Program Description

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loan Guaranty program may be able to help eligible Servicemembers, Veterans, Reservists, National Guard members, and certain surviving spouses buy, keep, or adapt a home. It may also be able to help you refinance your loan.

Visit the Home Loans page to learn more.

General Program Requirements

VA does not have the authority to take a second-lien position on a property. In the case of disaster, the Secretary may guarantee a loan whether or not it is subordinate to a higher lien through a public entity providing disaster assistance.

You may qualify for a VA-guaranteed loan if you are a(n):

  • Eligible Veteran or Servicemember.
  • Current Reserve or National Guard member (after 6 years of creditable service).
  • Certain surviving spouse.

Commissioned Officers of the Public Health Service (PHS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) qualify as active duty members and Veterans once discharged.

You or your spouse must certify occupancy for the property. A dependent child of an active duty Servicemember may also satisfy the occupancy requirement.

Length-of-service requirements may apply.

To get VA benefits, your discharge or service must be under honorable conditions; Reserve and National Guard members must have an honorable discharge.

Sometimes those with other than honorable, undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify for VA benefits. This depends on a determination by VA. You can review the eligibility page to learn more.

Loan Terms:

Under the VA-guaranteed Home Loan program, VA does not make the loan to you. Private-sector lenders make the loans. The guaranty amount is what VA would pay a lender should your loan go into foreclosure, deed-in-lieu, or short-sale.

Currently, there is no maximum loan amount, only a maximum guaranty amount, set by law. Due to secondary market requirements, lenders may require that the VA guaranty, plus any down payment made by you, total 25 percent of the loan amount. This means the "loan limit" is an amount equal to four times VA's maximum guaranty.

Starting January 1, 2020, the cap on VA no-down-payment loans will be waived in certain circumstances. You may get a no-down-payment, VA-backed loan  in any area of the country, regardless of home prices.

Please visit Blue Water Navy Veterans and Your Home Loan Benefits for more information on recent changes to the program.

  • Loans for the loan limit or less may be available with no down payment.
  • Loans for more than the loan limit may require a down payment.

VA's maximum guaranty amounts are set annually. The amounts may vary depending on the size of the loan and location of the property.

Application Process

To apply, you will need a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE). There are several ways to get one:

  • You may be able to get a COE through eBenefits.
  • If you're not able to get your COE through eBenefits, check with your lender. In most cases, they will be able to get a COE for you using the Automated Certificate of Eligibility (ACE) program.
Last Updated: 01/22/2020