The VA home loan is a zero down mortgage option for home buyers with current or former military service. It’s often the top choice for those eligible because it offers 100% financing and does not require great credit.

Zero down payment mortgage: 0%. VA loans require no down payment, but those who wish to can make put any amount down.

Eligibility: Based on current or former military service. Required service requirement is typically 90 days if currently serving, or two years on active duty if separated from service. Those in the Reserves or National Guard are eligible after six years of service.

VA mortgage insurance and fees: Typically, 2.15% upfront fee is required for first-time home buyers putting less than 5% down. If you’ve used a VA loan before, your upfront fee increases to 3.3% of the loan amount. Veterans receiving benefits for injuries sustained on duty are exempt from the funding fee. VA loans do not require monthly mortgage insurance – a potential savings of hundreds of dollars per month. This allows home buyers to afford a more valuable home.

Credit: Required FICO scores are usually 620 and above, although some lenders will allow lower credit scores. VA does not officially publish a minimum score for the program.

VA mortgage rates: VA mortgages come with some of the lowest rates available anywhere. Rates run almost one-half of a percentage point below conventional rates according to Ellie Mae.

Who is this loan good for? The VA loan option should be the first loan type that military veterans consider. With no monthly mortgage insurance, lenient credit requirements, and low rates, eligible home buyers are often surprised they can buy a home – and with zero down, too.

Veteran VS Conventional Home Loans

VA Loans

Conventional Loans

0% Down

(for qualified borrowers)

VA Loans are among the last 0% down home loans available on the market today.

Up to 20% Down

Conventional loans generally require down payments that can reach up to 20% to secure a home loan, pushing them out of reach for many home buyers


Since VA Loans are government backed, banks do not require you to buy Private Mortgage Insurance.

PMI Required

Private Mortgage Insurance is a requirement for borrowers who finance more than 80% of their home's value, tacking on additional monthly expenses.

Competitive Interest Rates

The VA guaranty gives lenders a greater degree of safety and flexibility, which typically means a more competitive rate than non-VA loans.

Increased Risk for Lenders

Without government backing, banks are taking on more risk which, in turn, can result in a less-competitive interest rate on your home loan.

Easier to Qualify

Because the loan is backed by the government, banks assume less risk and have less stringent qualification standards for VA Loans, making them easier to obtain.

Standard Qualification Procedures

Conventional options hold stricter qualification procedures that can put home ownership out of reach for some home buyers.


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