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Colorado VA Home Loans:
Eligibility, Getting Started and FAQs

It’s our job to help veterans, active military members, & their families fulfill the dream of home ownership.

Thanks to the VA Home Loan Program, qualified home buyers can purchase a home with incredible terms, including no money down, low interest rates and even low credit score options. At 1st United Mortgage, our team is trained on eligibility and requirements to make the home loan process as stress-free and simple as possible for our clients. We also understand Colorado’s state specific benefits and are here to assist every step of the way.

Did you know a 620 credit score is not necessary to secure a VA loan? Many of our clients are pleasantly surprised to learn that we can approve loans with a credit score of 560.  We also offer a credit score rehabilitation program.

VA Mortgage Options in Colorado

Military Family on Beach
Though there are only approximately 6 military bases in Colorado, the state state is home to approximately 50,000 active duty and reserve members. There are multiple Air Force bases located in Colorado Springs, Aurora and El Paso and one army base about an hour south of Denver. Many Colorado home owners utilize the VA home loan mortgage benefit when possible.

The VA loan benefit is only available for veterans and active duty members of the military. Want to see if you qualify? Click here to find out!

At 1st United Mortgage, we also have many other loan options including FHA & other conventional loan options. 

Military in Colorado

Though only a few military bases are located in Colorado, there are many veteran benefits provided by the state. These benefits plus the state’s gorgeous natural landscape make it a popular place for military members to call home.

Here is a list of some the areas in Colorado we serve most with our VA home loans. Click the name to learn more about each community.

Denver

Denver is the largest city in the state of Colorado. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the city offers a large number of outdoor pursuits high quality of life for residents. With Buckley AFB just moments away, many military members stationed there discover and fall in love with the city of Denver.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is the second most populated city in Colorado and home to 3 of the state’s 6 military bases. Peterson AFB, Cheyenne Mountain AFB, and Air Force Academy AFB are all found here. Thanks to strong military support and more affordable housing than Denver, Colorado Springs is a popular choice for military families and retirees.

Aurora

Aurora is located just minutes from Denver. Buckley Air Force Base is in Aurora, with the Rocky Mountain landscape as a backdrop. The city itself boasts over 100 parks and over 5,000 square feet of protected open space, loaded with outdoor recreation opportunities. This is one of the reasons the city is considered “The Most Active City in America.”

Ft. Collins

Fort Collins was ranked 14th on Livability’s Top Places to Live list for 2018. The town’s growing economy and award winning schools continue to make it the most popular city for Colorado famillies.

Lakewood

Another city that was once considered a suburb of Denver,  Lakewood is now one of Colorado’s fastest growing communities. Lakewood offers the best amenities of a big city without all the hustle and bustle.

Thorton

Thorton also sits just outside of Denver. With moderate housing costs and relatively higher median household income, Thornton has exploded in the past few years in popularity.

Pueblo

Pueblo sits south of Denver and as a result receives even less snow. In fact, Pueblo is one of the sunniest places to live in the US and over 76% of the days mean sunglasses are a necissity.

El Paso County

On of the army’s youngest bases, Fort Carson Army Base is in El Paso County, Colorado. This post is close to Colorado Springs and is considered a premier location for leadership and training. The base maintains some of the most up to date housing options available while a number of neighboring cities provide additional choices for neighborhoods, schools and amenities.

Colorado VA Loan FAQs

Click the links below to quickly jump to a section:

Eligibility
Qualification
Costs
Guidelines
Basics
Refinancing

Eligibility

VA Loan Eligibility

For military members throughout Colorado and the US, one huge benefit of the VA home loan program is being able to purchase a home with no down payment. With this benefit, thousands of people who might otherwise struggle to secure financing can now experience home ownership. Another perk: the VA loan has flexible credit and income requirements and consistently lower rates than other loan products.
This VA loan entitlement is a hard-earned benefit and provides qualified borrowers with unmatched buying power and flexibility. For many veterans, military families, and service members the VA loan program is the simplest and easiest path to homeownership.

