One of the perks of serving our country in the military is being able to take part in the VA home loan program, with its zero down payment rules and excellent interest rates. This government-backed mortgage program empowers active-duty military personnel and veterans to more easily achieve the long-standing American dream of homeownership. However, many veterans wonder whether their home loan entitlement expires. In this article, we will explore the specifics of VA home loan entitlement and whether it comes with an expiration date.
What is VA Home Loan Entitlement?
VA home loan entitlement is the amount the Department of Veteran Affairs guarantees to the lender in case the veteran defaults on the loan. Because this guarantee greatly reduces the risk of loss to the mortgage lenders, they are willing to offer very favorable loan terms to veterans, such as lower interest rates and no down payment requirements, making homeownership more accessible. The VA does not actually create the mortgage, but it backs VA loans made by private lenders.
VA entitlement comes in two types:
Basic Entitlement: The basic entitlement is like a treasure chest of guaranteed funds that the VA bestows upon each eligible veteran. Imagine a shining pot of gold worth around $36,000 in 2023. With this magical boon, the VA promises to back up to $36,000 or 25% of the loan amount, whichever is less, to aid veterans in their quest for a home loan. The best part? This treasure remains with the veteran for a lifetime, waiting to be unlocked whenever they seek a VA home loan - it's like having a golden key to homeownership, ready to use multiple times as long as they meet the criteria.
Bonus Entitlement (or Second-Tier Entitlement): Because the basic entitlement doesn’t always cover enough of the average home price, some are also granted a bonus entitlement. This is like a dazzling crown atop the basic entitlement, providing additional coverage beyond the initial amount. This enchanting crown empowers veterans to secure larger VA loans, especially in regions where homes cost more than the usual loan limit - it's like having a special shield to protect against daunting housing costs.
The specific amount of entitlement a veteran can unlock depends on various factors. Veterans will need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to learn their entitlement status and the maximum loan amount they can secure through the VA home loan program.
No Expiration Date
The good news is that the basic VA home loan entitlement does not come with an expiration date. Once a veteran becomes eligible for this benefit, they retain it for the rest of their life. This means there is no time limit for using their basic entitlement to secure a VA home loan.
Additional Entitlement for Restored Loan Benefits
In some cases, veterans may have used their VA home loan entitlement in the past but have since paid off the loan or sold the property. In such instances, the entitlement they used can be restored, providing them with the opportunity to use a VA loan again in the future. However, the process of restoring entitlement may involve certain conditions and limitations, so it's essential for veterans to consult with the VA or a qualified lender to understand their specific situation.
Entitlement Restoration After Foreclosure
If a veteran faces foreclosure on a property purchased using a VA home loan, it can lead to a loss of entitlement. However, the VA may still consider restoring the entitlement under certain circumstances. Veterans who have repaid the VA for the loss or made arrangements to pay it back can regain their eligibility. This provision reflects the VA's commitment to assisting veterans in overcoming financial difficulties and getting back on their feet.
A VA entitlement can truly feel like a treasure in today’s market of high prices and stiff competition. While there are a few scenarios where a borrower might not be able to lose their entitlement, it never expires and can be a huge financial blessing to veterans and active-duty service members. Contact us today to find out more!