If you’re a military service member or veteran looking to purchase a home, you’re likely…
If you’re a veteran or active service member who has already used your VA loan, you may wonder if you can use your VA loan benefits more than once. There are certain scenarios where you aren’t allowed to use your VA loan benefits to purchase a property, but if you’re looking for a way to finance a new primary residence, there is no limit to the amount of times you can use your VA loan benefits. In this article, we’ll talk more about the specific rules and guidelines surrounding VA home loans.
Can I Purchase a Second Home Using my VA Loan?
The term “second home”, when it comes to mortgages and lending, is usually used to describe a vacation home in addition to one’s primary residence, which does not qualify as a type of property that you can buy using a VA home loan. If you’re planning to purchase a mountain or beach house with a VA loan, think again. However, if you are looking to purchase a “second primary residence” with a VA home loan, you can use your VA loan if you have enough income and entitlement to qualify. A secondary primary residence is a place that you reside in for more than six months out of the year.
Can VA Home Loans be Used to Finance Investment Properties?
VA home loans cannot be used to purchase investment properties, but there are some workarounds to that rule if you are interested in having an investment property. You can turn your current home into an investment property and use a VA home loan to finance your new primary residence. VA home loans can also be used to purchase multiple unit properties, so long as one of the units qualifies as your primary residence. The rest of the units can be rented out.
How Many Times Can I Use My VA Loan?
If you meet eligibility criteria, you can use your VA loan benefits as much as you want. Here are some examples of how you can use your VA loan multiple times:
- If you sell your first home and pay off the remainder of your existing VA loan, you’ll be able to either restore your entitlement or take your remaining entitlement and purchase a new home using your VA home loan for a second time.
- If you keep your first home and purchase a second home using whatever remaining entitlement you have, you can have two VA loans at the same time.
VA Loan Eligibility Requirements And Entitlement
In order to secure a VA home loan, you must meet the following criteria:
- Serve 90 consecutive days on active duty during wartime, or
- Serve 181 days on active duty during peacetime, or
- Serve 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard, or
- Be the surviving spouse of a service member who died while serving or due to a service-connected disability.
If you served less than the requirement with a discharge other than dishonorable, you still might be eligible. You can request a lender pull your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to determine your status.
If you are a veteran or active duty service member (or a surviving spouse), and you have full entitlement, you won’t be subject to the loan limit. However, it can be a bit confusing in some cases to know whether or not you have full entitlement.
If you’ve never used your VA home loan benefits before, you likely have full entitlement. If you’ve owned a home using a prior VA home loan, it can be a bit trickier. Two instances where you are likely still eligible for full entitlement include:
- If you’ve paid off a previous VA loan and sold the property attached to the loan.
- If you’ve had a foreclosure on a VA loan in the past but you’ve paid it in full.
How to Restore Your VA Loan Eligibility
If you’re looking to use your VA loan entitlement to purchase a new home, you need to restore your entitlement benefit. It’s common for veterans to think this process is automatic, but you actually have to initiate this process. In order to be eligible for restoration, you must do one of the following:
- Sold the home you bought with a VA loan and paid off the mortgage.
- Repaid your loan in full and still own the home.
- Another qualified veteran assumes your loan and replaces their entitlement with yours.
VA Home Loans with Finance of America Mortgage
Do you have questions about loan restoration, using your loan benefits more than once, or other aspects of buying a home with your VA mortgage benefits? Our team of loan professionals can guide you through each step. From getting pre-approved to signing closing papers, our experts at Finance of America Mortgage are here to help you meet your home buying goals. Get in touch with us today.