What is a VA Home Loan?

VA loans are mortgages that are guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs, aka the VA. These loans were introduced toward the end of World War II as part of the GI Bill of Rights. The feature that sets them apart from most other mortgages is that they’re often available with no down payment. VA loans were a major factor in the rise of homeownership in the postwar era, and they continue to offer desirable housing to service members, veterans and their families today.

Types of VA Home Loans

VA loans are available for the initial purchase of a home, and they can also be used for refinancing. Here are three types of VA loans.

  • A VA purchase loan can be used to buy, build or improve a home. This can be a detached single-family home, a condo in a VA-approved project, a manufactured home or even a lot on which you intend to build.
  • A VA Streamline Refinance Loan (IRRRL), commonly called a VA streamline refinance, replaces an existing VA Loan. If interest rates have dropped since your original purchase, or if your financial situation and credit status have improved, you may be able to obtain better terms than with your present loan.
  • A VA Cash-Out Refinance Loan allows you to turn the equity in your home into cash. It can be used to replace conventional loans and FHA loans as well as to refinance VA loans. You can use the cash to pay medical expenses, retire high-interest loans or for any other purpose that fits your needs.

VA Home Loan Benefits

The zero down payment is the most touted benefit of VA loans, but it’s hardly the only one. Other advantages include:

  • Lower interest rates than traditional financing.
  • More flexible loan qualifying requirements.
  • No requirement to purchase private mortgage insurance.
  • Limited closing costs.
  • No penalty for early repayment.
  • No restrictions on when or how you can sell the home.
  • A mortgage that can be assumed by a VA-eligible buyer.
  • For cash-out refinance loans, you can borrow up to 90 percent and sometimes 100 percent of the home value.

All in all, VA loans are more affordable than other mortgages and allow a family to conserve money for other purposes.

Who is eligible for a VA Home Loan in Wisconsin?

To qualify for Wisconsin VA mortgage loan, you must obtain a certificate of eligibility (COE) and meet the lender’s standards for mortgage borrowers.

Eligible borrowers include active service members who have served at least 90 continuous days. For veterans, national guard and reserve, eligibility requirements depend on when you served.

You can request a COE through your mortgage lender or directly by mail. Your lender may be able to use an online system known as Web LGY, or you can fill out a VA form called Request for Certificate of Eligibility and send it in.

Even if you’re eligible for a loan and have the COE, you still have to meet the criteria your lender sets for its mortgagees. The VA doesn’t have a required credit score, but most lenders like to see a score above 620. Even if yours is lower, an experienced mortgage lender can often work with you or help you improve your score.

How Do Wisconsin VA Home Loans Work?

The VA doesn’t lend money directly. Instead, the loans are made by banks, credit unions and other mortgage lenders. The VA guarantees part of the loan, which substitutes for the down payment. The VA reimburses the lender if the loan defaults. With a VA home loan Wisconsin is similar to most other states.

All VA mortgages require an appraisal by a VA-certified appraiser. This ensures that the house is in sound condition and is being sold at a fair market value. The VA maintains a list of minimum property requirements (MPRs) that the home must meet.

Typically you will have to pay in advance for your appraisal. The cost depends on the state and the type of dwelling: single-family home, condo, etc. For Wisconsin VA mortgage loans, costs ranged from $575-$825 as of December 2021.

What is the VA Loan Limit in Wisconsin?

In 2020, VA loan limits were eliminated for borrowers who have full VA loan entitlement. However, service members and veterans who have current VA loans or who have defaulted on a VA loan may be subject to the limits. These limits apply to loans without down payments. In most parts of the country, the 2024 limit is $766,550. It’s higher in high-cost-of-living locales.

While there are websites with lookup features for limits by county, the limit for all Wisconsin counties is $766,550. Bear in mind that this limit may not apply to your particular Wisconsin VA loan.

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Apply for a VA Home Loan in Wisconsin Today

You have many options to assist you in your VA mortgage loans in Wisconsin, but Griffin Funding stands apart with its personalized assistance and knowledgeable loan specialists to guide you through the process. We can get you a loan with competitive interest rates and payments that fit your budget.

We recognize the dedication and sacrifice of service members and veterans, and we take pride in the work we do for them. Our commitment to veterans goes beyond providing mortgages; we also partner with Shelter to Soldier, a San Diego-based non-profit that rescues shelter dogs and trains them as service animals for veterans who have been affected by PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

You can check our website for more resources about Griffin Funding VA loans. As VA mortgage experts, we can often offer loans that exceed the VA county limit. We can frequently help veterans borrow 100 percent of the home’s value in a cash-out refinance loan. Make your VA loan Wisconsin homeowner dream a reality. Contact us today to talk to one of our experts, or start filling out an application.