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

A VA loan could be right for you if you want to purchase your own home but don't have the funds to make a sizeable down payment. These loans are given to military veterans, active duty military, and their surviving spouses and children to help them purchase homes in the U.S. with no down payment required.

Most applicants are eligible to receive 100% financing on purchasing their home with a VA loan, meaning you can get a loan amount enough to cover the purchase cost of your dream home while benefiting from low-interest rates and flexible terms.

While most veterans, active military personnel, and surviving spouses know they can receive this benefit, some don't know how to get this financing in Levy County, Florida. Keep reading to discover more!

This article will walk you through everything you need to know about VA loans, including who is eligible, how to apply, the loan limits, if it can be used more than once, the overall benefits, and more exciting things about Levy County, Florida.

Understand the VA Home Loans

VA loans are a type of home loan made by private companies, such as banks or mortgage companies, and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These loans are available to eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and surviving spouses that meet the eligibility requirements.

This means the VA doesn't actually lend money for the loan, but it does guarantee a portion of the loan, which can help reduce the risk for lenders and make it easier for veterans to get approved for a mortgage. This guarantee allows lenders to offer more favorable terms to borrowers, such as zero down payments.

The VA home loan was developed in 1944 by the United States government to help the returning service members purchase homes without a down payment or excellent credit rating. Today, the VA home loan program allows eligible military service members, veterans, and select surviving spouses to get 100% financing on their dream home, even if they haven't saved up enough cash for a down payment.

More than 25 million VA loans have been guaranteed, assisting Veterans, active duty military members, and their families to purchase or refinance a home.

Below are more essential things you need to understand about the VA home loans in Levy County, Florida.

Eligibility Requirements

You may be eligible for a VA loan if you are a veteran or active duty service member. You must have a good credit score and sufficient income to cover the monthly mortgage payments. In addition, you'll need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the VA, which the lender will review before approving your application. Your lender can generally pull a COE with only your social security number and date of birth. This is typically an easy step for Veterans.

To qualify as a veteran, you must have served on active duty for at least 90 days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime. If you were discharged due to a service-connected disability, you only need to have served for a minimum of 180 days. You must also have been honorably discharged from your service to be eligible for a VA home loan, meaning you received an honorable or general discharge. If you were dishonorably released, you might not qualify for the loan.

To qualify as an active-duty military member, you must have served at least 180 days during peacetime or 90 days during wartime. Additionally, your credit score must be at least 580, and you must have a valid Certificate of Eligibility. You must also be a first-time homebuyer, which means you cannot have owned a home in the past three years.

You may be eligible for a VA-backed home loan as a surviving spouse of a Veteran who died in service or from service-related injuries or any cause while on active duty. You must have been married to the Veteran at their death, and you must not have remarried since. You will also need a Certificate of Eligibility to apply for a VA-backed home loan. Below are more requirements you must meet:

  • You were married to the Veteran within one year of their discharge from service.

  • You're the child or legal spouse of a disabled veteran.

  • You are the unmarried surviving spouse of a service member who died in service or from a service-related injury or illness.

VA Loan Limits

The loan limits for VA loans are set by the Department of Veterans Affairs and are updated each year. Veterans with their full entitlement can borrow up to as much as a lender is willing to extend without a down payment. VA loan limits only apply to buyers with less than their full entitlement, either because they have one or multiple active VA loans or lost a previous loan to foreclosure.

However, VA loans have a 2022 loan limit set at $647,200 for most counties in the United States which increased from $548,250 in 2021. The cap for high-cost regions has also increased, reaching $970,800 for a single-family home.

VA Loan Funding Fee

The VA loan funding fee is a one-time fee charged by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help cover the costs of the VA Home Loan program. The borrower pays the expense in cash at closing or rolls it into the loan amount.

There are various fees based on the VA loan type, down payment amount, loan amount, and how you intend to utilize the loan. If you are a first-time home buyer with a down payment of less than 5%, you'll pay a funding fee of 2.3% of your total loan amount and 3.6% on future VA loans.

