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VA Loans and Credit Score Minimums: What All Buyers Need to Know

Secure a VA Loan with this Score

What credit score will you need to secure a VA loan?

A good credit score is an excellent starting point for anyone considering a VA loan.

But what exactly is a good credit score? Does the VA have a credit score minimum? How do VA credit requirements stack up against other mortgage options?

One of the best benefits of the VA loan program is its relaxed credit requirements. Potential borrowers don’t have to possess blemish-free credit reports and elite credit scores to secure VA financing. The VA loan program seeks to accommodate as many military buyers as possible with a simple and accessible mortgage.

If your credit isn’t too hot, don’t worry. Veterans United’s Lighthouse program is designed to help you improve your credit score — no strings attached. Get started on your VA home loan application today.

Do VA Loans Have Credit Score Minimums?

First of all, let’s understand the VA’s role in the VA loan process. The Department of Veterans Affairs oversees the program and guarantees a portion of each loan in case of default.

But the VA does not issue loans, and the agency does not enforce credit score minimums. Both of those duties are handled by an individual VA lender.

Most VA lenders do use credit score benchmarks. Applicants with scores below a lender’s benchmark usually can’t be approved for VA financing. That minimum will vary from lender to lender, but most VA-approved lenders, including Veterans United Home Loans, are looking for a credit score of at least 620.

How do VA Loan Requirements Compare to Others?

FICO credit scores range from 300-850. FICO no longer releases the median nationwide score, but at the last reporting in 2006, the national median FICO score was 723.

Keeping that median in mind, a 620 minimum is fairly borrower-friendly. It’s not necessarily an easy score to obtain, but it’s definitely an accommodating benchmark when measured against other loan options:

Credit Score Minimums for LoansConventional loans: Conventional loans are not backed by the government. Since lenders are at greater risk without a government guarantee, conventional loans are tougher to obtain. Bigger down payments and higher credit scores are usually required to snag conventional financing.

According to John Councilman, federal housing chairman for The National Association of Mortgage Brokers, a credit score below 740 will bring on intense scrutiny and sizable fees in the conventional lending market.

As a result, most conventional borrowers maintain impressive FICO scores. In October 2013, successful conventional loan recipients posted an average FICO credit score of 758, according to mortgage software provider Ellie Mae.

FHA loans: Like VA loans, FHA loans are backed by the federal government. There’s no credit score minimum, but most FHA lenders prefer a score of at least 620. Successful FHA borrowers typically have higher scores. The average credit score for all FHA purchases in October was 629. For all of 2012, the average was 700.

FHA loans also require a down payment of 3.5 percent, as well as both an up-front mortgage insurance premium and monthly mortgage insurance, which now runs for the life of the loan.

USDA loans: USDA loans are yet another government-backed option, but they’re only allowable in rural areas. The USDA does not enforce a credit score minimum, but most USDA lenders are looking for a score of 660 or above.

What if I Fall Short of the VA’s Credit Requirements?

Potential VA loan borrowers needn’t abandon their dreams of homeownership due to a low credit score. The best feature of credit is its fluidity. Your credit changes constantly. Improve your fiscal habits, and your credit score will soar.

But knowing what improvements to make can be tricky. Should you pay off high-interest debt? Should you cancel certain credit cards? How should you handle that bankruptcy looming over your credit report?

If you’re considering a VA loan but need a credit boost, get some free help from the Veterans United Lighthouse Program. Lighthouse works tirelessly (and at no charge) on behalf of service members who fall short of credit requirements.

Working with Lighthouse is a free process, but not necessarily an easy one. Improving your credit requires commitment and hard work.

If you’re ready to make the necessary changes in pursuit of a VA home loan, partner with a helpful advocate. You can reach a Lighthouse credit counselor by calling 888-392-7421 or by visiting lighthouse.veteransunited.com.

Future Mortgage Regulations

Like VA loan credit score standards, it’s important that all buyers know about mortgage rules and regulations. Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced new mortgage rules. Follow the link to learn about what the new rules entail, which loans are affected and how the industry is responding.

 

Photos courtesy russteaches


Posted by Jessi Hall
| jhall@veteransunited.com


113 Comments

  1. Charlotte Alger
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    This is a great tool. As a Army Veteran and a Realtor I think this is extremely helpful. This web site will be one that I will definitely keep up with.

    • Posted September 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the kind words, Charlotte, and for your service to our country! Our best to you!

  2. Christy
    Posted August 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    My fiance is a veteran and shortly after we get married in November, we are looking to purchase a home. I have a decent credit score but his is shot. If the loan goes under my name, what score does he need to have?

    • Posted August 22, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Hi Christy – Thanks for reaching out. The credit score minimum for a VA loan is 620. If your fiance needs some help reaching that number, I strongly encourage a call to the Veterans United Lighthouse Program. Lighthouse is a branch of Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s #1-dedicated VA lender, and helps service members raise their credit scores within the range of VA loan approval. It’s a free service, but keep in mind it’s not always easy to raise your credit score. Your fiance will need to buckle in for a lot of hard work and some changes – but it’s all definitely worth it! You can reach a Lighthouse rep at 888-392-7421. Let me know if you have any other questions, and thanks again for reaching out!

