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

Many home buyers in Okeechobee County, Florida, don't know they can get zero down payment loans through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA loans are designed to help military veterans, active duty military members, and surviving spouses afford their dream home without coming up with thousands of dollars in upfront cash.

Taking advantage of these loan options can help make your homeownership and financial future in Okeechobee County much more secure than it would otherwise be.

So, if you're considering buying or refinancing a home and dodging the down payment or private mortgage insurance, you may want to consider getting a VA loan. However, before submitting your loan application, you should understand the ins and outs of VA loans and how they can benefit you to speed up the process while avoiding costly mistakes and surprises down the road.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about VA loans, including the various types, eligibility requirements, loan limits, the VA funding fee, overall benefits, and more exciting things about Okeechobee County, Florida. Keep reading to discover more.

Basics of VA Home Loans

A VA loan is a home loan guaranteed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. It is available to active duty service members, veterans, and their spouses. A VA loan can be used to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage.

VA loans offer competitive interest rates, and no down payment is required. The VA does not lend money for these loans; instead, they provide a guarantee to lenders. This guarantee protects the lender from a loss if the borrower defaults on the loan.

There's no set limit on how many times you can receive a VA home loan. Moreover, as long as you're eligible for a VA loan and have remaining entitlement, you can apply for a VA loan several times. Reach out to Veterans United so that you can understand their loan program better.

If you are eligible for a VA loan, it may be your best option for getting into a home quickly with less hassle and paperwork. Read on for more crucial information about VA home loans in Okeechobee County, Florida.

Types of VA Loans

Whether you're looking to buy your first home or refinance an existing one, it's essential to understand the different types of loans available to ensure you choose the right option for your circumstances.

Here's an overview of the different types of VA loans and how they can help you accomplish your real estate goals in Okeechobee County, Florida.

VA Purchase Loan

The VA purchase loan is the most common type of VA loan used by eligible applicants to finance their first home purchase. The Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees the loan making it available to applicants with good or bad credit.

To qualify for this loan, you must meet the lender's income and credit requirements, possess a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE), and intend to use the property as your primary residence. You can use this loan to purchase a single-family home, new construction, modular home, manufactured house, or condo that meets the VA property requirements.

Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL)

Also called the VA Streamline Refinance Loan, this VA loan is used to lower your interest rate and monthly mortgage payment by refinancing your current VA loan. With this type of refinancing, there are no fees or appraisal costs associated with the process. An IRRRL can only be viable if you have an existing VA loan and must not be delinquent on your payments.

VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan

A VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan is a great way to take advantage of your home's equity. You can use the money from the loan for any purpose, including home improvements, debt consolidation, or investments. The VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan is available to all eligible veterans, active duty service members, and legal surviving spouses.

VA Energy Efficient Mortgage

A VA Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) allows veterans to finance the cost of energy-efficient improvements as part of a home purchase or refinance loan. In your EEM amount, you can include any charges for upgrading your property with insulation, air sealing, storm or thermal windows, water-saving toilets, heat pumps, solar heating panels, cooling systems, etc.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a VA Loan, you must be a veteran, active duty service member, or a surviving spouse. You must also have a reasonable credit history and income to make your mortgage payments. Additionally, you must occupy the home as your primary residence. Lastly, you must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA.

To qualify for a VA loan as a veteran, you must have been honorably discharged from active duty service in the Armed Forces of the United States. You must have served at least 90 days of active duty during wartime or 181 days during peacetime. Veterans dishonorably discharged due to a sentence imposed by court-martial are not eligible.

You must have completed all active duty service obligations to qualify as an active military member. This means that you must have been in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard for at least 180 days. You must possess a valid Certificate of Eligibility and meet the lender's credit and income requirements.

A surviving spouse could qualify for a VA loan if their deceased spouse died on active duty or due to a service-related injury or disease. Additionally, you must meet one of the following criteria as a surviving spouse:

  • You are unmarried and have not remarried since your spouse died.

  • You were married to your service member at the time of their death.

  • Your spouse is permanently disabled from any cause; this includes being rated 100% disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

  • Your spouse served in combat with an organized armed force like the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard; or was recognized by the President's executive order as a prisoner of war.

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 price is added to your loan balance and can be paid in cash at closing or rolled into your loan. You will pay 2.3% of the total loan if you put down 5% or less on your first home purchase and 3.6% on your following loans.

VA Loan Limits

To take advantage of the zero-down payment, you'll need to ensure that your loan amount is within the VA loan limits. The loan limits are determined by the county where the property is located.

VA loan limits are currently $647,200 in most parts of the United States. The limitations have steadily increased over the past few years and reached $970,800 in high-cost regions. With these limits, you can rest assured of obtaining 100% financing for your home purchase in Okeechobee County, Florida.

VA Loan with inscription on the paper sheet

Benefits of VA Home Loans

A VA home loan from Veterans United Home Loans can provide you with some pretty impressive benefits, whether you're an active-duty service member, an honorably discharged veteran, or the surviving spouse of one of these groups.

Getting approved can give you benefits that other mortgage loans can't offer, including but not limited to:

No Down Payment

The most significant benefit of a VA home loan is that there's no down payment required, meaning you can finance 100% of the purchase price of your home with zero money down. Plus, if you have saved up money for a down payment, you can use that money to cover other costs associated with buying a home, such as VA funding fees and closing costs.

