How VA Home Loans Improved Recently
According to Real estate experts, VA home loans are the best government loans available due to their incredible benefits, government guarantee, and money-saving opportunities. However, VA loans did not begin in their current state; that is a direct result of the 77-year history of continuous updates and expansions through several administrations.
The first significant update to take place was the Veterans Housing Act of 1970, which President Richard Nixon signed into law, made it possible for veterans to take advantage of VA loans more than two years after they finish their service. Eight years later, President Jimmy Carter signed the Veterans Housing Benefits Improvement Act of 1978, which increased the number of eligible applicants.
These updates and many other smaller ones have improved VA home loans over time and adapted them to the needs of veterans in more modern days. Thankfully the updates have not stopped, and the latest one of these major updates has improved VA home loans by making changes to the VA county loan limits and closing costs.
The Bluewater Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019
Signed into law on June 15, 2019, by former President Donald Trump, the law’s primary goal was to increase the medical benefits for Vietnam War veterans who might have been exposed to dangerous chemicals during their deployment. This includes internationally recognized chemical weapons like Agent Orange or Mustard Gas.
In addition to these changes, the act also made the previously stated changes which have made a significant improvement on VA home loans. Changes made by the new law have led to an 11.4% increased usage of VA home loans in 2020 compared to 2019.
Funding Fee Changes
The funding fee is paid by VA loan borrowers to reduce the costs of VA benefits to the American taxpayer which because of this law saw an increase from 0.15% to 0.30% for veterans and active duty service members. At the same time, the funding fee was reduced by an equivalent amount for members of the National Guard and reservists.
There are, however, some groups of applicants that were not affected by the new law. This includes veterans with service-related disabilities who already enjoyed an exemption for paying the VA funding fee.
Loan Limit Changes
Perhaps the biggest change made to VA loans by this new law is the removal of loan limits for first-time VA home loan borrowers. This is significant because it allows borrowers to buy a home anywhere in the country without having to follow VA county loan limits.
Although, it is important to know that the borrower will have to follow county limits set up by individual qualified lenders. At the moment, VA Home Loan Centers has lenders who have a $5 million loan limit for eligible applicants, meaning that it is possible to borrow that much without making a down payment.
In addition to removing loan limits for first-time borrowers, the law also removed loan limits for Native American Veterans who are taking out a loan to purchase a home or build a home on Federal Trust Land.
There are limitations to these loan limit removals with borrowers who have more than one active VA home loan still having to adhere to county loan limits which in most low-cost counties is set at $548,250.
Since their founding, VA home loans have helped more than 25 million veterans become homeowners. Hopefully, with these latest updates more eligible applicants will take advantage of their VA benefits and buy a home for little to no money down. In addition, VA loans and their constant upgrades show the U.S. Government’s commitment to rewarding current and former service members for their service.
Phil Georgiades is the CLS for VA Home Loan Centers, a government-sponsored brokerage specializing in VA loans. He has more than 22 years of experience working in the real estate industry. For more information about VA home loans or apply for a VA mortgage loan, call us at (877) 432-5626.