  3. Edgar Longenecker
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Legality of credit score monopolized by “information not deemed to be correct.”

    • Edgar Longenecker
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      I have paid off two VA guaranteed loans, and, have no fraudulently imposed commercial, corporate, credit score.

      • Edgar Longenecker
        Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Never gone bankrupt, and have paid all legitimate indebtednesses. Credit reporting, is a con; to guarantee, collection of disputed bills; and a denial of the right to be sued and, get a judgement, for or against. That’s called, “Due Process.

        • Edgar Longenecker
          Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Three “credit cons,” control this entire nations credit commerce, by reporting what frauds their members choose to exercise; with impunity. That’s fraud. Who died and made these hustlers, boss ???

          • Edgar Longenecker
            Posted September 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

            Notice in the foregoing information, not a mention, if you’ve made 50 years of property payments, without missing even one.

  4. H Paul Richter
    Posted November 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I am disappointed in Veterans United! I have a Credit Score of 699 and guarantee income of over $3,550/mo – I am a 30% service connected disabled Viet Nam veteran. I have taken a part time job and earn an additional $1,500/mo and Veterans United will not move forward with my loan request as the part time income does not have a 2 years history. Really in this environment. I contacted the VA Home Loan Department and they said that that was at the discretion of the Lender. And Veterans United is the #1 VA Lender?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Hi Paul, Veterans United Home Loans is honored to serve our veterans and service members looking to utilize their VA home loan benefit. Unfortunately, we are subject to multiple federal, state, and internal lender guidelines that we must follow for every home loan in order to satisfy government bodies, entities in the secondary mortgage market, etc. While we are committed to pursuing every possible solution for everyone who comes to us, we aren’t able to promise a positive outcome for every borrower. In this case, I would encourage you to contact other lenders with different guidelines to find one who could work with you sooner rather than later and still offer you a great deal. We’re very sorry you were unable to obtain financing at this time, and we wish you the best in your mortgage search. -Samantha

      • C. Thompson
        Posted January 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Hi Samantha. In reply to Paul comment, why isn’t the income that he current receive is sufficient to qualify him for his loan? I am just curious in that I am a 100% disable veteran and current seeking a home mortgage.

        • Samantha Reeves
          Posted January 7, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Hello,
          Income is very situation dependent. In his case I believe the issue was that he didn’t have a 2 year history for part time employment. If you are receiving 100% disability and aren’t looking to include any additional new part time jobs, this shouldn’t be an issue. I’d be happy to answer more questions you may have or get you in touch with one of our VA mortgage specialists so they can go through the entire process with you, answer your questions and guide you along the way.
          Samantha
          Samantha@vu.com

  5. michael
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Me and my wife just bought a house through a bank with a fixed for 3 years my credit is about 630 could I get a via loan with that

  6. jocelyn
    Posted January 13, 2014 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    Hi,

    My fiancé is a veteran . We both have a 620 credit score. I make over 140000 a year. But he brings a small stipend through monthly disability checks. Could we apply even though we are not married yet? We do live together a d so do our taxes together. What is our first in applying?

    Thanks!

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted January 13, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      Hi Jocelyn,
      Typically only a spouse or another veteran can be on a VA loan without there being a downpayment required. But in this case, if you already had plans on getting married before closing on a home then you could move forward with the application process but would have to provide documentation prior to closing showing marriage. What I’d suggest as a first step is to get in touch with one of our VA mortgage specialists at 888-212-1958 to discuss time frames. Then you can move forward in planning your home buying process and also have suggestions on how to improve your credit. You only need a 620 to qualify but the higher you can get your score between now and closing the better rates you’ll have access to.
      -Samantha

  7. Robert
    Posted January 17, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Sorry folks I’m just lost in all the bureaucracy involved with home ownership. Im a Vet and have been feverishly working on my score for 5 years. I improved it by 200 points and have the coveted 620 score. However, I just got denied by Navy Fed CU. Now raise your hand if you know what furlough and sequestration is? Yup im a gov employee still serving my country as a Civ. That loss of pay really hurt. Had to use my credit cards (2) to stay above water. Havent missed any payments paying back. This is what they are for isnt it?So whats the deal? I’ve given up on the dream but maybe I can save someone elses.

    • John Iannetta
      Posted March 6, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Navy Fed is TOUGH to get money from for just about anything. Their rates are I guess okay; but nothing really sets them apart from anyone else – at least in my opinion.

  8. Michelle Boucher
    Posted February 1, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    Can I get a higher VA loan than the amount approved for my county? I thought I saw a “jumbo” VA loan option. I live in Howard County, MD, and our limit is $500,000. Is it possible to get a higher amount?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted February 2, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Hi Michelle,
      Yes it is possible. Typically when you go over the county loan limit you have to put down 25% of the difference between the loan limit and the purchase price.
      So for example, if your county loan limit is $500K and you want to purchase a home for $600K then you would have to pay $600K – $500K = $100K x 25% so $25,000.
      Please let me know if I can help further!
      - Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

      • Danielle
        Posted February 13, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

        We have been told this many times, however not one underwriter or representative told us the minimum credit score requirement is 660 if you want more….

