When it comes to VA benefits, many are aware that they can be applied toward helping to pay for college and other post-secondary training. Many are also aware that VA benefits can assist with accessing healthcare and with helping to pay for a home. When it comes to the latter, however, many are not aware of the details of how the VA can assist with purchasing a home or how those guidelines are somewhat different for those who live in Hawaii.
Obtaining Home Loans
One of the benefits that the VA provides to members of the military is assistance with obtaining a home loan. These benefits are available to active members of the military, as well as to Veterans and to their surviving spouses. These loans are technically provided to private lenders who then provide you with the loan that you need to make your purchase. In this way, a portion of the loan is backed and guaranteed by the VA. Not only does this guarantee your approval, but it also helps you to obtain better terms.
Several different mortgage loan programs are available through the VA. These include:
- Purchase Loans and Cash-Out Refinance: You must meet certain credit and income requirements in order to qualify for these loans, which are used to help you purchase or refinance your home.
- Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan: This loan can only be used to refinance an existing VA loan. It is typically used to help reduce interest rates or monthly payments.
- Native American Direct Loan Program: Assists Native America Veterans with purchasing a home. It may also be used to help with constructing a home, improving a home or refinancing a home on Native American trust lands.
- Adapted Housing Grants: Assists with paying for housing adaptations for Veterans who are permanently disabled as a result of their military service.
When it comes to obtaining the first of these loans, the mortgage loan used to purchase a home, there are certain limits placed on the size of the loan you can receive. Since the cost of housing is higher in Hawaii than it is in most of the other states in the country, this cap is set at a higher rate. For 2019, the VA Loan Limit was set at $726,525 on all of the islands. For Oahu, this represents a $5,000 increase as compared to last year. Of course, you can purchase a home at a price that is above this limit, but you will have to make a down payment to cover the difference.
Keeping Up with Your Payments
While you are obviously expected to repay your VA loans, the VA knows that you may experience financial trouble at some point after you have purchased your home. For this reason, the VA has Regional Loan Centers that you can contact in order to receive financial counseling. This counseling service, which is designed to help you avoid foreclosure, can be contacted by calling 1-877-827-3702.