What is the VA Loan entitlement? 

The VA loan program is essentially a promise from the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a financial guaranty on a mortgage that’s been issued by an approved lender. The VA  itself does not provide home loans but guarantees a portion of each. That guaranty helps borrowers who might otherwise struggle to secure financing from lenders. The VA entitlement is a financial guaranty from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Am I eligible as a spouse of a deceased veteran? 

VA loans are available to some non-military personnel, including both unmarried and remarried spouses. The following may be eligible for a VA home loan:

  • The unmarried spouse of a veteran who died on active duty or because of a disability connected to his or her service is eligible.
  • Surviving spouses who obtained a VA loan with the veteran before his or her death. They can obtain a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, also known as a VA Streamline refinance.
  • Surviving spouses who remarried upon or after turning age 57 and on or after December 16, 2003. Surviving spouses who remarried before that date are no longer eligible to participate.
  • The spouse of an active duty member who is listed as missing in action (MIA) or a prisoner of war (POW) for at least 90 days

How can I get my Certificate of Eligibility?

This document issued for a VA loan certifies what entitlement, if any, a military member has for receiving this benefit. Obtaining the COE (Certificate of Eligibility) is an essential part of the process as it the only method of verifying a veteran’s eligibility and entitlement. Prospective borrowers cannot complete the lending process without a Certificate of Eligibility, . Veterans can obtain their COE either directly from the VA, which typically takes a few weeks or we can access an automated system to get one in mere minutes.

What the eligibility requirements for the VA Loan?

There are basic eligibility requirements for veterans and service members, along with members of the Reserves, the National Guard and surviving spouses.

The following indicate eligibility for a VA home loan:
• 181 days served during peacetime (Active Duty)
• 90 days served during war time (Active Duty)
• 6 years served in the Reserves or National Guard
•  Spouses of a service member who died in the line of duty or because of a service-connected disability.

Eligibility for a VA loan is verified via a Certificate of Eligibility. These can be obtained directly from the VA, which typically takes a few weeks or from an automated system, such as the one used here at 1st United Mortgage.

Not everyone eligible for a VA loan will secure one. There are  credit and underwriting standards set by both the VA and the lender that borrowers must still meet.

Does the VA Loan allow for cash back options when purchasing a home? 

There are two major refinance programs with the VA home loan program:
  • Cash-Out Refinance, which helps homeowners extract cash from their home’s equity while obtaining a lower interest rate

Is there a difference between eligibility and prequalification? 

There is a difference between prequalification and eligibility. Some people eligible for a VA loan may not satisfy credit and underwriting standards set by both the VA and the lender. Prequalification for a loan is a basic step that can be done online or over the phone. With this step, veterans get a sense of their purchasing power.  It also lays the foundation for the credit and underwriting process. Veterans with sufficient credit scores will move toward the next step: loan preapproval, which is a more formal stage desired by home sellers and real estate agents.

How do basic and bonus entitlements work?

Basic Allowance for Housing, formerly known as Basic Allowance for Quarters, is a key asset in qualifying service members for a VA mortgage. It’s a monthly housing allowance that can be counted as income if proven to be stable and likely to continue. Other military allowances and forms of bonus pay may also work like this. Lenders want to ensure the payments are reliable and consistent. Qualified borrowers can use BAH to cover some or all of their monthly mortgage payment.

How do I restore my entitlement once I pay off my previous VA Loan? 

Veterans who want to fully restore their entitlement after paying off their VA loan can seek a full restoration of their entitlement. This is most common when a borrower sells their home and uses the sale proceeds to pay off their original mortgage. At that point, the veteran’s previously used entitlement is no longer tied up in the original home. Veterans then complete a VA form and submit documentation to the agency.

What is 2nd Tier Entitlement?

