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VA Loans in Jefferson County, Florida: Take Advantage of the Zero Down Payment

The VA loan program is an initiative of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This zero-down mortgage option is available to service members, veterans, and selected surviving military spouses. Private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies, are responsible for issuing VA loans to essential community members in Jefferson County, Florida.

The US government created the VA Home Loan program in 1944 to enable returning members and war veterans to acquire homes. The VA loan allows these critical workers to become homeowners without making a downpayment or having excellent credit.

More than 25 million Veteran Affairs Home Loans have been disbursed to eligible active-duty military members, their families, and veterans. This historic program has seen many essential workers buy or refinance homes in Jefferson County, Florida, without much struggle.

The VA Home Loans program's significant aspect is increasing exponentially as more veterans, service members, and surviving spouses reap its benefits. This positive change was realized at the height of the Great Recession and during the recent 2020 global pandemic that proved difficult for military and veteran buyers to benefit from home financing.

The two incidents forced lenders to develop tight guidelines that excluded scores of essential members of society from financing their homes. Luckily, the VA loans program has provided a lasting solution to active military and veteran homebuyers with higher down payment and credit score requirements.

Unlike other types of loans, VA Home Loans are not cumbersome or difficult to get if you meet all the requirements. VA loans are considered a specialized type of loan product accessible to military and veteran homebuyers in Jefferson County and the rest of Florida.

Compared to conventional loans with up to 20% down, VA loans have 0% down home loans. Also, VA loans do not require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), have the lowest fixed interest rate, and are easier to qualify for.

Read through this comprehensive VA Home Loan program guide for Jefferson County, Florida, to get a clear picture of what to expect should you apply for this loan.

What are the Different Types of VA Loans in Jefferson County, Florida?

VA Home Loan programs have many benefits for eligible essential members of society such as war veterans, surviving spouses, and active service members. The loans provide powerful financing options for those looking to acquire homes and property.

Below are different types of VA loans that you should expect when applying for your home financing option:

Veteran Affairs Purchase Loan

Regarding the VA Purchase Loan, service members and veterans can acquire newly built or existing homes with a 0% down payment. This VA loan allows you to purchase a single-family home, a manufactured home, a condominium, new construction, and even multi-unit properties such as duplexes, triplexes, or fourplexes in Jefferson County Florida.

However, guidelines and policies for VA Purchase Loans can vary from one lender to another. Check with your respective lenders to familiarize yourself with their policies and conditions before applying for this type of VA Home Loan.

Veteran Affairs Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (VA IRRRL)

VA IRRRL is one of the most popular types of VA Home Loans that most veteran and active service members prefer. The VA IRRRL is set aside for veterans who already have a VA loan to help them realize their full home financial benefits.

This type of VA Home Loan is also referred to as VA Streamlines because it is a simple, low-cost refinance home loan program that does not require income verification, an appraisal, or credit underwriting.

Veteran Affairs Cash-Out Refinance

The VA Cash-Out Refinance type of VA Home Loan allows you to refinance your mortgage. It also enables you to take out cash from your home's equity. Typically, this VA Loan is open to qualified homeowners with or without current VA loans. So, if you are qualified, the VA Cash-Out Refinance loan will help you refinance up to 90% of your home's actual value.

Loan-to-value requirements and lending guidelines may also vary among lenders dealing with VA Cash-Out Refinance. Eligible veterans and service members with non-VA mortgages may use this VA Home Loan option as their basic rate-and-term refinance to their advantage.

Veteran Affairs Energy Efficient Mortgage

As a veteran or active service member, the VA Home Loan program allows you to borrow more money to finance your energy efficiency improvements features on your home. Usually, this additional money is considered part of your home refinance or home purchase, where the VA Energy Efficient Mortgage comes in to save the situation.

The VA Energy Efficient Mortgage enables you to finance up to $6000. This money covers the total cost of all qualified home improvements such as heat pumps, storm windows, thermal windows, solar heating systems, and solar cooling systems.

