Understanding VA Loan Spouse Requirements in Florida
Florida, known for its vibrant military community and stunning landscapes, offers eligible veterans and service members a multitude of benefits through VA loans. These loans provide an incredible opportunity to secure a mortgage with lower interest rates and eliminate the need for a down payment.
However, if you're a qualified service member or veteran in Florida looking to include your civilian spouse in the VA loan process, there are important considerations to keep in mind.
In this article, we'll delve into the VA loan spouse requirements specific to Florida, ensuring you're well-informed before embarking on your VA loan journey in the Sunshine State.
Table of Contents
- Can a service member’s spouse get a VA loan?
- What are the VA loan requirements for a surviving spouse?
- How can divorce affect a VA loan?
- Does your spouse’s credit score affect your VA loan?
- Can a non-spouse be on the title on a VA loan?
- Is a surviving spouse exempt from VA funding fee?
- The Bottom Line
Can A Service Member’s Spouse Get A VA Loan?
Qualifying for a VA loan in Florida with a civilian spouse is an option worth exploring. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) allows spouses of active duty or former service members to participate in the VA loan process as co-signers or co-borrowers.
In certain cases, surviving spouses may even be eligible to apply for a VA loan independently. This is fantastic news considering the numerous benefits associated with VA home loans, including fewer restrictions and no down payment requirement.
When a military spouse becomes a co-signer on the mortgage, their income and credit standing become crucial factors in determining the loan details.
If the civilian spouse boasts a high income and an excellent credit rating, it can positively impact the service member's ability to qualify for a larger loan amount or secure more favorable interest rates.
Conversely, if the military spouse has a poor credit score, it could result in higher interest rates.
It's important to assess your credit score and income before officially applying for a VA loan. If your credit score is low, it might be wise to delay your application until you can improve your financial standing.
By taking a proactive approach to strengthen your creditworthiness, you can enhance your chances of obtaining a VA loan in Florida and enjoying its exceptional benefits.
VA Loan Requirements For A Surviving Spouse
The borrowing landscape for surviving spouses pursuing a VA loan in Florida underwent a significant change with the implementation of the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.
Prior to this act, it was required for military members to have passed away due to military-related causes in order for their spouses to be eligible for a VA loan.
However, the 2012 act expanded the eligibility criteria for surviving spouses, allowing them to apply for a VA loan in the following situations:
If your spouse was eligible for or received Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
If your spouse died in service or due to a service-related disability, and you remarried at the age of 57 or older after December 31, 2003.
If your spouse was missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW) for a minimum of 90 days (this provision can be utilized once).
If your spouse was rated totally disabled from their service for a qualifying duration and passed away due to unrelated causes.
- If your spouse died while on active duty or due to a service-related issue, and you did not remarry after their death.
These expanded provisions offer greater opportunities for surviving spouses in Florida to access VA loans, ensuring they can benefit from the advantages and support provided by these government-backed loans.
In order to determine your eligibility as a surviving spouse for a VA loan in Florida, it's essential to understand that the specific requirements may vary depending on the type of VA loan you are seeking. If you believe you meet the criteria as a surviving spouse, the first step is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
The COE serves as official verification of your eligibility as a surviving spouse and informs your lender that you qualify for a VA loan.
You have the option to apply for your COE online through the appropriate channels or seek assistance from your lender who can guide you through the process of requesting the certificate of eligibility.
By obtaining the COE, you establish your eligibility as a surviving spouse and demonstrate to lenders in Florida that you meet the necessary qualifications for a VA loan.
This crucial step helps streamline the loan application process and ensures that you can take full advantage of the benefits and opportunities offered by a VA loan in the Sunshine State.
How Can Divorce Affect A VA Loan?
The primary objective of a VA loan in Florida is to assist veterans in achieving their dream of homeownership. However, it's important to note that VA loans come with strict occupancy requirements that may not be applicable to most other types of mortgages.
When it comes to ex-spouses of service members, it's crucial to understand that they are not eligible for a new VA loan. This is a straightforward rule that applies universally. However, if you and your former spouse are both co-signers on the same VA loan, the situation becomes more complex.
In the event of a divorce, if the civilian spouse was a co-signer on the loan, they have the option to remain in the home. On the other hand, if the civilian spouse was not a co-signer, they can only stay in the home if they assume the existing mortgage or choose to refinance it.
Additionally, if the civilian spouse retains ownership of the home along with the mortgage, there are implications for the VA entitlement.
The service member will not be able to restore their entitlement until their ex-spouse either refinances the loan or pays off the existing VA loan.
Navigating post-divorce finances is never easy, and the inclusion of a VA loan adds further complexity to the situation.
