Gustan Cho Associates has prepared this comprehensive guide about VA home loan requirements for our potential clients and viewers. In this guide on VA home loan requirements, we will discuss and cover every aspect of VA home loan requirements for first-time homebuyers, borrowers with bad credit, borrowers with high debt-to-income ratio, home buyers with a prior bankruptcy and foreclosure, homebuyers with late payments, and dozens of other case scenarios. You will not find a more comprehensive guide about VA home loan requirements other than the one we have prepared. We will also share the most frequently asked questions from our clients about VA home loan requirements and the steps in getting approved for VA loans with bad credit.

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About VA Loans

U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt endorsed and signed the Servicemen Readjustment Act in 1944.  The Servicemen Readjustment Act is also known as the GI Bill of Rights. In 1944,  The GI Bill of Rights’ purpose was to provide help to United States veterans as well as their family members by promoting that the dream of homeownership can be a reality.  The way the veterans and their families can realize the reality of homeownership is through VA loans, which are federally guaranteed home loans with no down payment required as long as the veteran meets the VA lending guidelines.

One of the greatest rewards our government gives our military veterans is that they offer VA Loans to a member who meets VA Home Loans. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has offered VA Home Loans with 100% financing to our veterans for decades. VA Loans is the best loan program available in this country today, however, only veterans with a COE can qualify for this great loan program. The Department of Veteran Affairs determines the VA Home Loans on who qualifies for VA Loans. The issuance of a valid Certificate of Eligibility by the VA is determined by several factors. Factors such as whether or not the veteran served in war or peacetime and the years of service are taken into consideration for eligibility purposes.

VA Home Loan Requirements for 2022

Thank you veterans for your service. We are grateful for all you do for keeping us safe. Let us help you to secure a VA loan for your home purchase. We have no lender overlays and lenient requirements on VA loans.  VA loans are not for everyone. The U.S. government created and launched VA loans to thank the members of our society for their service to our country during peacetime and wartime. VA loans have the most lenient guidelines than any other mortgage loan program. We will keep on updating this VA loan eligibility requirements guide as changes occur.

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Who Makes The VA Home Loan Requirements?

One of the frequently asked questions is who makes the VA home loan requirements. Great question. The Veterans Administration and the individual mortgage lender. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the government agency that administers VA home loan requirements and sets the guidelines for eligibility for active duty, retired veterans, and spouses of deceased eligible members. It is very beneficial for veterans using their VA eligibility for the first time to thoroughly read this guide.

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Qualifying VA Loans During Service Periods

Eligibility for qualifying for VA loan during wartime periods of services is listed below:

  • Vietnam era: Wartime period between 08/05/1964 through 05/07/1975
  • Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq periods of service between 08/02/1990 to present
  • Veteran Administration eligibility requires that the candidate must complete 90 days or more on active duty service

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible For A VA Loan?

VA Home Loans For Eligibility During Peacetime Periods Of Services:

  • Period of peacetime services between 05/08.1975 to 08/01/1990
  • The veteran must have completed at least 181 days of continuous active duty military service.
  • For military reserve members and members of the National Guard, they must have completed at least six years as members of the Selected Reserves
  • Spouses of a prisoner of war or missing in action veteran is eligible as long as they have been a prisoner of war or missing in action for at least 90 days

What Is The Lowest Credit Score I Can Have To Buy a House With a VA Loan?

The individual mortgage lender can have their own VA home loan requirements called lender overlays. If you get denied for a VA loan, you need to find out whether it was due to you not meeting the agency guidelines or due to the lender overlays. We will outline and cover all of the VA home loan requirements so you know if you get denied by a lender, you will realize whether you got denied due to not meeting the VA agency guidelines or due to lender overlays.

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VA Loan Eligibility Requirements

Gustan Cho Associates has no lender overlays on VA mortgage loans. Lender overlays are additional mortgage lending requirements that are above and beyond the agency mortgage guidelines of the VA. Gustan Cho Associates will just go off the minimum VA loan guidelines and has no lender overlays. The following are the key bullet points homebuyers should keep in mind. Not all VA lenders are the same. Even though VA home loans are government-backed loans, each lender has its own VA home loan requirements that can be higher lending guidelines than the minimum agency guidelines. These higher lending guidelines by individual private lenders are called lender overlays. Therefore, if you do not qualify for a VA loan with one lender, you can qualify and get approved with a different lender with no lender overlays on VA loans. It is very important for veterans to understand the minimum VA agency guidelines of the Veterans Administration.

