There is no question that VA Home Loans are the best mortgage option on the market for veterans looking for homeownership. Unlike FHA Mortgages, which force families to put 3.5% into the loan as a down payment, VA Home Loans give servicemen and women financial freedom from having to save a large portion of their dream home’s value. Interest rates can be debated with your lender and there are no mortgage insurance premiums, so you can get the home loan that meets your budget.

VA Home Loan Requirements have not changed in 2021 in comparison to previous years, but for first-time borrowers, it is important for them to understand what they are. At VA Loans for Vets, my job is to walk with you through every step of the VA Home Loan process so your family can make an informed decision.

If you or a loved one are excited about the incredible benefits offered by VA Home Loans but do not know what the requirements are for 2021, I can help with that. Let me simplify part-by-part what Veterans Affairs and lenders are looking for, so you can begin your home buying journey today!

Specific VA Requirements

In order to obtain a VA Home Loan, there are specific requirements laid out by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that must be met in order to start working with a lender. Since your VA home loan specialist is only a participant in the government program, you need to partner alongside them first. Their main role in terms of the loan itself is to guarantee an “entitlement” or portion of the loan amount that the United States government will pay.

Depending upon your current and past military service as well duration and branch service, Veterans Affairs will determine whether you meet the VA Home Loan Requirements for eligibility:

Active Duty

For those who have previously served the United States military in peacetime, they must have had at least 181 days under active duty. Wartime veterans had to have served in active duty for at least 90 days. Finally, servicemen and women who have active duty status in the present must have served 90 continuous days at a minimum.

National Guard or Reserves

These branches of the military have their own special VA Home Loan Requirements as opposed to the Army, Navy, and Air Force. These members need to prove at least six years of dedicated service in their field.

Discharge and Spouses

In most cases, Veterans Affairs will not allow veterans who were honorably discharged to obtain VA Home Loans, although this does not extend to all discharge cases. Those who were released from service as a result of hardship meet VA requirements. Surviving spouses (not remarried) of a deceased veteran can also qualify for the loan program as long as their death was due to a “service-connected disability” or their service.

Lender VA Requirements

Although VA Home Loans are programs sponsored by the United States government, these loans do not originate from there. Veterans Affairs can guarantee you an entitlement on your loan amount, but the brunt of it is led by your chosen VA-approved lender. This means they get to decide any additional VA Home Loan Requirements beyond what Veterans Affairs needs.

Each private lender has its own policies on credit scores, debt-to-income ratio, and other VA requirements for 2021. Thankfully, there are general patterns that emerge, which are excellent benchmarks for what you can expect from your lender.

Credit Score

While Veterans Affairs does not have any credit score requirements to obtain a VA Home Loan, many participating mortgage lenders will consider this a primary factor for whether you are eligible for their loan. The VA Mortgage Center recommends that excited homebuyers have a credit score of 600 or higher to have confidence in positive lender feedback.

However, at VA Loans for Vets, my desire is to equip my clients with the information they need to get the best interest rates and loan limits possible, going beyond meeting loan requirements. To maximize your VA Home Loan and decrease the funding fee, I advise veterans that work with me to raise their credit score to 720 or higher.

Debt-To-Income Ratio

Not all veterans understand that lenders pay special attention to this category since it determines the level of risk involved in their investment in your home. Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI) is your monthly expenses subtracted from your gross monthly income. They track to see whether you are a responsible leader in your finances and how well you handle your money.

A majority will not qualify you for their VA Home Loan if the DTI is above 41%, although there is variation among lenders since each has their own policies. I would be honored to sit down with you in my office to discuss what my Debt-To-Income Ratio requirement is so you will be eligible for the highest VA loan limit.

Primary Residency

Since the VA Home Loan offers surpassing benefits over the traditional FHA Mortgages, many veterans wonder if they are able to use it to finance a future vacation house or investment property. Lenders, however, require that your family establishes main residency at the home under your finance loan.

VA Documentation

Once you have met the 2021 VA Home Loan Requirements for both Veterans Affairs and your lenders, there are two important documents necessary to start your home buying journey. These involve collaboration with both parties as well as searching through your personal military documentation.


The DD-214 form is necessary for lenders to have on hand so they can examine your military service and see whether you are eligible for a VA Home Loan. Veterans already are aware of the respect this document carries and many keep a copy for themselves. If you by chance misplaced your DD-214 paperwork, you can order another from The United States National Archives at any time.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

This document is the other crucial requirement that once complete, will free your VA Home Loan Specialist to partner with you to find the best loan amount and interest rates on the market. A COE request must be sent to the Federal Government in order to receive it after your DD-214 form has been sent to your lender. Another option for military parents with busy work and family lives is to allow me to obtain the COE on your behalf to save you the trouble.

Rodger Me with Your VA Home Loan Requirement Questions

No veteran should ever feel overwhelmed by the specific VA and lender requirements that make the home buying process extremely difficult. I desire to educate my clients on VA Home Loans so they are not pressured to rush into anything. The best part of my job is to watch informed military personnel and their families make a wise, informed choice about their future home.

Again, for veterans, whether in active duty or not, VA Home Loans are the financially smart option to obtain permanent home ownership, unlike traditional FHA mortgages and purchase loans. My mission at VA Loans for Vets is to help military servicemen and women, as well as their families, find the home of their dreams in the great country they call home.

I am always available to walk you through the home buying process and be your trusted advisor for VA Home Loans. Rodger me with your questions and concerns at 602.908.5849 or reach me at my online contact form so we can help you apply for a VA Home Loan today!