Qualified borrowers have two layers of entitlement, that combine to create the VA guaranty. The second tier, an additional layer of entitlement, can help borrowers who have experienced foreclosures or other major problems with VA loans. With second-tier entitlement, a veteran who defaulted on a VA loan can still purchase again. On a second-tier entitlement purchase, the minimum loan amount is $144,000.

Can I use the VA Loan for a second home or rental properties? 

The VA Loan is designed only for primary residences that are occupied by the owners of the properties. It can not be used for second homes or rental properties.

VA Loan Qualification

Who sets the VA Loan guidelines, the VA or my lender?

The VA sets broad requirements and guidelines for military borrowers, but no income or credit requirements. The VA simply requires that borrowers demonstrate a satisfactory credit risk.  Since VA lenders ultimately issue the loans, they have their own unique requirements, including credit scores. That means prospective borrowers must satisfy both the VA and the agency’s approved lenders in order to secure home financing.

If I have bad credit, can I still get a VA Loan? 

YES!  Every lender has its own minimum credit score. At 1st United Mortgage, we believe anyone willing to serve our country should have the chance at home onwership. If your score is above 570, we can get you approved.

Can someone else sign on the loan with me? 

There are certain restrictions, but veterans and service members can have someone sign on the loan with them.  For a VA loan, the co-borrower must be either a spouse or another veteran. That means parents, friends and significant others who don’t fall under one of those two headings cannot be a co-borrower on a VA loan. Married veterans can obtain a VA loan on their own. However, if they live in a community property state, their spouse’s active debt and income will be factored into the loan application.

What income can I use to qualify for a VA Loan?

Prospective borrowers must prove enough steady income to meet their monthly expenses, including a new mortgage payment. VA loan lenders look for a minimum of two years stable employment, as well as income from the same employer and job type. Reliable, documented income can be included from a host of sources, such as:
• Base pay & allowances
• Non-military employment
• Retirement income
• Self-Employment
• Commissions
• Rental income
• A spouse’s income
• Alimony/child care

To count income from overtime work, part-time jobs, second jobs and bonuses, veterans need to show that same two-year period of stability. This also means additional paperwork hurdles for veterans who are self-employed or who make a living in the building trades, doing seasonal work or working mostly on commission. Tax returns for the previous two years are essential in income verification.

Bankruptcy and a VA Loan? 

Bankruptcy or foreclosure won’t automatically disqualify you from a VA loan.  A lot depends on when the event occurred. In most cases, veterans will not be able to secure VA financing for two years after a bankruptcy or foreclosure. There are exceptions with the VA that allow military members to participate in the program before that two-year mark. However, the VA-approved lenders ultimately issue the loan and tend to have more stringent standards.  That means it’s a significant challenge for a borrower to secure financing for at least two years after a bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Rate And Loan Costs

What are the fees for my VA Loan? 

Thankfully, the VA has cap on fees that veterans pay to obtain a VA loan. VA lenders are allowed to charge a 1% origination fee, plus another percent for administrative and other costs. Sellers can pay up to 6% of the loan amount in closing costs and concessions. The one unavoidable charge for borrowers is the VA Funding Fee. This is a mandatory cost that helps keep the home loan program running. Borrowers with service-connected disabilities can receive an exemption from the VA Funding Fee.

What is the VA Funding Fee, and how do I calculate it?

 
The VA Funding Fee is a mandatory fee. It is applied to both purchase and refinance loans and helps keep the home loan program running. The Funding Fee is a percentage of the loan amount.  It varies depending on several factors, including:
  • Whether the loan is a purchase or refinance
  • How many VA loans you’ve had in the past
  • Type of military service.

For the full breakdown or to calculate your exact fee, visit VAFundingFee.com.

How are rates for VA Loans determined?

