California VA Loan Requirements & Eligibility
The VA loan program allows for $0 down financing, which is great for California Veterans and active duty military personnel. Who is eligible for this program, and what does it take to verify your eligibility?
These are important questions, which we’ve tried to answer below. California Veterans with active duty service (who were not dishonorably discharged) during World War II and later periods are eligible for VA loan benefits. Veterans must have at least 90 days of service during wartime:
- World War II (September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam era (August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975)
There are many veterans who served for short periods of time 30 years ago who even now do not realize they are eligible for a VA loan. Veterans and active duty military personnel who served during peacetime must have had more than 180 days of active service.
Veterans of enlisted service starting after September 7, 1980, or officers with service beginning after October 16, 1981, must in most cases have served at least 2 years.
Reserves & National Guard service members are also eligible after 6 years of service in selected reserves even if they have not been on active duty.
Credit Requirements for a VA loan in California
The VA does not require that you have a certain credit score in order for approval. However, VA does not actually make loans, they just insure a portion of the loan.
Most lenders, including Direct VA mortgage loan lenders in California, are allowed to set their own minimum credit requirements for California VA mortgage loan.
Eligibility Documentation or a California VA Loan
There are three specific pieces of documentation a lender will need to determine your eligibility:
- A DD214 for discharged veterans.
- A statement of service for active military personnel. Active Duty military are able to get this through their base or commanding officer.
- A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to determine you have VA entitlement. Your California VA lender or loan officer can get this for you very quickly if you can provide one of the two items listed above.
Because each lender has different qualifying guidelines, the next step is to contact your California VA lender to find out if you meet their VA loan requirements such as minimum FICO/credit scores, debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, and find out what your California county’s maximum 100% VA loan amount is.
Lastly, if you have either had a divorce, filed bankruptcy, or had a previous home go into foreclosure, you are not immediately disqualified from a VA loan, although there are some additional restrictions. Most California VA lenders adhere to general VA guidelines, which allow VA financing only two years after a foreclosure, short sale, or bankruptcy.
You can find more information regarding these topics in these related articles
There are many ways in which a getting a divorce can have an impact on California VA loans. Let’s go ahead and start off with the basics. First, let's look at a scenario where the California VA loan is only applied for under the veteran’s name. The VA loan guaranty...read more
Many California veterans today wonder whether or not they can get a VA loan if they have recently been through a foreclosure. Fortunately, the VA qualifying guidelines do allow for veterans and military personnel to qualify for a VA loan after a foreclosure, but with...read more
If you’re wondering whether or not you can get a VA loan in California after a recent bankruptcy, you’re not alone. With the recent economic recession just barely behind us, many veterans and military personnel are now in the position of looking for a new mortgage...read more