  9. Kimberly
    Posted February 2, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I have about 57K in credit available and have one balance on i credit card which is 80.00. 4 or 5 are new credit within 4 months. My median fico score is 688. The rest of my credit cards have a 0 balance. I was on active duty feb09-march 2012. When i came off active duty I was unemployed for 11 months. I went back to work apr of 2013 for the department of veterans affairs. I am in the same kind of field I was in in the military. I am 60% disabled and get compensation plus my annual salary is 35,874 annually. Am I qualified for a VA home Loan?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted February 3, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Hi Kimberly,
      I’d suggest giving one of our VA mortgage specialists a call at 1-800-VA-LOANS. They can run through the entire pre-qualification process and run numbers for you to help you figure out how much you can qualify for. It for sure sounds like you are eligible.
      Thank you for your service!
      - Samantha

  10. Bryan Kutej
    Posted February 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    I (veteran)have horrible credit but my spouse has fair to Ok credit (640ish) can we still qualify for a VA loan if my credit is not run under the loan or do we have to apply with my name as the primary in order to qualify?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted February 10, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Hi Bryan,
      You do have to credit qualify for the loan in addition to your spouse if she’s on the loan. We have a great program that can help you work on your credit (for free) so that you can get yourself in a situation to qualify for the loan. Check out our Lighthouse Program: https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      - Samantha

  11. Cheryl
    Posted February 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I have good credit (740) and my spouse (veteran) has the 620 credit score. How does this affect the interest rate for a VA loan? Do they only look at the lower credit score?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted February 18, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Hi Cheryl,
      Yes, typically the lower credit score of two co-signers is what’s used when locking in an interest rate. If you’re interested in improving his credit score, check out our Lighthouse Program. It’s a free service we offer to veterans to assist in improving their overall credit profile. Here’s a link: https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      - Samantha

      • John Iannetta
        Posted March 6, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Hi, Samantha. Wondering if you might be able to provide with a little guidance concerning obtaining a VA backed loan.
        My wife and I are looking to finally move into a home of our own (we’ve been renting a home from her father) within the next 4-5 months. I had attempted to secure a loan last year around May/June; but my credit was to put it nicely, sub-par with my highest of the three scores being 24 points below the minimum 620. My lowest was over 50 below. Since then, I have been working to build my credit score to at least the minimum 620. Now my scores are 736, 695, and 645 – giving me a median score of 692. I have enrolled in a credit monitoring program and get updates to my scores and reports once a month. I am expecting a raise of a few points for each when I receive an update from them next week. I would like to start the process of qualifying for a loan. I know the first step is obtaining a certificate of eligibility. However, when I mailed it off to the address in NC as provided on the VA website, my letter was returned as undeliverable as addressed. Has the address changed?
        Part two of this ridiculously long post: When I had first unsuccessfully attempted to pre-qualify with a mortgage lender last year, it brought my score down by around 50 or so points. That really hurt my scores overall, and I had to work double time to try and bounce back. Is there any way to qualify without a lender doing a hard inquiry that will in essence bring my scores down just to get a snapshot of my credit? We are kind of in a bind as we need to be out of our home by summer; and I’d really like to get the ball rolling with this. Any help is greatly appreciated.

        • John Iannetta
          Posted March 6, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          Hello, again. Just an update: I decided after posting that long message above that it would be better to just go ahead and bite the bullet and have a lender qualify or disqualify me now rather than closer to mydeadline when it would hurt the most. I called the 888 number listed above and braced for impact. Turns out my scores were higher than what I had thought; and so (drum roll) I’m qualified.
          Still in disbelief. Haha
          So the lending specialists are slated to give me a call back later this afternoon with the details; and I guess we’ll take it from there. Semper Fi

          • Samantha Reeves
            Posted March 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            John
            That is great news!!
            Best of luck on house hunting,
            Samantha

  12. Jen
    Posted March 6, 2014 at 4:45 am | Permalink

    Hello. My husband and I are both vets and I read in an earlier comment that they will take the lesser of the two credit scores. Would it be smarter for me to be the primary on the loan and my husband the secondary seeing that I have the better (but not by much) credit score. And how long do I have to have a credit score of above 620 to be qualified for a loan.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted March 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jen,
      You just need to keep your score at or above 620 during the loan process, there isn’t a specific time period you have to be above 620 before applying.
      Either one of you can be the primary, if you are both going to be on the loan then it doesn’t really matter who is first since both of your scores will be reviewed.
      If you want me to get you in touch with one of our VA mortgage specialists, I can do that. Just let me know.
      - Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  13. John Iannetta
    Posted March 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey again. So now that I have a packet coming from Veterans United, I have a question concerning actually getting approved. The latest bank statement I have shows a few overdrafts on there where I had to rob Peter to pay Paul to get my scores up to where they need to be. Because it shows a beginning negative balance and an ending balance in the negatives, will that kill my pre-approval?
    I absolutely make enough money every month to cover a mortgage and a car payment and incidentals. It just does not look that way on paper.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted March 10, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Hi John,
      I’d suggest talking with your loan officer on this. Overdrafts will require a letter of explanation if submitted to an underwriter. Discuss with your loan officer your options on this.
      - Samantha

  14. Thomas McDonnell
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    My wife’s credit score is better then mine, mine is under the minimum score for a VA loan, would the VA combine my score and my wifes score and average it out, if not then could i just use my wifes score when applying for the VA.
    Thanks…..

