Many people are confused about the benefits of getting a home loan through the Veterans Administration vs. the Federal Housing Administration. Both are similar loans due to the fact that they surround first-time home-buyer programs, or are a limited- to no-down-payment-required loan. An FHA loan requires a down payment of 3.5% and the seller can pay all of your closing costs. A VA loan is a true 0% down loan, with no down payment and no closing costs for the borrower, as the seller can pay all closing costs.

FHA loans have a monthly mortgage insurance calculated on the value of the house that lasts up to five years and until you get 75% loan to value on the house. FHA does have an up-front mortgage insurance premium of   1.5%  added overall on top of the loan. VA has no such mortgage insurance on a monthly basis.

However, with VA, you do pay a VA funding fee. The first time you use your benefits, there is a 2.15% fee; it is not paid out of pocket, but is financed into the loan. Your second use requires a 3.3% fee. That is also financed on top of the loan; it is not something you have to pay up front, which in the long run is much cheaper than paying that extra premium on a monthly basis.

The bottom line: never, under any circumstances, if you’re a veteran, would you ever go FHA, unless you’ve lost your entitlement, or you want to buy a house with another person you’re not married to who is not a veteran. There are very few circumstances in which FHA would benefit a veteran more than going VA.

Most people try to talk veterans out of their VA rights because it is more difficult for the person doing the loan to complete the transaction. Never give up that benefit!

Another note: If you have any type of disability benefits of 10% or more from the VA, even if you’re putting 10%-20% down, a VA loan is always going to be cheaper for you.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, always feel free to give Creekside Mortgage a call.

Kerry N. Greenwald, Sr. VA Loan Specialist