Florida VA mortgages are guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are available to qualified veterans to purchase a primary residence. The VA does not lend money directly, but backs loans made by private lenders to veterans who qualify. Qualified veterans include people who served during wars and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, service members currently on active duty, certain National Guard and Reserve members, and some spouses of veterans.

To be eligible for a Florida VA mortgage, you need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), available from the VA. Your entitlement is a lifetime benefit – even if you’ve already had a VA loan, you can restore it to purchase another home if you’ve paid off the previous loan in full or your other mortgage was assumed by a qualified veteran. If you’re a qualified veteran who is planning to purchase a home using your VA home loan entitlement, here are some things you should remember:

  • Owner occupancy: The VA home loan program is intended to provide veterans with homes. That means you (or your spouse) is required to occupy the property within 60 days of closing. If you think that may be a problem, because of deployment, contract work, or other commitments, you need to discuss it with your lender as soon as possible.
  • New construction: You can use a VA loan to pay to build a new home, but it can be complicated. Most lenders don’t like to finance new construction because of the risks involved. Typically you’ll need to find a homebuilder that will provide you with a short-term construction loan, which you will eventually refinance into a VA home loan. You also can’t borrow additional funds to make renovations or upgrades. The VA loan will be for the appraised price or the purchase price, whichever is lower.
  • Keep your finances in shape: As already noted, lenders dislike risk. So they’ll want to see reliable, steady income with a consistent history of paying bills on time. Late mortgage or even rent payments (30 days or more) within the last year are going to raise red flags. If you’re self-employed or work in a family business, you’ll need two years of tax returns to substantiate income. Child support can be counted as income as long as the lender judges that it is likely to continue. Of course, if you’re paying child support, those payments will be figured into your debt-to-income ratio and residual requirements (see part 2 of this series for more information on these requirements).
  • Don’t derail the process: Once you’re under contract for your new home, any big changes can upset the process. Job changes, large purchases like cars or boats, or major credit card purchases like furniture or appliances could cause your lender to reassess your credit profile or assets, and you could lose your loan.

Interested in a Florida VA Mortgage?

VA guaranteed loans are an excellent way to finance a home purchase, frequently offering higher loan amounts along with lower interest rates, closing costs, and fees. PLease browse our website for more information on Florida VA mortgages, and review parts 1 and 2 of this three-part series. For help in using your VA loan entitlement, call us today at 407-733-6425.

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