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What Are The Minimum VA Agency Guidelines from the Veterans Administration 

We have outlined the main VA agency mortgage guidelines from the Veterans Administration for veterans to keep in mind when they are applying for a VA home loan. Remember, if you meet the following VA Home Loans below, you will qualify for a VA home loan with a mortgage lender with no lender overlays. VA loans are available for eligible homebuyers with a certificate of eligibility.

What Credit Score Do I Need To Qualify For a VA Loan?

There are no minimum credit score requirements on VA loans with an approve/eligible per the automated underwriting system (AUS). Homebuyers can qualify for VA loans with credit scores down to 500 FICO with an approve/eligible per AUS and/or manual underwriting. The key to getting an automated underwriting system findings approval is to have been timely on all of your monthly payments in the past 12 months. Homebuyers who cannot get an approve/eligible but get a refer/eligible per automated underwriting system (AUS) are eligible for manual underwriting. Manual underwriting guidelines apply.

What Is Manual Underwriting on VA Home Loans?

To be eligible for manual underwriting, you need to have been timely on all of your monthly payments for the past 24 months. Gustan Cho Associates can accept timely payments for the past 12 months for manual underwriting.

Can I Get Approved For VA Loans With Collection Accounts?

Veterans can qualify for VA home loans with collections, charged-off accounts, and derogatory credit as long as they have been timely in the past 12 months on all of their monthly debt payments.

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What Are The Steps To Applying For a VA Home Loan?

The first step of qualifying and getting a pre-approval on a VA loan is to get a certificate of eligibility (COE).  To receive this certificate, the borrower must file VA Form 26-1880, Request for Determination of Eligibility and Available Loan Guaranty Entitlement. Spouses of Veterans and service members who have died while on duty in the service or have died because of a disability due to the result of serving in the armed services may also be eligible by the Department of Veteran Affairs. You then have to choose a lender.

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How Can You Receive a Certificate of Eligibility From the Veterans Administration?

To receive a certificate of eligibility from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, the VA Loan borrower must have filed a VA Form 26-1880 for Determination of Eligibility and Available Loan Guaranty Entitlement. First, a borrower must have a certificate of eligibility from the VA in order to obtain a loan. The team at Gustan Cho Associates can help borrowers obtain the CEO and help you start the homebuying and mortgage process. Gustan Cho Associates are experts on VA loans. Not all mortgage lenders have the same lending requirements on VA loans. WE will explain the reason why one lender has a higher lending requirement over another in the paragraph below.

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VA Home Loans For Active Duty Military Personnel

Veterans who served on active duty in the following branches of the U.S. Military with a military discharge other than dishonorable discharge are eligible for VA Loans:

  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Navy,
  • The United States Marine Corps
  • United States Coast Guard

Soldiers who are currently in the military and on active duty are eligible to qualify for VA Loans if they have served for at least 90 or more days without any gaps in employment. For veterans who did not have wartime service during the Persian Gulf Era, at least 181 days of active duty service is necessary to qualify for VA Loans.

The Following Are The Time Of Service VA Home Loans

Here are the VA Eligibility Requirements:

  • Served 90 or more days during wartime
  • The veteran has served at least 181 or more continuous days during peacetime

VA Home Loans On Two-Year Rule

Here is the VA Home Loans on the TWO-YEAR RULE:

If the veteran:

  • Has enlisted and/or began their military service after 7 September 1980 and/or
  • Where an officer of the U.S. Military and started serving our country on 16 October 1981

Then the following conditions need to be met:

  • The veteran must have served at least 24 months or more and/or
  • The veteran’s service of serving on active duty cannot be less than 90 continuous days during wartime or less than 181 continuous days during peacetime

Serving During Wartime Versus Peacetime

The Department of Veteran Affairs differentiates service during wartime and peacetime when determining the issuance of the VA Certificate of Eligibility. VA Home Loans on service during wartime versus peacetime are as follows:

During World War II:

  • Wartime is from periods of September 16, 1940, through July 25, 1947, and during peacetime are from July 26, 1947, to June 26, 1950

During the Korean War Period:

  • The wartime timeline is service from June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955. Peacetime is from February 1, 1955, to August 4, 1964

Vietnam War Period:

  • The wartime period of service is from August 5, 1964, until May 7, 1975. Vietnam War Era Peacetime service is from May 8, 1975, until August 1, 1990

Persian Gulf War Conflict Period:

  • The wartime service period is considered from August 2, 1990, until ++++( Not determined yet )

Can I Get a VA Loan With Bad Credit?