In general all mortgage rates are shaped by a host of economic factors. First, lenders set rates based on the bond market and in the greater financial landscape. Interest rates fluctuate constantly, even multiple times per day. That is why it’s important to talk with your loan officer about when to lock in your rate. Military members with excellent credit can secure better interest rates and loan terms than those with lower credit scores. Typically, VA loans have consistently lower rates than other conventional loans.

Does my credit score affect my VA Loan rate? 

Your credit score is important in determining a mortgage rate. Solid credit scores generally mean lower rates and better terms for borrowers. The VA requires applicants are considered a satisfactory credit risk in order to qualify for a government-backed loan. VA lenders have their own additional guidelines and pay close attention to an applicant’s credit score. In today’s lending environment, it’s more important than ever to get a handle on your credit profile. Now is the time to get caught up on any outstanding debts and responsibly use credit. You want to be in the best position possible when begining the home-buying process.

VA Loan Guidelines

Can I borrow more than the value of my home with a VA loan?

On a VA purchase loan, home owners can borrow up to the appraised value of the home, plus some costs and fees associated with the loan. Veterans interested in making their home more energy efficient can add up to $6,000 in improvements through an Energy Efficient Mortgage. With a VA Cash-Out Refinance, we can help homeowners refinance up to 100%  of a home’s value. That cash can be used to pay bills, make home renovations or for other costs, like education.

Can I have more than one VA loan at a time? 

Your VA entitlement isn’t a one-time benefit. Borrowers who qualify can utilize their VA home loan benefits over and over. Most veterans will only ever have one VA-backed mortgage at a time. But there are unique situations where veterans can have more than one VA loan at one time. Most of those circumstances are related to relocation needs, including deployments and jobs. But it’s important to remember that VA loans are for primary residences. You can’t use your home loan benefits to purchase investment properties or businesses.

How complicated is VA financing?

We’ve worked hard to make the VA loan process as simple and streamlined as possible. We love educating clients on VA loans and explaining benefits of the program, such as less stringent requirements. We believe that’s one of the key perks for veterans and active duty personnel. Prospective borrowers must meet credit- related and financial guidelines to satisfy both the lender and the VA. Once those are met, veterans receive a financial guaranty from the VA.  This guaranty provides confidence to lenders as they issue no-down payment loans with low rates and great terms.

When purchasing a home, does the VA Loan allow for cash back options? 

Yes, there are two major refinance options within the VA home loan program. The Cash-Out Refinance is a popular choice as it helps homeowners extract cash from their home’s equity. The interest rates are usually low. At 1st United Mortgage, we can help veterans refinance up to 100% of their home’s appraised value. Many other lenders will only refinance up to 90%. The Cash-Out Refinance process is similar to a standard VA purchase loan. Veterans with a conventional or FHA mortgage can also still access the Cash-Out program by refinancing into a VA loan.

What is the maximum VA Home Loan?

There is no maximum loan amount on a VA loan, despite what you may have heard. However, there is a maximum amount the VA will guaranty without a down payment of some kind. When industry people reference VA loan limits, that’s what they mean. Currently, qualified borrowers can purchase a home worth up to $417,000 with no money down. This is true in Colorado and across most of the country. In certain areas with overall higher costs, the limit may raise to approximately $725,000.

Can I borrow extra money to make home improvements?

VA loan borrowers can increase their loan by up to $6,000 if they plan to make energy efficiency improvements to the house.  EEM, energy efficiency mortgage, are unique loan products for select upgrades and repairs to the property to maximize energy efficiencies. By spending money at the outset on energy improvements, homeowners can ultimately lower heating, cooling and other related energy costs long term. The monthly savings can then be added into payments to the mortgage principal or any other household necessities. Veterans or military members interested in an EEM should consult with their lender to get help with a home energy audit from a professional firm.

VA Loan Basics

How do I get prequalified and what happens afterward? 