Relaxed Credit Requirements

VA home loan doesn't have the exact strict credit requirements as other loans. Generally, the VA requires a minimum credit of 580. Because the Department of Veterans Affairs guarantees the loans, lenders are more willing to work with borrowers who might not otherwise qualify. This means even if your credit score isn't perfect, you may still be able to qualify for a loan and even get a lower interest rate.

No Prepayment Penalties

Unlike conventional loans, you're not locked in once you've accepted the offer on your house. You can break a VA loan contract anytime during its term with no prepayment penalty. There are also no penalties for borrowers who wish to refinance their homes before the end of their loan term. Contact your lender and let them know you want to exercise your early termination option.

No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

You don't have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI) with a VA home loan because the government guarantees it. PMI helps protect the lender if you default on your loan and can cost up to $100 or more per month. That may not seem like much at first glance, but those are dollars that could be going toward other purposes such as paying down your principal, building up equity, and your expenses.

Lower Interest Rates

VA home loan interest rates are generally lower than other home loans. This is because the government backs these loans, making them less risky for lenders. This means you can save money on your monthly payments and over the life of your loan. With less risk, lenders can charge a lower interest rate.

Funding Fee Exemptions

The funding fee is exempt for veterans with service-connected disabilities and surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service-connected disabilities. If you're a veteran and meet the following criteria, you'll be eligible for the funding fee exemption:

  • You receive VA compensation for service-related disabilities.

  • You're entitled to receive the VA disability compensation and didn't receive retirement pay.

  • You're rated as eligible to receive the VA compensation based on a pre-discharge exam or review.

  • You're entitled to receive compensation but are not receiving it because you're on active duty.

  • You're an active duty Purple Heart recipient

Top 5 Things to Do In Okeechobee County, Florida

Okeechobee County, Florida, has many natural, historic, and scenic attractions that make it an excellent place to live or visit all year round.

The following are the best things to do in Okeechobee County, Florida. Each of these experiences will leave you with lasting memories and help you better understand the true heart of this beautiful country in The Sunshine State.

Visit the KOA Campground

The KOA Campground and Golf Resort is the perfect place to visit in Okeechobee if you want to get away from the city's hassle and bustle and enjoy some time in nature. With the campground staff ready to help make your stay as enjoyable as possible, the site has something for everyone.

Whether you're looking to unwind by the pool, play a round of golf, or explore the local area, you can rest assured of having a memorable experience here. Plus, the campground is conveniently located near the county's best attractions. So whether you're looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed adventure, the KOA Campground and Golf Resort is the perfect place for you and your family.

Visit the Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area Trailhead

The Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area is one of the most crucial state resources, providing agricultural and urban water supply, recreational opportunities, flood protection, and ecological habitats for various animals and plants. The area is a great place to hike, bike, or stroll.

The trailhead is just off Highway 441 North and offers plenty of parking making it a great place to spend an afternoon. Once on the trail, you'll enjoy spectacular views of wetlands, sawgrass prairies, and cypress forests. The site is also an excellent spot for bird watching, as multiple species of birds live in the area. And if you're lucky, you might even spot some alligators.

Visit the Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park

The Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park is a great place to learn about the Second Seminole War. The park has a visitor center with exhibits on the war and a walking trail that takes you through the battlefield.

You can also see the remains of the fort built during the war. It has well-kept plots with names etched into headstones that are still easy to read after over 100 years. The park is a great place to spend a day if you're interested in history or want to get outside.

Visit the Beaches

The beaches in and near Okeechobee County are some of the best in Florida. Their white sand and clear blue water are perfect for a day of relaxing by the water. These beaches have plenty of activities to keep you busy, like swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, sunbathing (tanning), and fishing.

Other tourist attractions are nearby, such as boat tours or snorkeling excursions for those who want more than just the beach.

Below are some of the famous beaches to stop by in Okeechobee County:

  • Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
  • Middle Cove Beach
  • South Beach Boardwalk
  • South Jetty Park Beach
  • Gulfstream Beach
  • Coconut Drive Beach
  • Porpoise Beach
  • Blue Heron Beach

Visit the Market Areas

The best way to experience all that Okeechobee offers is by visiting the different market areas. Each market area has its unique atmosphere and offers something different for visitors to enjoy.

From the fresh produce at the Farmer's Market to the arts and crafts at the Arts and Crafts Fair, there's something for everyone in Okeechobee County market areas. Plus, it's a great way to support the local economy.

The following are some of the famous market places to stop by:

  • Northlake Village Shopping Center
  • Trading Post Flea Market
  • The Big O Flea Market
  • Ferrell's Market
  • The Meat Shack
  • Okeechobee Fish Co Llc.
  • La Fiesta Super Market
  • Publix Super Market at Northlake Village
  • Cattlemen's Market of Okeechobee, LLC.

Bottom Line

Are you looking to purchase a new home in Okeechobee County, Florida? Are you currently renting and considering taking the next step towards homeownership? If so, now may be the perfect time to find out about your options with VA Loans in Okeechobee County, Florida.

Right now, there are some outstanding loans available through the VA that can enable eligible applicants to finance 100% of their purchase price without putting any money down up front.

However, most lenders that work with VA loans don't offer zero down payment options – but you can get this fantastic benefit by working with the right lender.

If you're a veteran, active military personnel, or a surviving spouse of a veteran or deceased military member, visit your local Veterans Affairs office to confirm your eligibility, know the right lender, and start the loan application process.

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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