Eligible veterans with a certificate of eligibility (COE) can qualify for a VA home loan with bad credit. You do not have to pay outstanding collection account balances to qualify for a VA loan. VA only cares that you have been timely on all of your payments for the past 12 months. Eligible retired and/or active members and eligible surviving spouses of veterans of the U.S. Armed Services can qualify for VA loan programs at Gustan Cho Associates with zero lender overlays.

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What Are The Minimum Requirements For A VA Home Loan?

Not all lenders have the same lending requirements on VA loans due to lender overlays. GCA Mortgage has zero lender overlays on VA loans. Over 75% of our clients could not qualify at other lenders due to overlays, last-minute mortgage denial, or stress during the mortgage process. Most borrowers get qualified and closed at Gustan Cho Associates with zero stress. Gustan Cho Associates are mortgage brokers licensed in 48 states including Washington DC and Puerto Rico (Not licensed yet in MA and NY). As with other government loan programs like FHA and USDA, there are mortgage lending guidelines with VA loans with respect to minimum credit score requirements and debt-to-income ratio requirements. We are a no overlay VA mortgage lender. As long as you get an approve/eligible per the Automated Underwriting System, you will close on your VA loan.

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Who Qualifies For A VA Loan?

Not all members of the U.S. Military can qualify for a VA loan. You need to have a certificate of eligibility (COE) in order to be eligible for VA loans. Active and/or retired members of the U.S. Military with a certificate of eligibility (COE) will qualify for a VA loan. Below are the eligibility VA loan guidelines. The veteran must have served 181 days of active service during peacetime. Veterans must have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime. Or, the veteran must serve more than 6 years of service with the National Guard or Reserves and/or served at least 90 days under Title 32 with at least 30 of those days being consecutive. Just because you have served does not automatically entitle you to VA home loan benefits.

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How Hard Is It To Get A VA Loan?

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Can You Get Approved For a VA Loan After Being Denied?

There are many cases where some borrowers get approved for a VA home loan with a particular lender while others get denied even though they meet the minimum VA home loan requirements of the VA. Many people who are eligible for a VA home loan and meet all of the VA home loan requirements of the VA get denied by many lenders who have lender overlays. This is often the case when the borrower has low credit scores, prior bad credit, collections, charged-off accounts, high DTI, and other credit/income issues.

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How Can I Find a Lender To Approve Me on a VA Loan After Being Denied?

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Best Mortgage Lenders For VA Loans After Being Denied

Over 75% of our borrowers are folks who could not qualify at other lenders due to last-minute loan denial, stress during the mortgage process, and not being able to get a hold of their loan officers. We have a national reputation for being able to do loans other lenders cannot do. Gustan Cho Associates is referred to as a One-Stop Mortgage Shop due to having a network of over 170 wholesale mortgage lenders. The team at Gustan Cho Associates strives to get the best of the best service, loan program, rates, and net tangible benefits for our borrowers. We are grateful to our clients and preferred realtor partners for our expanding growth and success. Thank you for your confidence, faith, and trust in Gustan Cho Associates in having us as your mortgage professional for life. The team at Gustan Cho Associates will not let you down.

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Can I Qualify For A VA Loan After Bankruptcy?

Yes, you can qualify for a VA loan after bankruptcy. There are two different types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. The VA guidelines after Chapter 7 bankruptcy are different from Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is very straight forward where the borrower needs to just wait the mandatory two years after the discharge date. You can qualify for a VA loan during and after Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. We will cover and discuss this topic more in detail. We will cover both types of VA home loan requirements after bankruptcy. Borrowers cannot have late payments during and/or after bankruptcy.