Can You Use a VA Loan Multiple Times?

The answer is yes! The VA home loan isn't a one-time benefit. You can take advantage of these loans as often as possible, provided you meet the eligibility requirements each time. In addition, there's no limit on how often you can get a loan for your new home as long as it meets the VA property requirements. If you're interested in using a VA loan multiple times, contact your local Veterans Affairs office to confirm your eligibility, what conditions you need to meet, and how much you're entitled to.

Types of VA Loans

If you are in the market to buy a new home, it may be helpful to understand how your financing options differ from one another. Though many people assume that all types of loans are the same, there are quite a few differences that homeowners should pay attention to before deciding which loan to use.

Read on to discover the VA loans available in Levy County, Florida, to determine which option will work best for your needs.

VA-Backed Purchase Loan

A VA-backed purchase loan is a great option for eligible Veterans looking to buy a home in Levy County, Florida. With this loan, you can finance up to 100% of the home's purchase price, meaning you don't need a down payment. Plus, you'll enjoy competitive interest rates and no private mortgage insurance (PMI) required.

Since the Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees these loans, you can use them to purchase a wide variety of properties, including single-family homes, new constructions, modular homes, manufactured homes, or condos that comply with VA requirements.

VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan

The VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan allows you to refinance your existing mortgage and take out cash up to 100% of the value of your home. This can be used for various purposes, including home improvements, debt consolidation, or other significant expenses.

Taking a VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan has many perks, including the fact that you don't need private mortgage insurance since the home is already yours, so the lender has no risk. However, the loan amount depends on how much equity you have in your house.

Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program

The Native American Direct Loan (NADL) Program makes home loans available to eligible Native American Veterans, active-duty military members, and surviving spouses looking to purchase, construct, or improve a home on Federal Trust Land. To qualify for the NADL program, the applicant must:

  • Be an enrolled member of one of the federally recognized tribes defined by the United States government.

  • Have at least one-quarter degree blood quantum from a federally recognized tribe.

  • Be an active duty member in good standing.

  • Meet citizenship requirements.

  • Live on trust land.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)

Also called the Streamline Refinance Loan, Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) program is available to veterans and active-duty military members who currently have a VA loan. The IRRRL allows you to refinance your home at a lower interest rate, saving you monthly money. To qualify, you must prove that you have made timely payments on your current loan for the past 12 months.

Suburban Brick Ranch style home with American flag

How to Apply

If you're looking to purchase your own home but struggling to find financing, you might consider applying for a VA Home Loan. To apply for a VA loan in Levy County, Florida, all you need to do is fill out the VA Application, sign it and submit it along with your supporting paperwork!

By understanding what's involved in the application process, you can rest assured that your dream of homeownership will soon become a reality. The following are the main steps in applying for a VA home loan in Levy County, Florida.

  • Pick your VA-Approved lender (a bank or mortgage company)

  • Get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and gather crucial documents

  • Undergo the pre-qualification for a loan amount

  • Do the house hunting

  • Sign the property purchase agreement

  • Give your lender time to review your paperwork and approve your application

  • Your lender will order an appraisal

  • Close on your loan and move in

Benefits of Obtaining a VA Home Loan

VA Home Loans are an excellent option if you're looking to buy a home, especially if you're on the fence between various government-backed and conventional loans. VA loans provide more protections than traditional loans, making them ideal for first-time home buyers.

VA loans are also great options if you're looking to refinance your current mortgage and can offer flexible guidelines that allow you to purchase investment properties and vacation homes as well as regular family residences.

However, these are not the only reasons why obtaining a VA home loan is well worth it. With the following top five benefits of getting a VA home loan, you'll be able to see just how advantageous it can be to you, your family, and your country overall.

No Down Payment

One of the most significant benefits of obtaining a VA home loan is that you are not required to make a down payment. For many homebuyers, this is the primary reason they choose a VA loan. With other loans, borrowers are typically required to put down at least 3-5% of the home purchase price.

