The VA home loan is a lifetime benefit for Veterans, meaning there are no limits to how many times you can use a VA loan.
One of the most common questions from borrowers who have purchased a home with a VA loan is if they are able to use their benefit again. Fortunately, there is no limit on the number of times a Veteran can use the loan program. It’s a lifelong benefit for those who have served our country.
Getting a second VA loan does, however, require a look at your VA loan entitlement. But what exactly does that mean, and how can it affect your chances of qualifying? Let’s dive in.
There are no limits to how many times you can use a VA loan. Eligible Veterans can restore and reuse their entitlement again and again as long as they qualify with a VA loan lender.
Every Veteran and active service member who meets the VA's service requirements has something called a VA loan entitlement.
Entitlement can be a bit confusing, even for those working in the mortgage industry, but the most common definition is that it’s a specific amount the Department of Veterans Affairs will repay a mortgage lender if the borrower fails to make their payments (also called defaulting on their loan). This protection is called the VA loan guaranty.
Eligible Veterans in most parts of the country enjoy the following:
In more expensive housing markets, there are usually higher entitlement amounts.
Let VAMortgageCenter connect you with a home loan specialist to guide you through your entitlement questions and calculate your remaining entitlement.
When a qualified borrower purchases a home through the VA loan program, they use some or all of their entitlement. The VA typically guarantees a quarter of the loan amount, so borrowers usually utilize a quarter of their entitlement when purchasing.
To fully restore entitlement, a VA borrower must sell the home and pay off the loan in full. But there is one exception: If the mortgage is paid off, it is possible to use a one-time restoration benefit and keep the home for use as a rental property or vacation home.
One of the biggest benefits of the VA home loan program is that it lasts a lifetime. Even if a Veteran has used most or all of their entitlement to purchase a home, that entitlement can be fully restored once the loan is repaid in full. Just submit an application requesting your entitlement be restored.
To sum it up, there are two ways to restore your VA entitlement:
It's possible to have more than one VA loan at the same time. To do this, you would need to use your remaining entitlement for the second loan — also called second-tier entitlement.
This approach is often used by:
Your Certificate of Eligibility will detail how much of your entitlement remains. This is the amount you’d be eligible to have guaranteed by the VA on your second loan.
If there’s not enough to cover the loan you’re looking for, you may be able to qualify by making a down payment (often a smaller one than you’d pay on other types of mortgage loans). VA loans also do not require mortgage insurance, another way you’ll save over other loan options.
The government charges a funding fee on each VA loan in order to keep the program afloat. This fee is a percentage of the loan amount and can vary based on the loan type, your military service, and how many times you've used the program.
Here how the VA funding fee generally breaks down for second-time users:
VA borrowers with a service-connected disability are exempt from paying the VA funding fee.