The bad news is that you, as a homeowner, cannot use this type of VA Home Loan to buy appliances, non-permanent additions, and window air conditioning units.

Who is Eligible for VA Loans in Jefferson County, Florida?

Eligibility requirements for the VA Home Loan programs are as easy as taking a walk in the park. The eligibility for this loan requires one to be a veteran, an active service member, or a surviving spouse.

In this regard, you must fulfill all the minimum service requirements proposed by the Department of the Veterans Affairs.

Most importantly, you must satisfy the lender's income and credit score requirements. At the same time, you should be a holder of a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

VA Home Loan Qualifications

You are eligible for the VA Loan if you meet one or more of these requirements:

  • Spent a total of 90 consecutive days (approximately three months) providing active services during wartime

  • Spend at least 181 days (approximately six months) of your active service during peacetime

  • Spent about six years of your service in the Reserves or National Guard

  • You are the surviving spouse of a military service member who may have died in the line of duty or had a service-related disability.

Should you fail to meet all basic service requirements needed to qualify for a VA loan, that does not imply that it is the end of the road for you. You can still qualify anyway.

In this case, your eligibility will depend solely on the discharge type. With that being said, your discharge types should fall into one of these categories to be considered for a VA Home Loan program:

  • Discharged for hardship, reduction in force, or at the government's convenience

  • Discharged for service-related disability or a medical condition

  • Discharged due to an early out after serving for at least 21 months of your two-year enlistment.

If you are unsure of your VA Loan eligibility status, you can reach out to a VA lender in Jefferson County to find out where you belong.

Verification of Your VA Home Loan Eligibility Status

Your VA Home Loan lender will ask for your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to check if you meet the minimum requirements. Your COE is a confirmation document that states your Veteran Affairs Home Loan benefits eligibility.

Your eligibility status confirmation is a straightforward step, given that your lender will need your date of birth and social security number to pull your COE.

Under certain circumstances, the eligibility process may become complicated, especially where COE is missing. You can obtain your COE for a VA Home Loan using these three simple ways:

  • Submitting your application through the VA Loan approved lender

  • Applying online via the VA's eBenefits portal

  • Applying by mail using VA Form 26-1880

Once you have submitted your application through one of the channels listed above, you should look forward to receiving your COE request electronically. About two-thirds of 65% of applicants receive positive feedback immediately.

Additional documentation that may be required is DD Form 214 for the regular military or NGB Form-22 and NGB Form-23 for Reserves and National Guards.

Surviving Spouse VA Loan Eligibility

Like the veterans and active service members, the surviving spouses will need a Certificate Of Eligibility. The COE will help verify spouses' eligibility and utilization of their VA Home Loan benefits. However, surviving spouses to get their COEs, they must be under Dependency &Indemnity Compensation benefits.

Once they have proven that they are receiving Dependency & Indemnity Compensation, the surviving spouses will have to fill out VA Loan Form 26-1817, requesting for determination of their Loan Guaranty Eligibility, especially the unmarried surviving spouses.

After filling out the VA Form 26-1817, these spouses will obtain copies of DD Form 214 (veteran's separation paperwork).

The surviving spouses not benefiting from Dependency & Indemnity Compensation will need to apply for their VA Home Loan through VA Form 21P-534EZ and submit it to the state of Florida's VA Pension Management Center.

On top of that, individual surviving spouses will have to submit a copy of their marriage license, veteran's separation paperwork, and DD Form 1300-Report of Casualty (Veteran's death certificate).

Veteran Affairs Lender Requirements

As a potential VA Home Loan program beneficiary, you must fulfill your VA lender's requirements. Remember that these are private lenders whose main task is financing your home. So, you should expect them to have their own sets of additional requirements besides those provided by the VA, which only determines the laid-down guidelines for your VA Home Loan eligibility.

A private lender's requirements may include sufficient reliable income that will enable you to repay the loan quickly. Your credit score and acceptable debt levels are additional requirements that your private lender may expect you to meet before processing your VA loan.