No Private Mortgage Insurance

When applying for a VA home loan, you won't pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI is typically required if you're putting less than 20% down on a conventional loan, but since the government backs VA loans, they don't require PMI. This can save you hundreds of dollars each month.

Competitive Interest Rates

A VA home loan means you'll get the most competitive interest rates available. Interest rates for VA home loans are often lower than those for traditional mortgages. This can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Additionally, if you have good credit, you may obtain a lower interest rate than someone with bad credit.

No Prepayment Penalties

If you're looking to pay off your home loan before the agreed repayment period, you won't have to worry about prepayment penalties with a VA home loan. With the VA loan, you can pay off your remaining loan at any time without incurring an early payment fine. With this benefit, you're free to consider future home purchases and refinancing options.

Lenient Credit Requirements

One of the main benefits of obtaining a VA home loan is that the credit requirements are much more lenient than other types of loans. A lender may be willing to work with you if you have a lower credit score (typically between 580 and 620) or have previously experienced financial difficulties.

5 Things to Do in Levy County, Florida

Levy County is one of the smallest in The Sunshine State, but it still has plenty to offer tourists and locals! You'll find some great places to stay, things to do, and plenty of food to eat throughout the county when you visit. Here are the top five things to do in Levy County, Florida!

Visit the Parks

From the Manatee Springs State Park to the Cedar Key Museum State Park, Levy County is home to some of the best parks in Florida. And what's more, these parks are perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway. So whether you're looking to hike, swim, or relax in nature, check out one of Levy County's many parks.

Visit the Beaches

The beaches in Levy County are some of the best in Florida. With crystal clear water and white sand, they are perfect for a day of relaxing or swimming. Plenty of beach activities are available, such as fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Here are some of the best beaches to try:

  • Rainbow Springs State Park
  • Fort Island Gulf Beach
  • Shired Island Beach
  • Cedar Key Beach

Visit the Museums

There are several museums located throughout Levy County that are worth visiting. The first is the Levy County Museum of Natural History, which exhibits the county's ecology and natural history. The Veterans Memorial Museum honors the county's veterans with exhibits on their military service. The Cooter Pond Sculpture Garden features sculptures by local artists.

The Heritage village of Yankeetown is a living history museum that tells the story of the county's early settlers. In Levy County Quilt Museum, you'll find various items, including a collection of quilts by the famous Sieglinde Schoen Smith.

Fishing & Hunting

Levy County has something for everyone, whether an experienced angler or a first-time hunter. There are plenty of fishing spots along the Gulf Coast, and the county is home to several hunting grounds.

If you're looking for a challenge, try your hand at deep sea fishing or go after one of the many trophy fish that swim in the waters off Florida's coast. Some of the popular fishing and hunting spots in Levy County are:

  • Suwannee River Fishing
  • Withlacoochee River Fishing
  • Lake Rousseau Fishing
  • Long Pond Outlet Fishing
  • Devil's Hammock Wildlife Management Area (WMA)

Visit the Shopping Centers, Clubs, and Restaurants

Though Levy County is home to just over 40,000 people, it's home to several great shopping centers, clubs, and restaurants. If you're looking for a place to shop, grab a bite, lounge, or enjoy a night out, you'll find plenty of options here. You can find everything from clothes and accessories to home goods and decor.

Bottom Line

Are you eager to achieve your homeownership dream in Levy County, Florida, but worried about how you can afford it? If you're looking for the best mortgage option to help you buy a home in Levy County, Florida, and enjoy the benefits of no down payment or low rates, then a VA loan is for you.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has several incentives to help veterans, active-duty military personnel, and surviving spouses buy homes without a down payment or high-interest rates on loans.

Contact your local Veterans Affairs (VA) office today to learn more about the VA home loan program and how you can take advantage of the popular zero-down payment offer!

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