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Hi Thomas,
      All borrowers listed on the loan have to meet the credit score requirements. But our Lighthouse department can give you guidance on how to improve your score so that you both can move forward.
      If you have additional questions, please feel free to email me at samantha@vu.com
      - Samantha

  15. Marie
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Is it mandatory to go through the Lighthouse Program before applying for a VA loan? My husband and I are waiting for his “2 years since BK discharge” mark to pass in order to apply for a VA loan, which will happen in July. He has worked very hard to bring his scores up, and his median is 656 and mine is 710, both will hopefully continue to rise. Our income is all good, jobs are good. The only bad thing we have is his BK. I know the Lighthouse Program is helpful, just wondering if it’s required before starting the loan process in July. We keep getting emails/calls about it.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted March 12, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Hi Marie,
      No, It’s not mandatory for you to use Lighthouse. If you feel you are on the right track then that’s great. Lighthouse is just a resource available to you if you would like additional assistance.
      -Samantha

  16. Amanda
    Posted March 17, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    My husband applied for a loan last year around this time. Since then he has improved his credit to 619 which I know you guys said a 620. We have recently paid off all of his debt(have receipts to prove it) but it has yet to update on his credit report…should we wait for it to update or is there anything that we can do to get approved now?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted March 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      Hi Amanda,
      It’s really up to you. If you wait until your report has updated it’s very possible your scores will go up. The higher the credit score, the more likely you’ll get a better interest rate. We can work with you either way – if your scores are reporting below 620 our Lighthouse Program can help get you on track. If they are above 620 and there aren’t other issues preventing pre-approval you should be able to move forward.
      If you want me to connect you with a VA mortgage specialist, shoot me an email: samantha@vu.com with your contact info and state and I can connect you with a VA mortgage specialist to help you start moving forward!
      - Samantha

  17. Bernadeth Bergorio
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    hi good morning,. my husband is 10% disable vet.he apply for a homeloan he has a 622 credit score why the man in veterans united home say that my husband is denied because the credit score is low?.,why does it happen how can be low he has 622 credit score and only required atleast 620?..

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted March 20, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Hello,
      Most people have 3 credit scores. As a lender, we use the middle score. If 622 was his highest score and the other two were lower than 620 then he wouldn’t be able to move forward with pre-qualification right away. But, what we can do is help him improve his other two scores through our free Lighthouse program. Then once he has his scores in qualifying range they can move forward with pre-qualification.
      If you’d like more info on our lighthouse program, you can send me an email with his contact info: samantha@vu.com
      - Samantha

  18. Kira
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    My husband and I are looking to buy a home within the next 3-months or so. He is a qualified Vet with disability exemption(10%). All three of his credit scores are above 620, and he and I both make over $50K a year. However, his credit score is higher than mine, so he will be the only name on the loan. He just started a new job over a month ago, but prior to that worked for the same employer for over 6 years. Based on his employment status, do you think he would met the employment stability guidelines? Also, after doing some calculations using a pre-qualification worksheet tool we found on the VA website, he meets the required residual income, but exceeds the DTI by 4%, will this be an issue?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kira,
      It will depend on whether his new job is in a related field. There are some exceptions to the 41% rule, but it’s situational. It’d probably be a good idea to talk with a VA mortgage specialist about the specifics of his DTI.
      Why don’t you send me an email with your contact info and the state you want to purchase in, and I can have one of our VA mortgage specialists give you a call. or you can call 888-212-1958 any time.
      Best of luck!
      Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

  19. Kira
    Posted April 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Also, we do have a house in mind, which is what we used to base our pre-qual numbers on–in the worksheet tool. But is it wiser to see how much we pre-qual for first and then look for a home that meets that figure, or is it okay to find the house first?

  20. Syl
    Posted April 9, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    My husband is a Veteran, we live in Texas, we
    owe around 30,000.00 on our home ,which is valued around 150.000.00 at present ,we are thinking of applying for a cash out.My credit is terrible 585,his around 650 .Our mortgage payments have always been on time.Is it necessary for my name to be on application?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Hello,
      It’s really going to depend on your specific circumstances whether you would be left off the loan. Some of the main factors would include whether Texas is a community property state and whether your husband’s income would be sufficient to provide a reasonable debt-to-income ratio. WHy don’t you send me an email with your contact info and I can connect you with a TX loan officer who can talk with you about the specifics of your situation.
      - Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

