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Home loans backed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can be an excellent option for home financing available to borrowers who qualify. Many VA loan borrowers opt for VA loans for many reasons, including the opportunity to purchase a home with little to no down payment or without monthly private mortgage insurance. But do you still qualify for a joint VA loan with your spouse or family member if they have not served in the United States (U.S.) Armed Forces? Read on to find out.

 

What is a Joint VA Loan?

Whether they are in their first year serving their country, or enjoying civilian life, applying jointly for a VA home loan with a housemate or non-occupying co-signer is a common way that VA loan consumers may manage to afford to apply for a VA loan. They may apply jointly for a VA loan with a party who has not served in the Armed Forces.

Remember that the VA will only guarantee a qualifying veteran’s portion of the loan, and be prepared for the terms your lender offers you to reflect that increased risk. Don’t stress if you are borrowing with your spouse who has not served – the VA treats married couples with one VA entitlement the same as a single person for purposes of VA home lending eligibility. This means the term “joint VA loan” is more likely to refer to a scenario where veteran Josh purchases a 2-family home with his civilian wife, Monica, and his civilian brother, Adam, than if Josh and Monica were to purchase a home without Adam.

 

Who is Eligible to Apply for a Joint VA Loan?

What do you need to do to qualify for a joint VA loan on your home? According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, to use the benefit of any member of the Armed Forces who has served since August 2, 1990, one or both joint VA loan applicants must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. They are a member of the Armed Forces, National Guard, Reserves, or they are a veteran. They have served either 24 continuous months, or 90 days of active duty,
  2. They are a veteran who has been discharged for a service-related disability,
  3. You are the surviving spouse of a qualifying veteran, or of a service member who is missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW).

Consumers may apply for joint VA home loans whether all applicants have served for the appropriate length of time, or if only one applicant has VA home loan eligibility.

 

Other Important Items to Remember About Joint VA Loans

You may apply for a VA home loan at many lenders. Some lenders focus on lending to veteran borrowers and may be able to help you with steps like retrieving your certificate of eligibility.

Remember that adding a new co-applicant to your joint VA loan is not a shortcut to approval. The income, assets, and credit history of all applicants will be assessed by your lender before they make a home lending decision to you and your co-borrowers. Communicating with your loan officer early and often about roadblocks in the home loan approval process can help you avoid significant problems down the line.

Remember also before adding a co-applicant to your joint VA home loan that you will be liable for their share of the mortgage payment in the event that your co-applicant fails to make it. This is a good reason to only sign onto a mortgage with a party you trust, lest you be left with a home you cannot afford.

 

Resources for Prospective VA Borrowers

Remember there is no substitute for a loan officer in your corner. Speak to members of your community about their home lending experience and ask if they would recommend their lender for a joint VA loan application. Check out reviews and do the research you need to do to be informed and comfortable with a big financial step like purchasing a home for you and your loved ones.

This information is intended for educational purposes only. Products and interest rates subject to change without notice. Loan products are subject to credit approval and include terms and conditions, fees and other costs. Terms and conditions may apply. Property insurance is required on all loans secured by property. VA loan products are subject to VA eligibility requirements. Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) interest rates and monthly payment are subject to adjustment. Upon submission of a full application, a mortgage banker will review and provide you with the terms, conditions, disclosures, and additional details on the interest rates that apply to your individual situation.

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