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

Veterans, service members, and eligible spouses leverage VA loans to buy a home. The zero downpayment mortgage option offers multiple financial benefits for qualified borrowers. The US government created VA home loans to enable service members to purchase homes without needing excellent credit.

Before these loans, Veterans experienced difficulty saving for the required down payments on standard mortgages. During the 2020 global pandemic, many lenders introduced stricter guidelines making it difficult for Veterans to get home financing. VA loans provided a lifeline for Veterans with flexible policies that eased home ownership.

The historic program was also invaluable for Veterans looking to own homes after the Great Recession. Service members and military families no longer worry about the stringent down payment and credit score requirements.

Since its inception, the number of Veterans and service members with access to homeownership has increased considerably. The VA home loans offer numerous benefits, from zero downpayments to no Private Mortgage Insurance requirements. These government-backed loans are also available with competitive interest rates.

Unlike other mortgage options, VA loans are less cumbersome. The specialized loan product ensures that Veterans can make the most out of the multiple financial benefits. This VA loan guide offers the information you need to easily find your way through VA home purchase.

Diverse VA loan Offers

VA loans offer viable financing options for Veterans. Depending on your needs, you can settle for a VA loan that suits you. Top VA loan offers include:

VA Purchase Loans

Do you need to purchase a new home? The VA purchase loans let you buy new or existing homes without spending any money. Essentially, you could purchase condominiums, multiunit properties, and manufactured homes. The VA can also offer approval for service members who buy new constructions.

VA Cash-Out Refinance

Have you built sufficient equity on your home? Consider signing up for the VA cash-out refinance that lets you take cash from your equity. The VA Cash-Out Refinance lets you refinance up to 90% of your home's value. Veterans and qualified service members can leverage this loan whether or not they have an existing VA loan.


Most Veterans choose to leverage the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), especially when they are short on cash. These loans, also known as VA Streamlines, offer a low-cost refinance option.

Also, most lenders won't require borrowers to have appraisal or income verification information. IRRRL loan approval also doesn't depend on credit underwriting.

If you have an existing VA loan, you can request an IRRRL to find a lower rate on the loan. The IRRRL also helps you limit the time the lender can recoup costs and loan fees. Such guidelines ensure that you enjoy maximum financial benefits from the VA IRRRL.

VA Energy Efficient Mortgage

Does your home need energy-efficient improvements? The VA Energy Efficient Mortgage offers you extra cash to create an energy-efficient home. You can borrow additional money and install cooling systems and solar heating.

Also, this mortgage helps you install thermal windows and heat pumps. Remember that you can receive up to $6,000 for these improvements.

VA Loan Eligibility Requirements in Lafayette County, Florida

Contrary to popular belief, the government doesn't offer VA loans. Instead, private lenders like banks finance the loan while the VA provides a guarantee. As long as a Veteran meets the stipulated requirements, they'll be eligible for the loan. What are these requirements?

You must meet one or more of the following requirements to receive a VA loan.

  • Serve at least 90 consecutive active service days during wartime

  • Serve no less than 181 active service days during peacetime

  • Complete six service years in the Reserves or National Guard

  • Be a surviving spouse of a Veteran who died on duty

  • Be a surviving spouse of a Veteran who passed away due to a service-related disability

Some service members and Veterans also qualify for these loans without meeting the requirements above. In these instances, your discharge nature will determine whether or not you'll receive approval for the loan.

You might get approval if your discharge falls into any of these categories:

  • The government discharged you due to a hardship

  • Your release arose from a reduction in force

  • Your discharge was at the government's convenience

  • A service-related disability or medical condition resulted in the discharge

  • You had served at least 21 months of a 2-year enlistment before the discharge

Are you having trouble determining your eligibility status? Reach out to a VA-approved lender to find out your status.

Once you are sure that you qualify, you'll need to request a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Lenders rely on this document to ascertain that Veterans meet the stipulated service requirements. Provide your social security number and birth date to your lender, and they'll get you your COE.

Besides working with your VA-approved lender, you could also apply for the COE online using the VA's eBenefits portal. Borrowers with more spare time can also apply for the certificate via mail using Form 26-1880.

The VA indicates that most borrowers complete online applications and receive the certificates within a short time.