  21. Marion
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    My husband is a veteran and would qualify for a VA loan. We owe about $16,500 on our current home and are trying to sell. We would like to know if we could pre-qualify for a VA loan to buy a house in another state where we want to retire.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Hi Marion,
      It’s very possible you could qualify to purchase another home. The key here is that the new home has to be your intended primary residence. So, if you’re planning to move there right away then you won’t likely have issue with the residency requirement, but if you are wanting to purchase now and then not occupy the home for, let’s say 2 years, then you would run into issues using your VA loan.
      If you’d like to discuss pre-qualification with one of our VA mortgage specialists, I’d be happy to connect you with one licensed in the purchasing state. Just shoot me an email with your contact info and the state you want to purchase in.
      Best of luck,
      Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  22. Joe
    Posted April 17, 2014 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    Great read! Question- me and my spouse have over the 620 mark. I have a few to many inquaries(looking for a car but decided not to) and she has a forclosure from a previous marrage, but she gave him the house in the divorce (meaning she has/had no responsiblity for it or the payments). We make about 90k a year together, would a 300k home be out of reach? Estimate

    • Joe
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 1:49 am | Permalink

      p.s. what are the rules on buying a home when it’s a different state then you are based at?

      • Samantha Reeves
        Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Hi Joe,
        It depends on the specific situation. One of the key provisions of the VA loan guarantee is that you intend for the home to be your primary residence. So for example, if you are based in SC and want to purchase a home in NC, you would have to demonstrate that you were PCSing to NC, that you intend to live in NC and commute to SC, or that your spouse would fulfill occupancy of the home in your absence. Each of these scenarios has a different set of documentation and requirements you’d need to meet. Feel free to email me if you’d like to talk about this more in depth. Just be sure to let me know which state you are currently living in, which state you’d want to purchase a home in, and the general scenario surrounding the purchase.
        - Samantha
        Samantha@vu.com

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 17, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Hi Joe,
      It really depends. You would need to talk with a VA mortgage specialists to run the numbers because the amount of your loan approval will depend on your overall debt-to-income ratio. That being said, I’d be happy to connect you with a loan officer that can help you figure that out.
      - Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

  23. Char C
    Posted April 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m a 20yr retiree and 100% disabled vet. I have the 620 credit score and I’m currently in the process of boosting my scores as well. My question is this, will my retirement and disability bey enough income to qualify me for the VA loan? I plan to move within the next two months. If I can get the ball rolling now so that I don’t have to rent beforehand that would be such a blessing.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 22, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Hi Char,
      It really depends, but it’s possible. You’ll need to run through a mortgage pre-application with a loan officer to determine your debt-to-income ratio so that they can determine the amount you will be able to purchase, assuming you credit qualify. If you’d like me to connect you with a loan officer, I’d be happy to do that. You can just send me an email with your contact info and the state you want to purchase in and I can get the ball rolling. Or you can call 1-888-212-1958.
      Best of luck and thank you for your service!
      - Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  24. Adam
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Hello. There was some great information above. One question I would have, if my credit score isn’t to the 620 mark, would a down payment of 5-7% help secure the VA loan? I know it was mentioned that this would help with a conventional loan, but I haven’t been able to find any information regarding this specific question.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Hi Adam,
      Unfortunately no, those are two separate factors. BUT, Veterans United Lighthouse Program can help guide you on your scores. Here’s a link for this free resource: https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      - Samantha

  25. Jason
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I have been working hard on my credit score and have fianlly gotten to the point where I would qualify. My question is, is it a show stopper if I don’t have 3 trade lines that have been active for over 12 months?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Hi Jason,
      It’s possible that your lender could consider alternative tradelines such as utilities, storage units, etc but it is based on your overall profile and credit history. You would need to have enough trade lines to show at least 2 reporting credit scores out of the 3. If you’d like to talk about this in detail with a VA Mortgage Specialist, I’d be happy to connect you with one. Feel free to email or comment with any additional questions.
      Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

  26. Rose Tapia-Nabazas
    Posted May 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    Hi,
    I’ve been with my husband 14 yrs married since 2004 and I keep wanting to purchase a home for our kids and us. He avoids the issue and doesn’t want to look into his benefits. Is it possible he purchased a home already using his va loan without me knowing? How can I find out if he did. It’s been two years we owe taxes and he won’t tell me why and he is so secretive about anything pertaining his va benefits. I seen a notice if entitlement to him sent from another computer in our files of our desktop. I read you don’t receive that unless you have applied for it. Please help!

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Hi Rose,
      I’d suggest talking with an attorney.
      You can use your VA loan benefit multiple times, but that’s about all I can advise you on in this situation.
      - Samantha

  27. Kayleigh
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    My fiance is looking to apply for a va loan. A little over a year ago he was told the minimum credit was 619. He has continuedto work hard to improve that. I know at least one score is almost 660 now. But when we talked to a lender about the preapproval process he said the minimum has gone up quite a bit. Is this the case? Is there a new minimum?even if his average were throne out to 640 shouldn’t that be enough? If he’s denied by one lender does that process exhaust all options?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted May 19, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Hi Kayleigh,
      The VA itself doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, that is a requirement put in place by the lender and so there can be some variance in the minimums different lenders will require.
      Veterans United Home Loans requires a 620 min credit score. Check out the website: http://www.veteransunited.com
      I will note here that there could be another cause for the increased credit score requirement, so you may want to ask the lender why they are now requiring the higher score.
      - Samantha

  28. Ashlynn
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    I have a quick question, my husband was KIA in 2009. Me and my now fiance who is also a veteran have been wanting to buy a home. We went through granny 8 mortgage to see about preapproval but my credit was 588 his even lower. We’ve been paying off debt monthly and make payments monthly. We are almost debt free. Can I use lighthouse to help me? Our annual income is about 65,000 combined. We both (once our credit is up) will be able to use our VA loans. Can we use those together?