It's crucial to consider all the implications and seek professional guidance to ensure a smooth transition and proper understanding of the financial responsibilities associated with a VA loan in Florida.
Does your spouse’s credit score affect your VA loan?
In many states, if your spouse is not listed as a co-borrower on the loan, lenders typically won't take their credit score into account during the approval process. However, if you decide to add your spouse as a co-borrower, their credit score will indeed affect your VA loan application.
It's important to note that VA loans are considered non-conforming loans, and although the VA itself does not impose minimum credit score requirements, individual lenders do have their own guidelines. For example, MakeFloridaYourHome® requires a minimum median FICO® Score of 580 for VA loan applicants.
If your spouse has a low credit score, adding them as a co-borrower on the VA loan could potentially impact your chances of approval.
Lenders assess the creditworthiness of all borrowers involved, and a poor credit score from one spouse could raise concerns for the lender, potentially affecting the overall loan approval process.
When considering a VA loan in Florida, understanding the role of your spouse's credit score is crucial. While some states may not consider your spouse's credit score if they are not a co-borrower, adding them to the loan can have implications on your approval chances.
Given that VA loans are non-conforming and lenders set their own credit score requirements, it's important to be aware of these factors and discuss them with your lender to make informed decisions throughout the loan application process.
Can a non-spouse be on the title on a VA loan?
While technically permitted, including a non-spouse on the title of a VA loan in Florida is subject to lender-specific policies. It is important to note that many lenders do not accept non-spouses as co-borrowers.
To avoid any complications or surprises, it is highly recommended to communicate with your lender and gain a clear understanding of their guidelines regarding non-spouse co-borrowers before proceeding with the mortgage application process.
By doing so, you can make well-informed decisions that align with your lender's policies and requirements.
Considering the varying policies among lenders, it is essential to proactively communicate with your lender before making any decisions regarding the inclusion of a non-spouse on the mortgage application.
By reaching out to your lender and discussing their specific guidelines, you can gain clarity on whether they allow non-spouses to be added as co-borrowers.
By doing so, you can make an informed decision regarding the inclusion of a non-spouse on the title of your VA loan, ensuring compliance with your lender's requirements and avoiding any potential issues during the loan application process.
Is a surviving spouse exempt from VA funding fee?
One common question that often arises among individuals considering a VA loan is whether surviving spouses are exempt from the VA funding fee.
The VA funding fee is a one-time fee paid to the Department of Veterans Affairs to help sustain the VA loan program and ensure its continued availability to eligible individuals.
While the funding fee is typically required for most VA loan applicants, there are specific circumstances where surviving spouses can be eligible for a VA funding fee exemption.
The exemption from the VA funding fee applies to eligible military service members, veterans, and surviving spouses who have a VA-approved disability related to their military service.
This means that if the surviving spouse has a documented disability that has been approved by the VA and is directly linked to their late spouse's military service, they may qualify for an exemption from the funding fee.
It's important to note that the exemption is contingent upon having a VA-approved disability. This implies that the disability must meet the specific criteria set forth by the VA and undergo a thorough evaluation process.
The VA determines the disability rating based on the severity and impact of the condition on the individual's daily life. Once the disability has been approved, the surviving spouse can provide the necessary documentation to demonstrate their eligibility for the funding fee exemption.
Obtaining a VA funding fee exemption as a surviving spouse can be a significant advantage, as it helps reduce the financial burden associated with securing a VA loan.
The exemption effectively eliminates the need to pay the funding fee, which can save a considerable amount of money upfront.
To determine eligibility for the VA funding fee exemption, it's crucial to consult with a VA lender who can guide you through the process and help you understand the specific requirements.
They will assist you in gathering the necessary documentation, such as the VA disability approval letter and any other supporting evidence required to support your claim for exemption.
The Bottom Line
Navigating the VA loan spouse requirements is essential for military spouses looking to achieve their dream of homeownership. By understanding the specific criteria and considerations, you can make informed decisions throughout the home buying process.
If you're ready to embark on your home search in Florida, consider applying for a VA loan with MakeFloridaYourHome.
With their expertise and commitment to serving veterans and their spouses, MakeFloridaYourHome can guide you through the application process and help you secure the benefits and advantages of a VA loan.
Take the first step towards homeownership by exploring your options with MakeFloridaYourHome and making your homebuying journey as smooth as possible.
With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.
About Author - Phil Ganz
Phil Ganz has over 20+ years of experience in the residential financing space. With over a billion dollars of funded loans, Phil helps homebuyers configure the perfect mortgage plan. Whether it's your first home, a complex multiple-property purchase, or anything in between, Phil has the experience to help you achieve your goals.