you’re ready, veteran financing could be the way to go. Here’s what to know about applying for a mortgage through Veterans Affairs.

Eligibility Certificates

Even if you’ve spent time in the Armed Forces, you may not qualify for VA mortgage assistance. Your service must have lasted at least 181 days during peacetime or 90 consecutive days during wartime. National Guard members are also eligible, provided they meet the time requirement. You may even apply if you are the spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty.

To prove you have the right to ask for a VA home loan, you need a document called a Certificate of Eligibility. The requirements for a COE differ depending on the circumstances. Working alongside a veteran financing professional can help assure your official request is thorough and accurate.

Other Requirements

A COE isn’t the only necessity. You must also occupy the residence within two months of the home’s purchase. Vacation and investment properties are not allowed. Although the VA does not expect a particular credit score, you’ll have yours examined; a low one could cause a rejection. Loan gatekeepers will want to know whether your income is high enough that paying back the loan won’t be a struggle. Proof of reserve funds helps give assurance that you will. Have at least two months of mortgage payments at the ready.

Purchases

With these necessities squared away, go ahead and seek pre-approval. You’ll want to do this early in the process so you don’t waste time considering homes you cannot afford. The building you desire must meet the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements for safety. Next, make your bid. If the amount you offer is accepted, an underwriter will perform a financial assessment. Further, an appraiser will inspect your future home. All that’s left is closing and moving in.

Advantages

Despite the hurdles, there are plusses to mortgages that come through the VA. For starters, the interest rates are potentially lower. The credit requirements tend to be looser, and there’s no down payment required. Note that loan recipients do not have to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance.

Those able to take advantage of veteran financing when buying a home should do so. The perks this monetary path offers are significant and deserved.