  29. Amber
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Hello, my fiancee and I have been together/lived together for almost 10 years. We have two children together and are looking to buy a house quickly prior to the start of the upcoming school year. We were planning to marry in November, but need to be moved by August. Would we qualify for the VA loan without being married? We both have excellent credit scores (790s) and have lived together for 10 years.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted May 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Amber,
      It depends on how you would want to qualify and whether you’d want both of your names on the loan.
      If the veteran can qualify on his/her own then you can move forward any time. If you’re unable to qualify with just the veteran then you’d need to look into alternatives which may require you to put some money down. If you’d like to discuss it in more detail just let me know and I can connect you with a loan officer.
      Samantha

  30. Wayne
    Posted June 1, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Samantha,

    Two questions:
    1 I plan on retiring next March,2015 and seeking to build/buy a small home in a 55 and over community in Maine. How much time will the VA give me to move into that new home if purchased prior to my retirement?
    2. Presently, between my wife and myself we earn$138K yearly that will drop by over 80K when I retire. As pertains to debt/income ratio and residual income how would that be handle when we file an application; keeping in mind we will have over 20K in available funds in savings; not counting any 401K?

    Thank you

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 2, 2014 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Hi Wayne,
      In response to your questions:
      1. 55 and over communities don’t usually meet the VAs requirements because they limit future purchasers. If you are building a home the VA would expect you (or your spouse) to meet the occupancy requirements within a “reasonable time.” Generally you’d want to be moving in soon after closing.
      2. This is a better question for a VA mortgage specialist – they can run debt to income ratios with you as they will depend on your overall credit profile etc. If you’d like me to connect you with one please let me know by email samantha@vu.com. I’d also want to note that there are special conditions when you are within 12 months of retirement so they’d want to run through those with you.
      Best of luck,
      Samantha

  31. P. Rhodes
    Posted June 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Can my husband get a VA loan without me being on it? I am currently in Bankruptcy, and wanted to use my loan, but didn’t want to go through the red tape with bankruptcy.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      The service member with eligibility has to be on the loan. If you are the service member then you would need to be on the loan. If he is also eligible to use a VA loan you wouldn’t have to be on the loan.
      Samantha

  32. Mike H.
    Posted June 10, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I have horrible credit. Currently I am on Active Duty and was sucked into one of ths infamous loan predators a few years ago. They reported on my credit and have a credit score bleow the 550s. Is there anything I can do to imporve my credit for the VA home loan?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mike,
      Yes, Veterans United has created a free program for people who have scores below 620: https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      They will work with you from start to finish to help you get in a position to qualify for the VA home loan.
      Samantha

  33. john
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    I have read a few comments on here.. All I hear is repair your credit with them! Credit repair!! You can dispute your own credit report and I was reading some post here where VA required a 620 credit score! Well, thats not true its the bank or Leander that requires a min 620. VA will support your loan with any credit score Cuz you are a veteran!! Im a homeless veteran with a family, I had a 700 on credit score but since I was out the army with my disability and it took VA to pay me about 7 months my credit score when down to 500. Nobody care what happen to you or why you didnt pay your bills. Its all about your credit score.. And get help for homeless veteran is really hard too! Now I have the income but my credit score is bad!! Gave up 16 yrs of my life for this country and now I need help I cant get any!!!

  34. Joy
    Posted June 16, 2014 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Hello, my dad (who is a veteran)and I are interested in purchasing a home together. Would we be able to use his VA loan benefit if both of our incomes are needed to qualify for the home that we are interested in? If not, what are our options?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 16, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Hi Joy,
      You can purchase a home together if you intend to both live in the home. But, it’s possible that you would have to put money down because generally if two unmarried people purchase a home together, the Veteran’s eligibility only applies to the veteran. I’d suggest talking with a loan officer about this in more detail so that they can help you determine your options here.
      Samantha

  35. kendall jackson
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    I have a salary of 50000 a year but make about 80000 with bonuses do u think with a median score of 628 can i get approved for a home loan of 249000

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Hi Kendall,
      It really depends on your overall debt-to-income ratio which takes into consideration your income and debts.
      If you want me to connect you with a VA mortgage specialist who can help you run the numbers, I’d be happy to.
      Feel free to email me.
      Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

  36. Tracy
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Hello! My husband and I are looking to purchase a home in Calfornia. My credit score is 684 and I am active duty military. His score is not quite 620. Do we qualify for a VA loan? Do I have to put him on the loan? we were told we both have to be on a VA home loan in the state of California.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Tracy,
      CA is a community property state so both of your debts will have to be considered in the debt-to-income ratio but he doesn’t have to be on the loan. Typically what a loan officer will do is pull both of your credit (to determine debts and score) then if his score isn’t high enough he will remove him as a co-borrower but keep his debts listed.
      Let me know if I can help further!
      Samantha

  37. melissa mehtala
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I have a question. My husband and I are both veterans. He has the 2 year job requirement since I am in school, but I have the better credit score. Could we qualify if we were both on the loan even though his score is not a 620?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Melissa,
      Every applicant on the VA mortgage has to meet the minimum credit score requirements. That being said, we have a program that can help him get his score above a 620 and it’s a totally free service we offer. Here’s the link for our Lighthouse Program: https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      If I can be of further assistance, don’t hesitate to email me.
      Samantha

  38. melissa mehtala
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    With my score being above that.