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VA Home Loan Requirements After Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Homebuyers can qualify for a VA loan after Chapter 7 Bankruptcy after a two-year waiting period. The waiting period is two years from the discharge date. You need to have rebuilt and re-established credit after the discharge date. No late payments after the discharge date. The bankruptcy does not affect your mortgage rates on your VA loan. Mortgage rates on VA loans are mainly based on credit scores. This is why it is very important to start rebuilding your credit as soon as you get discharged from the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

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VA Loan Guidelines During Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Homebuyers can qualify for VA loans during the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment period one year after they have been in the plan. The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy does not need to be discharged to be eligible for a VA loan. You need to have made twelve timely payments to your Chapter 13 debts. The bankruptcy trustee needs to approve the mortgage. It needs to be a manual underwrite. Gustan Cho Associates are experts in helping veterans get approved and close on VA loans during the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan.

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VA Loans After Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

There is no waiting period requirement after the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy discharged date to qualify for VA home loans. If the discharge date of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is not at least two years old, the file needs to be a manual underwrite. We will cover manual underwriting guidelines on VA loans later in this guide. Verification of rent is required on manual underwrites. The only difference between manual and the automated underwriting system (AUS) findings approval files is the debt-to-income ratio on manual underwriting is limited. The front-end and back-end debt-to-income ratio on manual underwriting is based on the number of compensating factors the borrower has.

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Manual Underwriting Guidelines on VA Loans

VA and FHA loans are the only two mortgage loan programs that allow manual underwriting. Manual underwriting is when a human mortgage underwriter scrutinizes the file more carefully than AUS-approved files. The debt to income ratio on manual underwriting depends on the number of compensating factors. The front-end DTI is 31% and the back-end debt-to-income ratio is 43% with zero compensating factor. With one compensating factor, the front-end DTI is 37% and the back-end DTI is 47%. With two compensating factors, the front-end DTI is 40% and the back-end DTI is 50%.

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Do All Mortgage Lenders Have The Same Rates on VA Loans?

No. Not all mortgage lenders have the same mortgage rates on VA loans. It is wise to shop for the best rates and terms on VA loans with several different lenders and compare the rates, terms, and closing costs. Eligible retired and/or active members and eligible surviving spouses of veterans of the U.S. Armed Services can qualify for VA loan programs at Gustan Cho Associates with zero lender overlays. The United States Department of Veteran Affairs, the VA, backs residential owner occupant home purchase mortgage loans through private mortgage lenders.

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What Type of Property Can I Buy With a VA Home Loan?

Eligible members can purchase a one to four-unit single-family home. There is no maximum loan limit on VA loans. As long as the property purchase price is appraised and the borrower meets the VA loan guidelines, the borrower can purchase any property with no concerns about VA loan limit caps. However, not everyone qualifies for VA mortgages. Only members of the United States Armed Forces with a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) are eligible for VA home loans. Members of the United States Armed Services need to meet the eligibility VA loan guidelines and have been awarded a Certificate of Eligibility in order to qualify for a VA loan.

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How Much Money Do I Need To Buy a House With a VA Loan?

What Does a VA Loan Do?

An eligible homebuyer can qualify for a VA loan with zero down payment. VA loan-approved financial institutions offer 100% financing. There is no annual homeowners insurance premium on VA loans.  Veterans who qualify for VA loans can purchase a home with no money down. Lenders will finance qualified borrowers 100% financing at competitive rates.  To qualify for a VA loan, the home buyer needs to have been honorably discharged from a division of the United States Armed Services and have a certificate of eligibility.

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Eligibility Requirements for VA Loans for 2022

How Much Is The VA Funding Fee?

VA Manual Underwriting Guidelines on VA Loans For 2022

Manual Underwriting is when the Automated Underwriting System does not render an AUS approve/eligible and is a refer/eligible findings. Refer/eligible means the borrower can be eligible but wants to have a human underwriter manually underwrite the loan. There is no difference between AUS versus Manual Underwriting except for a restriction on the debt-to-income ratio.

More on VA Manual Underwriting Guidelines

Mortgage Rates on VA Loans on Manual Underwriting

Not all lenders will do manual underwriting. Gustan Cho Associates are experts on manual underwrites on VA mortgage loans for those who cannot get automated approval.  VA home loans have one of the lowest mortgage rates of any other mortgage loan program.  Zero down payment and no mortgage insurance premium are two of the greatest benefits why veterans should take advantage of VA loans if they have a Certificate of Eligibility.

