The VA funding fee is a governmental fee required for many VA borrowers. However, some Veterans are exempt, and the fee varies by VA loan usage and other factors. Here we explore the ins and outs of the VA funding fee, current charts, who's exempt and a handful of unique scenarios.
VA loans offer eligible Veterans and military spouses unique benefits to help them achieve homeownership. From $0 down and no PMI to consistently lower than average interest rates, the VA loan is often one of the best choices on the market today.
To keep this program running for future generations of Veteran homebuyers, the Department of Veterans Affairs requires most borrowers to pay the VA funding fee.
The VA funding fee is a one-time fee paid to the Department of Veterans Affairs. While most Veterans pay 2.3%, this fee ranges from 0.5% to 3.6%, depending on the loan type, if you've used a VA loan before or if you have a down payment greater than 5%.
Want to estimate your VA funding fee? Use this simple VA funding fee calculator.
While the VA requires most borrowers to pay the VA funding fee, not every borrow must. A handful of exemptions exist, including borrowers who receive compensation for service-connected disabilities. View the complete list of exemptions here.
The calculation of the VA Funding Fee depends on several factors, including the type of VA loan, whether the borrower has used the VA loan benefit before and whether there's a down payment. Borrowers with service-connected disabilities and select others might not have to pay it at all.
Historically, regular military members pay slightly lower funding fees than Reservists and National Guard members. However, fees for all military branches are now equal due to the passing of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.
As you'll see in the VA funding fee table for 2023 below, Veterans purchasing with a VA loan for the first time receive a lower fee than subsequent users. Though not required, first-time and subsequent purchasers can decrease the funding fee with a minimum 5% down payment.
The following table shows the current VA funding fee rates on purchase loans for Veterans, active military, Reserves and National Guard members.
|Down Payment||First-Time VA Loan Use||Subsequent VA Loan Use|
|No Down Payment||2.3%||3.6%|
|5% or more||1.65%||1.65%|
|10% or more||1.4%||1.4%|
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The VA has two refinance products: The Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and the VA Cash-Out refinance. The funding fees for each type of VA refinance differ, in part, because of their objectives.
The IRRRL exists to get current VA homeowners into a lower mortgage rate or move from an adjustable rate to a fixed-rate VA loan. The Cash-Out refinance allows qualified Veterans to refinance and extract cash from equity, and it's open to eligible Veterans with VA and non-VA loans.
The funding fee for a Cash-Out refinance is similar to a VA purchase loan, except borrowers cannot lower the VA funding fee by making a down payment or using equity.
The following table shows the VA funding fee rates on VA Cash-Out refinance loans for Veterans, active military, Reserves and National Guard members.
|First Use||After First Use|
Unless otherwise exempt, the VA funding fee for borrowers using the VA streamline refinance (IRRRL) is 0.5% regardless of service history or prior usage.
Not everyone is required to pay the VA funding fee. In fact, some Veterans may have the fee waived entirely. The VA exempts specific borrowers from paying the funding fee on both purchase and refinance loans.
Those exempt from paying the VA funding fee include:
When evaluating funding fee exemptions, lenders will typically look at the Certificate of Eligibility or a Verification of VA Benefits (sometimes referred to as the VA funding fee exemption form).
For Veterans who receive retirement pay instead of VA compensation, lenders can use a copy of the original disability rating notification and financial documents that show the retirement income.
There are situations where the exemption status isn't clear cut. Only the VA can determine funding fee exemptions.
Lenders must collect the funding fee and send it to the VA in cases where the borrower's exemption status isn't confirmed before closing or when the borrower has a disability claim pending at the time of closing.
If the veteran is awarded disability compensation after the loan closes, it may be possible to obtain a refund of the VA Funding Fee.
Mortgage lenders have no control over who must pay the VA funding fee or the specific amount. Your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) typically indicates if you're required to pay the VA funding fee.
Those required to pay the VA funding fee must do so at closing. Your lender is responsible for collecting the funding fee and sending it directly to the VA through their automated system.
VA buyers can pay the VA Funding Fee in one of the following ways:
Typically those required to pay the VA funding fee choose to finance it into the entire loan amount.
For reference, on a typical $200,000 loan, a regular military Veteran using a VA loan for the first time would borrow an additional $4,600 to cover the funding fee.
When two Veterans with VA loan entitlement get a loan together, the funding fee is still in play. But it can wind up working a bit differently in these relatively uncommon cases. A primary consideration is who's contributing VA loan entitlement.
If two Veterans contribute entitlement, but one of them is exempt from paying the funding fee, the funding fee on their loan is cut in half. If the same set of Veterans seek a VA loan, but the exempt veteran is not contributing entitlement, their loan would carry the full funding fee.
Last, VA loan assumptions come with a 0.5% funding fee.
Talk with a Veterans United loan specialist if you have questions about VA loan closing costs, including the funding fee.
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