  39. Barry
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Why is my credit score not my credit score? And why can’t I see the numbers that lenders are using?

    I’ve been using credit monitoring service from Experian on a monthly basis. And while Experian says my scores are between 646 and 658, lenders are telling me my score is 599.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Hi Barry,
      The number you can see on a credit monitoring site is a little different from that a mortgage lender sees because the scores mortgage lenders pull are weighed specifically for mortgage lending risks.
      Samantha

  40. Bea
    Posted June 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    My credit score is below the minimum plus I had a foreclosure two years ago (became ill, lost my job and eventually my savings). Would a 50%+ down payment make a difference as far as approval?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bea,
      Checkout the Lighthouse Program – they’ll work with you to help you get in a position to purchase a home. https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      To qualify for a VA loan you’ll typically need a 620 or higher score. Some lenders may vary on this requirement. A 50%+ down payment would definitely help your situation, but you’d need to qualify first.

      Samantha

  41. Stevie
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Hello

    I’m a single veteran who desperately wants to move my grandmother out of her dilapidated home. My credit score is 639 & hers is in the 700s. She’s retired & I’ve just finished school. I’m about to start a job as a sub-contractor making 40-50k p/yr. What are my options being I haven’t been on the job very long? & how would adding her income to the application influence the process.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      HI Stevie,
      It sounds like you would be best suited by talking with a loan officer about your specific situation as it’s going to be dependent on the details of your job. I’d be happy to connect you with someone if you’d like, or you can call 1-800-VA-LOANS.
      Regarding your grandmother, there would be some restrictions on including her on the mortgage application. I’d see if you can qualify on your own first.
      Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  42. KM
    Posted July 7, 2014 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    My husband (vet) was unemployed for a year when he came back from Afghanistan. I ended up being transferred to another state. I took the transfer as the economy in our prior state was not so good; however, we ended up not being able to sell our last home and ended up with a deed in lieu. That was about 18 months ago. His credit score is in the mid 700′s, and mine is in the mid 600 (they were higher before the DIL :) I make enough that we probably qualify on my income alone; however, he has been employed continuously since we moved (18 months). How does the deed in lieu affect one’s eligibility? Thank you.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 7, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Hi KM,
      It sounds like you are on the right track – regarding the DIL, you typically need to be 2 years out before qualifying. But, there are some exceptions. I’d suggest talking with a lender now though to see if you meet the exception or if you can go ahead and get prequalified to purchase in 6 months.
      Let me know if you’ve got any additional questions.
      Samantha

  43. Tiffany
    Posted July 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I am retiring from the military in six months but want to purchase a home before I get out. I am hearing that the lender will go off of my projected retirement pay, not my current pay is that correct? Also does my credit score have to be a certain number to borrow more than $417,000. Thank you.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 10, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Hi Tiffany,
      They typically wait until you receive your retirement awards statement before being able to calculate your debt-to-income ratio because until you receive the statement you won’t have documentation of the exact amount and the start date.
      Regarding the $417K question – I think it will depend on a few factors – the first is whether you are purchasing in a high cost county and second is what lender you use and they may have differing standards.
      If you’d like me to connect you with a VA mortgage specialist to run through the numbers with you, I’d be happy to.
      Just email me your contact info, state and the best time to call.
      Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  44. Sheryl
    Posted July 13, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I have been working independently the last few years to improve my credit score, but I always still make mistakes and just can’t seem to bring it up. I’ve paid things off (not all but most) and I have a secured credit card but it seems that no one wants to help you get better, how can we improve our scores so we can qualify for a home loan if no one wants to help the under dog.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 14, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      Hi Sheryl,
      Veterans United Home Loans created the Lighthouse Program to help people in situations similar to yours. And it’s completely free for veterans, military service members and their families. Here’s a link: https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      Also, feel free to email me if you have further questions, I’m here to help.
      Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  45. bruce laurence
    Posted July 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    i need a loan of 40000$

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Bruce,
      I’d check with a few different lenders to see who can offer you the lowest closing costs and APR on a loan of this amount. Check out Veterans United Home Loans and maybe a local credit union and bank.
      Let me know if I can help further.
      Samantha

  46. jasmine
    Posted July 15, 2014 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    my husband was in the army and he passed away in 2011. is there a expiration on me getting to use the Va loan?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 16, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jasmine,
      I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. Here’s what the VA says regarding surviving spouse eligibility:
      Spouses