The best way to begin this process is to speak to one of our VA loan experts. Our specialists can prequalify borrowers in a matter of minutes, even over the phone just by gathering basic financial information and reviewing credit scores. We can then send our loan application packet so you can begin the path to preapproval. As a reminder, preapproval is a more involved process with a more detailed look at your finances,  your ability to handle a mortgage,  and if you are prepared for the other associated costs.

What if I don’t have copies of my discharge paperwork? 

VA lenders have to obtain all kinds of official paperwork in order to process a loan. These include the borrower’s Certificate of Eligibility, tax returns and other critical documentation. We understand paperwork can get lost over time, so don’t worry if  discharge documents or other important pieces of paper aren’t readily available. We will help you get fresh copies of your most important documents. The VA and other entities will also provide the paperwork directly to borrowers. Without the paperwork  the loan process will not necessarily be derailed, but it’s always best take care of document needs quickly by working with a lender.

Can I pay off a VA Loan early?

There are no prepayment policies with a VA loan. Borrowers can pay off their loans early with no penalty. For homeowners who want to cut down on their interest costs over time, that’s a significant benefit. Paying an additional $50 or $100 a month toward your premium can shave off years and tens of thousands of dollars from your 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

When is the VA Loan not my best option?

VA loan represents the most flexible and powerful loan program on the market for many veterans, active duty service members and military families. Qualified borrowers can purchase a home worth up to $417,000 and more without a down payment or out-of-pocket spending. Still, there are some cases when a VA loan may not be the best option. Veterans who have significant cash reserves and can cover a 20% down payment may want to consider conventional financing. We also understand that isn’t the typical financial situation for many military borrowers. That’s why for most veterans and active duty members VA loans  allow them to get the biggest bang for their buck and make the most financial sense.

VA Refinancing

Can the VA Loan help me lower my monthly bills?

The VA has two major refinance programs. One, the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, better known as a VA Streamline, helps homeowners get into a lower-rate mortgage to reduce their monthly payment. VA Streamlines come with minimal hassle and paperwork. The VA does not require appraisals or credit checks on Streamlines, but some lenders have recently made them mandatory. We are still able to process some Streamlines without an appraisal, which is a tremendous benefit given the decline in home values across the country. Homeowners have to pay closing costs on a VA Streamline. But these can be rolled into the overall loan amount, along with up to $6,000 in energy efficiency improvements.
Can I refinance my home if I don’t currently have a VA Loan? 
Yes, it is possible for veterans and active duty homeowners who qualify to refinance into a VA loan. You can use the program’s cash-out refinance program, which has a process similar to the VA purchase loan. From the income verification and debt-to-income ratio to a home appraisal, the same steps are taken. Qualified homeowners with conventional or FHA mortgages do not have to take out cash when they refinance into a VA loan. They are ineligible for the simpler VA Streamline program.

What types of homes can I buy with a VA Loan? 

The vast majority of military buyers use their VA loan to purchase or refinance an existing single-family home. But veterans interested in purchasing a condo or building a home from the ground up can also utilize a VA loan. You can use a VA loan:

  • To purchase a residence that’s owned and occupied by the veteran.
  • To refinance an existing VA-guaranteed or direct loan in order to lower the current interest rate.
  • To refinance in order to take out cash.
  • To repair, alter or improve a residence owned by a veteran.
  • To simultaneously purchase and improve a home
  • To make energy-efficiency improvements in conjunction with a VA purchase or refinance loan.
  • To purchase up to four one-family residential units in a condo development approved by the VA. One of those four units must be used as the borrower’s primary residence.
  • To purchase a farm residence to be owned and occupied by the veteran. The property cannot be a working farm or an income-producing property.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Zachary Burrows

Best home buying experience ever! They made everything so simple & easy.

Carmella Teeter

They really understand the military lifestyle & what it takes to get to closing!

Anthony Calvillio

They worked quickly to help me close sooner than expected. I recommend them time & again!

Ready To Start Today?

Get started immediately with our quick quote form or complete the full online application & get pre-qualified now.