VA loans are a great option for National Guard members looking to purchase a home. These loans offer some of the most competitive loan terms available in the market, including 100% financing with no down payment required, lower closing costs and more lenient qualification requirements than other traditional mortgage loan options. Thanks to their backing, National Guard VA loans often come with lower interest rates than conventional loans. In this article, I’ll explore the benefits and eligibility requirements Air & Army National Guard members should consider before applying for a VA loan.
What Benefits Are Included With VA Loans For National Guard Members?
In addition to providing a way for National Guard members to buy a home with more favorable terms than standard mortgages, VA loans also come with additional benefits. These include:
No down payment
This makes it easier for National Guard members to buy a home without having to save up for a large down payment.
No private mortgage insurance
VA loans do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can save borrowers hundreds of dollars each month and thousands over the life of their loan. This VA loan benefit is a huge financial advantage for members of the National Guard.
Flexible credit requirements
VA home loans make it easier for National Guard members to qualify even if they have less-than-perfect credit. As the National Guard are important to our national defense, lenders are more likely to consider their unique circumstances when evaluating VA-guaranteed loans.
No prepayment penalty
Borrowers can pay off their loans early without fear of incurring any penalties These benefits make VA loans a great option for National Guard members looking to buy a home, as they can help them save money and secure a mortgage on more favorable terms than other loan types. By providing proof of eligibility and furnishing the necessary documents, National Guard members can easily qualify for a VA loan.
What are the Eligibility Requirements for a National Guard Member to Get a VA Loan?
To be eligible for a VA loan, National Guard members must meet service requirements in the Army or Air National Guard and either be still be serving or honorably discharged. Members may qualify for eligibility under more than one of the scenarios below. To verify your eligibility for a VA loan, you must obtain a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Six Years of Service
Air or Army National Guard members who serve as a drill-status guardsman (DSG), traditional or M-DAY must have at least six years of qualifying service for a VA loan. Members must show a minimum of sixteen points per year to be eligible and are not eligible until they have reached their six year mark. If you’ve been mobilized for deployment (Title 10) or been called to state active duty (Title 32), you may also qualify based on the criteria below, without having served the full six years.
Title 10 Orders
National Guard members who’ve served a minimum of 90 days of active duty service while on Title 10 (federal) orders are eligible for a VA home loan. Unfortunately, your basic training and AFSC or AIT schooling does not count towards this active duty service requirement. Title 10 orders typically are when a service member is activated for deployment mobilization.
Title 32 Orders
On January 5th, 2021, then President Donald Trump, signed legislation into law allowing National Guard members who’ve served at least 90 days of qualifying Title 32 active duty service to be eligible for a VA loan. The 90 day requirement must include at least 30 days of continuous Title 32 service. Eligible sections under Title 32 include 316, 502, 503, 504 or 505 of federal law. Many members now qualify under section 502f after supporting their state’s COVID-19 missions. Annual training (AT) days count towards the 90 day requirement for Title 32 under section 503.
Overall, the eligibility requirements for National Guard members to get a VA loan are not significantly different from those required for active duty. National Guard members must also meet all other VA loan requirements, including income and credit qualifications.
What are the Document Requirements for a VA Loan?
When applying for a VA loan, National Guard members must provide documentation to prove their eligibility. The documents required will vary depending on the individual’s service history and circumstances but generally include proof of service such as form DD-214 or other discharge papers, an honorable discharge certificate, pay stubs and tax returns. Here’s a general overview of the documents typically required for a VA loan, though it’s important to note that this list can vary based on your individual circumstances:
- Proof of service for verification of VA loan eligibility
- Form DD-214 – Official certified copy showing dates of Title 10 federal service
- NGB-22/23 – National Guard Bureau separation report or retirement points summary
- AF Form 526 – Air National Guard retirement points summary
- 30 Days most recent pay stubs – needed to show proof of stable income and include year-to-date earnings
- Most recent two years of W2s and/or 1099s
- Tax returns – Last two years for self-employed borrowers or those receiving 1099 income
In addition to the documents listed above, some lenders may require additional paperwork, such as proof of assets or bank statements. It’s important to check with the lender beforehand so that all required documentation is available before submitting a loan application.
How Do I Apply for a VA Loan?
If you are a National Guard member looking to buy a home, then applying for a VA loan is easy. Applying for a VA loan is generally easier than applying for other types of mortgages and can be done in just a few steps: First, contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to determine your eligibility and to receive your VA Certificate of Eligibility. Once you have done this, you can search for lenders offering VA loans. Next, compare different loan options and choose one that best fits your needs. After selecting a lender, fill out the application and provide all necessary paperwork, such as income documents, bank statements, etc. Finally, submit your application and wait for your preapproval.
Once preapproved, you can begin looking at home and work with the lender to finalize the loan process once an offer has been accepted on a home. As the expanded VA loan eligibility guidelines make it easier for National Guard members to qualify, getting approved is usually a straightforward process.
Applying for a VA loan is a great option for National Guard members looking to buy a home. With no down payment or PMI requirements, flexible credit terms and no prepayment penalty, these loans can provide more favorable terms than other types of mortgages. With the right steps, National Guard members can find the perfect loan for their needs and start on the path towards home ownership.