Military father holding his lovely daughter in front of their new house

How Do I Apply for VA Loans in Jefferson County, Florida?

To begin with, you need to be either a service member, a veteran, or a surviving spouse to apply for the VA loan. The whole application process is easy and timeless, meaning that you stand an excellent chance to get your VA Home Loan during the loan pre-approval process or the first step, and this is excellent news.

Typically, the VA loan process lasts between 30 and 45 days once you are under a contract for a home or property. Check out these three basic steps that you need to follow when applying for your VA Home Loan:

  • Contact a private lender

  • Verify your VA Home Loan eligibility by obtaining your COE

  • Complete your VA Home Loan application process

What is the VA Loan Limit in Jefferson County, Florida?

If you are a qualified veteran, surviving spouse, or active service member, you can borrow as much as your private lender can offer. This is possible only when you have a full VA Home Loan entitlement.

But, there are limitations to the VA loan. These loan limits come into play only for home buyers with less than their full VA loan entitlement. Such cases arise where borrowers have one or several active VA loans at the same time due to a loss in their foreclosure.

Therefore, your VA Loan Limit in Jefferson, Florida, for a single unit of the small family room stands at $510,400. Ask your respective lenders for duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes VA loan limits.

Can I Use VA Loan More Than Once?

Absolutely yes! A VA Home Loan is not just a one-time mortgage option because you can use it as much as possible provided that you fulfill all the requirements. Once you have your VA Home Loan benefit, rest assured that it is yours for life.

This means you can use and reuse it over a long period. Additionally, getting more than one active VA Home loan benefit is possible simultaneously.

What is VA Funding Fee?

The VA Funding Fee was introduced to ensure that the VA Loan program runs to help future generations of active military personnel and veteran home buyers become homeowners. Besides, the VA Funding Fee comes in handy to remove any burdens that may pull down veterans and taxpayers.

This fee varies depending on your circumstance. For instance, first-time borrowers are subjected to a 2.3% home buying price, while subsequent users of VA loan benefits are required to pay a funding fee of about 2.3% of their purchase price.

What are the Overall Benefits of a VA Loan in Jefferson County, Florida?

Countless benefits come with VA Home loans for active military members, veterans, and surviving spouses. Some of these VA loan benefits include:

  • Zero percent down payment
  • Absence of private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Relaxed credit requirements
  • Limited closing costs
  • Lifetime benefit
  • No pre-payment penalties
  • Avoidance of foreclosure
  • The VA Home Loan appraisal
  • Acceptable income
  • Different VA Loan types to choose from
  • No VA Home Loan limits
  • Funding fee exemptions
  • VA Home Loan assumability

What are the Top 5 Things To Do in Jefferson County, Florida?

Jefferson County in the Sunshine State stretches from the State of Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico, making it a perfect location for veterans to spend the rest of their lives. Commonly referred to as Florida's Keystone County, Jefferson County can easily be accessed by Interstate 10, the Florida-Georgia Parkway, and several major roads.

Monticello is its small but quiet and relaxing community surrounded by pristine rivers, streams, fishing, and hunting preserves. The county also boasts plantations and vast woodlands that provide a spectacular yet unique identity to the entire community.

As a veteran, you may spend your free time taking part in the following activities:

  • Canoeing and kayaking in rivers and streams

  • Bird watching in the woodlands

  • Horse riding to keep yourself fit and as part of your pastime

  • Taking your family for camping or countryside adventures in RV parks

  • An occasional visit to Monticello Opera House, a historic landmark that hosts numerous year-long parades of musicals and plays

Final Thought

By comparison, VA Home Loans are easy to obtain since they don't have many requirements. The loans come with more benefits, including a 0% down payment, flexible yet simple credit guidelines, no mortgage insurance, and the lowest average fixed interest rates you can think of.

Additionally, these loans are arguably the most powerful mortgage option for veterans, active military members, and their surviving spouses with the proper qualification. With these loans, your situation as a veteran will change for the better in many years.

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.

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