Can I Buy a House With a VA Loan With Poor Credit?

Mortgage loans that are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration are originated and funded by private mortgage lenders such as banks and mortgage companies that originate and fund owner-occupant home loans.  VA mortgage loans are a great program for veterans who are serving in the U.S. Army,  U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard.  Each branch of service has its own eligibility benefits and is determined by the type of service, the longevity of service, and the character of the service. The VA has created lenient guidelines. There are no minimum credit score requirements on VA home loans. The debt to income ratio is determined by the automated underwriting system.

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How Do I Get Pre-Approved For A VA Loan?

Here are the basic VA agency mortgage guidelines:

  • There are no minimum credit score requirements on VA mortgage loan programs
  • There are no maximum debt-to-income ratio caps as long as the borrower gets an approve/eligible per automated underwriting system (AUS)
  • There is no down payment requirement on a home purchase
  • 100% financing on owner-occupant one to four-unit homes
  • There is no mortgage insurance premium required on VA loans
  • There is no maximum loan limit on VA mortgages

For more information about VA loan mortgage loans, please contact us at Gustan Cho Associates at 262-716-8151 or text us for a faster response. Or email us at [email protected] The team at GCA Mortgage is available 7 days a week, on evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Get Pre-Approved For a VA Loan

Other VA Home Loans For VA COE

Other VA Home Loans For VA COE

Just because a soldier served in the U.S. Military does not mean they automatically qualify for a VA home loan. VA Home Loans with regards to being eligible for VA Loans. Veterans who were discharged due to hardship and/or service-related disability can qualify for VA Loans. Veterans who were discharged from the military for the convenience of the federal government can qualify if they have completed a minimum of 20 months of a 24-month enlistment agreement and/or served no less than 90 days during wartime and/or 181 continuous days during peacetime due to disability that was caused by serving in the armed services. Veterans who were discharged from active duty due to medical conditions, whether to connect or not connected with their service, can qualify for VA Loans. Veterans who received an involuntary discharge by any branch of the armed services from active duty due to the government’s discretion to reduce military personnel and/or due to the following:

  • mental
  • psychological
  • or physical condition that would interfere with their service can qualify for VA Loans as long as their discharge was not related to improper conduct

Unmarried spouses of veterans who are deceased while they were on active duty and/or died due to service-related disabilities can qualify. Unmarried spouses of veterans who are missing in action and/or prisoners of war can qualify for VA Loans

VA Home Loans For Veterans Of Selected Reserves

Members of the Selected Reserves are those who are compensated and paid for training and serving on the reserves. These members are on the Selected Reserve and are called when the government needs additional troops to safeguard our country. Members of the Selective Reserves who would not qualify for VA Loans can qualify if they have completed six years of service in the Selective Reserves without being called to active duty if they meet the following conditions:

  • They have served and got an honorable discharge
  • If they were on the retired list
  • Were transferred to a division of the Ready Reserve and/or Standby Reserve
  • Is continuously serving in the Selective Reserve unit
  • The six years of service need not be continuous to qualify for VA Loan Programs and/or need not be in the same National Guard or Reserve division.
  • Cannot combine active and reserve service to meet the six-year rule

VA Guidelines

VA Guidelines to qualify for VA Loans are the following:

  • No debt to income ratio requirements
  • No credit score requirements
  • 2-year waiting period after Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • 2-year waiting period after Short Sale, Deed In Lieu, Foreclosure
  • Gustan Cho Associates has no lender overlays on VA Loans

Veterans who need a lender with no VA Lender Overlays, contact us at Gustan Cho Associates at 262-716-8151 or text us for a faster response. Or email us at [email protected] The team at Gustan Cho Associates is available 7 days a week, on evenings, weekends, and holidays. The team at Gustan Cho Associates is available 7 days a week, on evenings, weekends, and holidays.


VA Home Loans For Each Individual State:

Alabama | Arkansas | Alaska | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | Nevada | New Mexico | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Oregon | Texas | Vermont | Virginia | Washington DC | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming | Puerto Rico | Massachusetts | New York