What About Surviving Spouses?

The process of getting a COE for surviving spouses is not very different. Essentially, you'll need to clarify to your lender whether or not you receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. If you receive this compensation, fill out VA Form 26-1817. You'll also need a DD Form 214 that indicates the Veteran's separation paperwork.

Surviving spouses who don't receive these compensation benefits apply for the COE using VA Form 21P-534EZ. They'll then submit these forms to the Lafayette County Pension Management Center. The VA will also require you to provide your marriage license copy, the Veteran's separation paperwork, and their death certificate.

Lender-Specific Requirements

Besides the VA guidelines, lenders have additional requirements that borrowers must satisfy. These requirements usually include credit scores, acceptable debt levels, and residual income.

Credit Score

Although the VA has no minimum credit score requirements, private lenders do. Most lenders only approve loans for borrowers with a 620 mortgage credit score. Lenders also consider borrowers' debt-to-income ratios (DTI) before approving the loan. Your DTI will highlight your purchasing power and indicate your ability to repay the loan quickly.

Residual Income

Most lenders require qualified Veterans to have a residual income that should cater to their specific family needs. Enforcing this requirement helps lenders to meet their financial obligations consistently. Also, this requirement ensures that borrowers have an easier time handling financial emergencies.

VA Loan Application Process in Lafayette County, Florida

This loan application process isn't very different from other loan application processes. The VA loan application process typically involves pre-approval, home search, and getting under contract. After these steps, you'd need to go through the underwriting process before closing the VA loan.

Here's a more detailed look at the VA loan application process.


Getting pre-approved helps veterans understand their purchasing power. Also, once you complete this step, real estate agents and home sellers will know that you can make a firm offer for the house. In some instances, buyers might not consider your purchase offer if you don't provide a copy of the pre-approval letter.

For this step, the lender will seek to know your homebuying goals. Your employment history and military service experience also influence pre-approval. During pre-approval, you'll provide multiple documents, including:

  • Your driver's license copy
  • Recent bank statements
  • Disability award letters
  • A copy of your Reserve points statements
  • Recent pay stubs
  • A service statement for active duty borrowers

Preparing the required documentation promptly helps to hasten the loan pre-approval process. Once your lender ascertains that all your duty details are in order, they'll proceed to offer you a pre-approval letter.

Finding a House

You can proceed to the house hunting stage upon receiving the pre-approval letter. Finding a real estate agent who'll guide you through this process is essential. An experienced agent ensures that you only scout for homes and houses that fit the VA loans.

Besides, working with a veteran-friendly agent ensures they make the most of the loan's reduced closing costs. If you qualify for the loan, look out for:

  • Condos
  • Existing single-family homes
  • Multi-unit properties

Remember that you will only receive approval if you use the VA loan to purchase your primary residence. The home in question must meet the Minimum Property Requirements. Your appraiser will recommend that you address any issues before you close the loan.

Getting Under Contract

Next, you'll need to craft a substantial offer for the house. Work closely with your real estate agent to find the best negotiation starting point. Also, discuss the closing costs with your agent before you make the offer.

Your contract should include multiple contingencies that can reduce your risk exposure. You could consider including a special supplement to secure your earnest money. Overall, prepare for lots of negotiations before settling on a purchase agreement.

VA Loan Limits

Will you borrow as much as you desire? Not really. If your full entitlement is intact, your lender won't subject you to a loan limit.

Buyers who have used up part of their full entitlement will have to make do with loan limits. Such borrowers have one or more active VA loans. Also, you might have less than the full entitlement if you lost a previous foreclosure loan.

Can you Use VA Loans More than Once?

A common misconception among Veterans is that they can only use the VA home loan benefit once. The reality is that if you are a qualifying Veteran, you can use the VA loan benefit more than once.

Besides, you can leverage this benefit on more than one property simultaneously.

Happy african american military father holding daughter in front of their new house

VA Funding Fee

The VA requires beneficiaries of the VA loan program to remit the VA Funding Fee. Essentially, the VA funding fee removes burdens from taxpayers. The government ensures that future military generations can exploit VA loans' benefits with this amount.

