Tennessee VA Home Loans:
Eligibility, Getting Started and FAQs
It’s our job at 1st United Mortgage, to help families buy a home. It’s our honor to help veterans, active military members, & their families with this as they fulfill the American Dream of home ownership.
That process is easier for qualified applicants thanks to the VA Home Loan Program. Today it’s even possible to purchase a home at low interest rates without a down payment. We can even help those with low credit scores. Our experienced staff members are well-trained to guide clients through eligibility, document requirements, and happy to answer questions about Tennessee’s state specific benefits. At 1st United Mortgage, we work hard to keep your mortgage process simple and as stress-free as possible.
Many clients are pleasantly surprised to to hear that a 620 credit score is not required for VA loan approval. In fact, we can approve loans with credit scores starting at 580 and higher. Plus, we have a credit score rehabilitation program that can help you get there if you do not yet qualify.
VA Mortgage Options in Tennessee
Tennessee includes some of the hottest real estate markets in the country. The job opportunities and continued growth, plus the state’s location to military bases make Tennessee a popular place for veterans and active duty members to purchase a home with a VA Loan.
The VA loan is only available as an earned benefit for military service. Click here to see if you qualify.
We also offer many other loan options for those not eligible for a VA loan, including FHA & other conventional loan options.
Military in Tennessee
Tennessee has a smaller military presence, with only two bases actually located within the state. However, the Arnold Air Force Base and NSA Mid-South Naval Base are two of the most reputable bases of the US Armed Forces. In addition, the state has a strong National Guard, with over 10,000 soldiers serving as full partners with active duty men and women worldwide.
Here is a list of some the places we serve most often with VA loans in Tennessee. Click the name to learn more about each one.
Nashville is the most populous city in Tennessee currently, thanks to an explosion of growth in the past decade. Professionals continue to flock there for jobs in tech, healthcare and music. New construction is also booming to accommodate homeowners with options for both homes and condos.
Memphis is the second largest city in Tennessee, with just slightly less people than Nashville. The city’s proximity to the Mississippi River and multiple US Highways has provided a strong and stable economy for its residents. Memphis is also well known for its arts and cultural scene, particularly with Blues music.
Chattanooga is in the Southeastern corner of Tennessee. Residents here get all the benefits of a small town feel with big city amenities. The city sits at the base of Lookout Mountain along the Tennessee River, making it one of the state’s most gorgeous areas. It also has a bustling art scene and growing economy that supports entrepreneurs. The city continues to catch the eye of Millennials as an attractive place to live.
Clarksville is a popular choice among veteran and active duty military members because of Fort Campbell. Since the military base lies on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, most of the acreage is in Clarksville and many families choose to buy homes there. Homes are affordable and the city is quite family friendly.
Murfreesboro is another Tennessee city rapidly growing. For years it has attracted those who don’t mind the 40 minute commute to Nashville and would prefer a more affordable, family-friendly community. The city has even secured a place among Time’s Best Places To Live.
Oak Ridge sits approximately 25 miles outside of Knoxville in the Eastern part of Tennessee. The city boasts plenty of outdoor natural beauty and is home to significant science and research development. Affordable homes and plenty of amenities keep it appealing for home buyers.
Johnson City is another popular place to live in Tennessee as homeowners can enjoy a nice mix of country and city life. It’s surrounded by mountains, offering plenty of outdoor adventures for those who love nature. It also has low crime, solid school systems, and a local college that keeps the city growing.
VA Loan Eligibility
- No PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)
- Flexible credit and income requirements
- Consistently lower rates than other loan products
A VA loan entitlement is a hard-earned benefit and not available to everyone. At 1st United Mortgage, we are here to help you utilize it. Thanks to its unmatched buying power and flexibility, the VA loan program is often the simplest and most powerful path to homeownership for many of our clients: veterans, service members and military families.
What is the VA Loan entitlement?
Am I eligible as a spouse of a deceased veteran?
