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Getting a VA Loan After Foreclosure

Going through a foreclosure can devastate your credit score, but it doesn't mean you have to wait years to buy another home.

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According to credit scoring firm FICO, consumers could see their scores plummet by as many as 160 points following a foreclosure. It can take years for a prospective borrower's credit profile to recover fully.

In most cases, there is a required waiting period.

For VA buyers, the good news is the VA loan's more flexible credit requirements allow qualified Veterans to bounce back significantly faster after a foreclosure than buyers seeking conventional financing.

What is a VA Loan Foreclosure?

Foreclosures happen when a lender seizes and repossesses a home after the borrower fails to meet their repayment obligation. A VA loan foreclosure is the same as a foreclosure on a home financed with a conventional loan, the only difference being that the property is backed by the VA.

Can You Get a VA Loan After Foreclosure?

It is possible to get a VA loan after foreclosure. Typically Veterans will go through a two-year seasoning period before being eligible.

The VA Loan Foreclosure Process

Foreclosure is one potential outcome once a homeowner defaults on their mortgage obligation. Foreclosure is essentially a legal process where the lender takes back their collateral. In some states, it involves going to court, while others don't require a judge's involvement.

Rather than go through the time and money it takes to formally foreclose, some lenders may offer alternatives to foreclosure, such as deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or a short sale.

A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure occurs when homeowners are allowed to deed the property back to the lender rather than endure full foreclosure proceedings. With a short sale, a lender allows you to sell the home for less than you owe. These are still negative credit events that can seriously hurt your credit profile.

And each of these can carry its own required waiting period, which you might also hear called a "seasoning period." Basically, it means you'll need to wait a certain number of months or years before being able to obtain another home loan.

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VA Foreclosure Seasoning Periods

Regarding foreclosures and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure, you're typically looking at a minimum two-year wait before being able to qualify for a VA loan. Homeowners who've experienced a qualifying financial hardship may be able to obtain financing sooner. Policies on that will vary by lender and loan type.

Some lenders may treat short sales the same as foreclosures, meaning a two-year seasoning period is required. Guidelines and policies can vary among lenders.

For comparison, buyers seeking conventional financing will often need to wait seven years after a foreclosure and four years following a deed-in-lieu or a short sale.

Other Default Challenges

Things can be more difficult for prospective borrowers who've lost a government-backed FHA loan to foreclosure.

Default or delinquency on federal loans can be a problem for VA lenders. Homebuyers who default on FHA loans may need to wait three years before being able to close on a VA home loan.

In addition, homeowners who've obtained a loan modification to avoid default may also encounter a two-year seasoning period before being able to close on a new VA loan. Guidelines can vary by lender.

Foreclosure & VA Loan Entitlement

Borrowers who've lost a VA loan to foreclosure will have reduced VA loan entitlement, which will limit how much they can borrow without making a down payment. But that previous foreclosure doesn't automatically preclude them from using this hard-earned benefit again once they're past the two-year mark.

Some borrowers may have some basic VA loan entitlement remaining, while others may be able to purchase again using their second-tier entitlement.

When the time comes, lenders will consult a borrower's Certificate of Eligibility to help determine how much entitlement is remaining.

That, along with where in the country you're buying, will help lenders calculate how much you can borrow before possibly needing a down payment.

Veterans United loan specialists can help you with post-foreclosure financing.

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