Typically, the VA will assess your circumstances to determine the fee you should pay. First-time buyers usually pay 2.3 percent of the home's purchase price. In your subsequent uses, you'll pay a fee of 3.6 percent. However, if you sign up for the IRRRL, you'll only pay 0.5% as a fee.

Regarding payments, you could choose to roll the fee into your overall loan amount or pay it upfront as part of the closing costs.

Are you wondering if funding fee exemptions exist? Yes, they do! Veterans receiving compensation for service-related disabilities don't need to pay the VA funding fee. Eligible surviving spouses are also exempt from the fee.

Benefits of VA Loans

VA loans are attractive loan options for veterans and service members. The loans' multiple financial benefits make them stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Veterans, military families, and service members have used this loan to achieve the goal of home ownership. Presently, VA loans are arguably the best mortgage solutions for military families. Top benefits from this loan include:

Zero Down Payment

VA loans help Veterans purchase homes without putting anything down. With this loan, qualified service members don't need to save for years to get their dream home.

FHA loans often require borrowers to put down 3.5 percent before purchasing a home. On the other hand, conventional loans have a down payment requirement of 5 percent. Average military borrowers might experience difficulty raising such amounts.

As you are constantly out on duty, you might find it hard to build good credit. Saving enough for your down payment might also be an issue. VA loans offer a lifeline as Veterans can finance their homes without saving for their down payment.

No Private Mortgage Insurance

Lenders typically rely on Private Mortgage Insurance for protection if a borrower defaults on their loan. As a result, most lenders insist that borrowers who can't put aside a 20% down payment should have PMI.

Fortunately for Veterans, VA loans don't require PMI. Also, borrowers will keep paying this insurance until they get to 20% equity on their homes. In turn, borrowers can save thousands in monthly mortgage fees. Besides the significant savings, Veterans can also stretch their purchasing power with these loans.

No Prepayment Penalty

Most mortgages attract a prepayment penalty for borrowers who pay before the loan matures. Lenders apply this penalty to cover the interest payments they might miss.

However, VA loans let borrowers pay off their loans whenever convenient. Essentially, you get a chance to consider refinancing options and future home purchases.

Minimal Closing Costs

With VA loans, Veterans can ask home sellers to pay part of their closing costs. Most of these payments will include escrow expenses and concessions—the VA limits what you can pay as part of your closing costs. Negotiating extensively with the seller before completing your purchase is always helpful.

Relaxed Credit Requirements

The government ensures lenders don't experience total loss if borrowers default on their loans. Lenders offer less stringent requirements for Veterans and service members with this guarantee.

Lenders don't require perfect credit to get approval for VA loans. Besides, Veterans recovering from foreclosures or bankruptcy will have an easier time accessing these loans.

Enticing Interest Rates

VA loans offer Veterans the lowest average fixed markets in the mortgage industry. VA interest rates are usually 0.5 to 1 percent lower than the typical market rates. With these lower rates, Veterans can save more throughout the loan's lifespan.

Fun Activities for Veterans in Lafayette County, Florida

Lafayette County Veterans can enjoy fun activities all year round. Some tremendous fun activities include:

  • Visit the Memorial Park of Mayo - Spend time at the lovely spacious park with old oak trees with lots of shade. Explore the old Cracker House or take your kids to the Picnic Pavilions.

  • Explore the Suwannee River - The Suwannee River is the perfect location for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. Float lazily downstream and enjoy mirror-like reflections for your photographs on the waters. You could also request the 4- or 6-hour canoe trips or kayaks.

  • Visit the Bridge - Spare time to check out the Hal W. Adams Bridge with an unusual construction. Take a few photographs at the boat ramp below this suspension bridge.

  • Explore the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail - Make your way through this trail that takes you through private and public lands. You could find accommodation in the state parks along the way.

  • Dining Out - Head to downtown Lafayette to enjoy Mexican dishes at Mayo's Casa Frias. Ask for a fruit smoothie or specialty coffee at the family-owned cafe. Don't miss out on the daily specials!

Exploit Lafayette County, Florida VA Loans

VA home loans have one enticing promise: Veterans can access a home loan program that helps them purchase their dream home with no down payment.

Veterans and service members have relied on this loan to settle their families. Join this growing list of service members and Veterans.

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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