Some non-military personnel, including both unmarried and remarried spouses are eligible for the VA home loan program. These include:
An unmarried spouse whose veteran died while on active duty or from a disability connected to his or her service
Surviving spouses who obtained a VA loan with the veteran before his or her death can obtain a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, better known as a VA Streamline refinance.
Surviving spouses who remarried upon or after turning age 57 and on or after December 16, 2003, may be eligible for a VA home loan. 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 is eligible for one-time use of the VA home loan benefit.
How can I get my Certificate of Eligibility?
The Certificate of Eligibility, or COE, is a formal VA document that certifies what entitlement, if any, a military member has for a VA home loan. The COE is crucial for the process and verifies a veteran’s eligibility and entitlement to the benefit. Prospective borrowers cannot complete the lending process without a COE. Veterans can contact the VA directly to obtain their Certificate of Eligibility, though it may take a few weeks to receive. At 1st United Mortgage, we use an automated system that takes only moment to produce your Certificate of Eligibility.
Who is eligible for the VA Loan?
The eligibility requirements for veterans and service members, along with members of the Reserves, the National Guard and surviving spouses are as follows:
• You served 181 days during peacetime (Active Duty)
• You served 90 days during war time (Active Duty)
• You served 6 years in the Reserves or National Guard
• You are the spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty or because of a service-connected disability.
Verification of a veteran’s eligibility for a VA loan is through a COE, or Certificate of Eligibility. These can be obtained directly from the VA, which typically takes a few weeks. Another option is to contact a lender, who can obtain your COE far more quickly. At 1st United Home Loans we cab get your Certificate of Eligibility in minutes.
It’s important to remember that not everyone eligible for a VA loan ultimately secures one. Borrowers will still need to satisfy credit and underwriting standards, which are set by both the lender and the VA.
When purchasing a home, does the VA Loan allow for cash back options?
What is the difference between eligibility and prequalification?
How do basic and bonus entitlements work?
How do I restore my entitlement once I pay off my previous VA Loan?
What is 2nd Tier Entitlement?
Can I use the VA Loan for a second home or rental properties?
VA Loan Qualification
Who sets the VA Loan guidelines, the VA or my lender?
The VA sets are broad requirements and guidelines for military borrowers. The VA has no income requirements or credit requirements and simply requires that borrowers represent a satisfactory credit risk.
Since VA lenders ultimately issue the loans, they have their own unique requirements, especially regarding credit scores. Prospective borrowers must satisfy both guidelines – those set by the VA and the ones set by agency approved lenders.
If I have bad credit, can I still get a VA Loan?
Can someone else sign on the loan with me?
What income can I use to qualify for a VA Loan?
VA-approved lenders require prospective borrowers verify enough steady income to meet their monthly expenses (including a new mortgage payment). Lenders want a minimum of two years of stable employment, and that income comes from the same employer and job type. Sources of verification for income include:
• Base pay & allowances
• Non-military employment
• Retirement income
• Rental income
• A spouse’s income
• Alimony/child care
Overtime work, part-time jobs, second jobs and bonuses, must still show the same two-year period of stability. Self-employed veterans or those who make a living in the building trades, doing seasonal work or working mostly on commission have additional paperwork requirements. Tax returns for the previous two years will be essential in verifying income.
How long do I have to wait after bankruptcy to get a VA Loan?
Rate And Loan Costs
What fees should I expect to pay for my VA Loan?
What is the VA Funding Fee, and how do I calculate it?
How are rates for VA Loans determined?
Does my credit score affect my VA Loan rate?
VA Loan Guidelines
Can I borrow more than the value of my home with a VA loan?
Can I have more than one VA loan at a time?
How complicated is VA financing?
When purchasing a home, does the VA Loan allow for cash back options?
What is the maximum VA Home Loan?
Can I borrow extra money to make home improvements?
VA Loan Basics
How do I get prequalified and what happens afterward?
What if I don’t have copies of my discharge paperwork?
Can I pay off a VA Loan early?
When is the VA Loan not my best option?
Can the VA Loan help me lower my monthly bills?
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
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Get started immediately with our quick quote form or complete the full online application & get pre-qualified now.