The loans and mortgage landscape navigation can be stressful, especially for those who have lost a loved one in service to their country. If you’re a surviving service member’s spouse, you may ask, “Can I get a VA loan?” This question is valid and crucial as it could open doors to homeownership you might not have thought possible.
This article explores the intricacies of VA loans, their benefits, eligibility requirements, and, most importantly, how they apply to surviving spouses. With my extensive refinancing knowledge, let’s embark on this informative journey that could transform your life and bring you one step closer to owning your dream home.
A VA loan is a unique type of mortgage backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This home loan program offers long-term financing to eligible American veterans or their surviving spouses. The benefits of a VA Loan are numerous, including:
- Lower interest rates than conventional options
- Flexible credit score requirements
- No down payment
- No mortgage insurance
Notably, borrowers can get a VA loan approval with late payments, especially if they show responsible financial behavior.
The eligibility requirements for a surviving spouse are similar to how any eligible veteran would apply for one. However, certain conditions must be met, such as not having remarried after the service member’s death (unless they were 57 years or older when they remarried).
To use the VA loan as a surviving spouse, you must first meet specific VA Loan eligibility requirements set forth by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which include:
- Your service member’s spouse was declared missing in action or became a prisoner of war (POW).
- The Veteran died in active service or from a service-related disability.
- A totally disabled veteran for over ten years before their death.
These criteria ensure that the benefits of the VA loan program extend to those who have made significant sacrifices for our country. Understanding these requirements and verifying your eligibility before proceeding with the application process is crucial.
Once you’ve determined your eligibility for a VA home loan, it’s time to understand how to apply for one. Here’s a detailed look at what you can expect:
The first step in the process is to obtain a certificate of eligibility, which verifies that you meet the basic service requirements for VA loan benefits. As a surviving spouse, you must apply using VA Form 26-1817, Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility – Unmarried Surviving Spouses.
On your COE, an entitlement code will represent the time or circumstance that qualifies you for loan benefits. For surviving spouses, this will typically be Code 06 if your spouse died while in service or Code 07 if they died from a service-connected disability.
Once you have your COE, it’s time to find a lender who participates in the VA program. It’s important to note that while the VA guarantees part of the loan, they do not dictate the rates or terms; these are set by individual lenders.
While you can obtain your COE on your own through the eBenefits portal on the VA website, many lenders also have access to an Internet-based application called Web LGY which allows them to establish eligibility and issue an online COE quickly.
After choosing a lender and discussing your options, you’ll complete their specific loan application process and provide any necessary documentation, such as income verification and credit history.
The lender will then process your application and underwrite the loan. This includes assessing your financial situation and determining whether you’re a reasonable risk for the loan.
If everything goes well with underwriting, you’ll move on to closing, where all final paperwork is signed and property ownership is transferred.
The VA loan process is similar for surviving spouses and other VA homebuyers. Remember that each lender may have slightly different procedures or requirements, so asking questions along the way is essential.
As previously mentioned, surviving spouses must clearly understand how to use their VA home loan advantages, such as no required down payment, private mortgage insurance, and limited closing costs.
In addition to these benefits, the survivor is exempt from paying the VA funding fee, a percentage of the loan amount typically required on VA loans. This exemption can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
If you struggle with your mortgage payments at any point, the VA offers financial counseling services that can help negotiate repayment plans, loan modifications, and other alternatives to foreclosure.
The homeownership journey can be less stressful for surviving spouses of veterans, thanks to the VA home loan program. Backed by VA, the program offers numerous benefits to the spouses. As a surviving spouse, you must meet specific criteria to help you navigate the process quickly and confidently.
While the path may seem complex at first glance, I can attest that securing a home for yourself and your family is possible with the correct information and guidance. So take that first step, check your eligibility, and explore how to utilize these benefits tailored just for you.
Yes, you can get a VA loan if your deceased husband was a Veteran. A surviving spouse may be eligible for a VA loan under certain conditions, such as not remarrying. Your partner must have died while serving or from injuries related to their service.
A surviving spouse is eligible for VA benefits. These benefits extend beyond the VA home loan and include Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), Survivor’s Pension, education assistance, and more. The specific eligibility criteria vary for each benefit.
Yes, the VA funding fee is waived for a surviving spouse. This means that the survivor applying for a VA loan will not be required to pay this fee which can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.