      The spouse of a Veteran can also apply for home loan eligibility under one of the following conditions:
      - Unremarried spouse of a Veteran who died while in service or from a service connected disability, or
      - Spouse of a Servicemember missing in action or a prisoner of war
      - Surviving spouse who remarries on or after attaining age 57, and on or after December 16, 2003
      (Note: a surviving spouse who remarried before December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, must have applied no later than December 15, 2004, to establish home loan eligibility. VA must deny applications from surviving spouses who remarried before December 6, 2003 that are received after December 15, 2004.)
      - Surviving Spouses of certain totally disabled veterans whose disability may not have been the cause of death

      and here’s a link to the info: http://benefits.va.gov/homeloans/purchaseco_eligibility.asp
      Let me know if I can help further, email me anytime.
      Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  47. Roland
    Posted July 27, 2014 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Marine Vet Here, my wife and I have roughly the same credit score in the 550 range. We applied through navy federal for the VA loan. Does anyone know our chances of getting approved.

  48. ra Neter
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

    My legal fees was explained by the attorney I used, would the va try to find out what was the purpose

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 29, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Hello,
      Do you mean the fees an attorney charged to conduct a closing or something different?
      Samantha

  49. FD Perez
    Posted July 29, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Good morning. I had a short sale June 2013. My current FICO score is 683 through Experian. My current salary is $75,000 with bonus potential of $5,000-$7,500. What advice do you have for me as?

    Thanks,

    FDP

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted July 29, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Hello,
      I’d suggest consulting with a loan officer to determine your loan qualification. You are a year out from your short sale so it may be possible for you to move forward now.
      I’d be happy to connect you with a loan officer if you’d like to email me your contact info and the state you want to purchase in.
      Samantha
      samantha@vu.com

  50. Rob
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    If my wife is the veteran and her credit is below 620 and mine the spouse credit is 730 would we qualify?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Rob if your wife is the one with eligibility, she would need to be on the loan. Each person on the loan needs to have a qualifying credit score. So if she’s below 620 she’d need to improve her score in order to qualify. Veterans United has the free Lighthouse Program that can help with that process. Here’s the link to more info: https://lighthouse.veteransunited.com/
      Samantha

  51. Kenneth
    Posted September 9, 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking at securing a VA back loan, the issue is my middle score is 705, I only make about $50,000 my wife make about $70,000 annual but her credit score is in the high 500′s. If she is on the loan application will that hurt our chances of getting approved?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted September 10, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Hi Kenneth,
      All parties on the loan have to meet the minimum credit score requirements set by the lender. So your wife would likely need to get her score up to a 620.
      With that being said, the scores you pull yourself are not the same scores a lender receives when they pull your credit, there may be differences.
      I’d suggest talking with a VA loan specialist to run numbers both ways, with her on and off the loan so that you can determine how to move forward.
      If you decide you want to work on her credit for a while after that, the Veterans United Lighthouse Program can help.
      Samantha

  52. Kathe mangrum
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Can you qualify for a cal vet loan if you owe judgements

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted September 23, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Kathe,
      I’d suggest consulting with a lender who does Cal Vet loans on this one. CalVet loans are different from VA loans in several ways and I don’t have the experience to speak on Cal Vet specifics.
      Samantha

  53. Heather Smith
    Posted September 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    My husband requested his credit score and it came back with 590-685 through 3 different companies. Would he b able to be approved although one company is reporting his credit as lower than a 620? Thank you.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted September 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Heather,
      I’d suggest talking with a VA mortgage specialist at Veterans United Home Loans. The credit scores you pull for yourself are often different than the scores a mortgage lender receives as they are weighted differently. I’d be happy to connect you with a loan officer in your area if you’d like to email me your contact info, or you can call 1-800-VA-LOANS.
      The VA loan doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, but the lenders who lend the money do have certain credit score requirements.
      Here’s some more info on the VA loan:http://www.veteransunited.com/va-loans/
      Feel free to reach out with any questions!
      Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

6 Trackbacks

  1. By How VA Mortgages Avoid The Credit Crunch on July 17, 2013 at 11:01 am

    [...] seems counter-intuitive: The VA loan program succeeds without requirements for big down payments or soaring credit scores, the very things now demanded by many [...]

  2. [...] we’re talking about VA home loans and credit scores, it’s usually a conversation focused on what kind of scores lenders are looking for and what [...]

  3. [...] delinquent or in default on a federally assisted loan cannot meet the VA’s definition of a satisfactory credit risk. And that means VA lenders will be forced to turn you [...]

  4. [...] of the biggest obstacles to getting a VA loan after bankruptcy is a consumer’s credit score. Spending those two years after the discharge working on credit repair is critical, as is making [...]

  5. [...] or secure his own separate financing. Either way, you complete the sale, avoid foreclosure and protect your credit rating and financial [...]

  6. [...] The VA also wants a borrower to be a “satisfactory credit risk,” but, as with income, the agency doesn’t actually have a strict credit standard. [...]

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Samantha Reeves

Samantha Reeves maintains the Veterans United Realty blog for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's leading VA-approved lender. As a prior loan officer, Samantha brings her vast experience dealing with the VA home loan all the way from initial application, to loan funding. She knows how the system works and brings you information and tips on how to make your VA home loan transaction go as smoothly as possible.


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