The VA loan allows a Veteran to utilize his/her VA loan multiple times with various combinations depending on military history, service connected disability, down payment, and prior VA loan history. I must preface my topic: “Why put 5% down on a VA home loan?” with a basic answer to another question: What is a VA funding fee? The VA funding fee is added as a dollar amount calculated by a percentage to the purchase price of the home you are buying. The VA funding fee guarantees to the lender that if a Veteran fails to repay the loan the lender is protected from $36,000 up to$144,000, and an additional amount equal to 25% of the allowed county loan limit for a single family home may be available. This is not to be confused with the veterans entitlement amount to purchase with $0 down, which is $417,000 in most counties, and higher in a few.
When a veteran with active duty service (which includes nearly everyone, including reserves, due to active duty service in multiple theatres of war) the VA funding fee is set at 2.15% for first time use of the VA benefit and subsequent use (another new home purchase or refinance) is set by the VA at 3.3%. The Veterans who are in reserves with no overseas service in Iraq or Afghanistan for example (on active duty) will have slightly higher fees, and for the purpose of this discussion I will focus on active duty and active duty reserves.
If you put down 5% on a VA home loan, your funding fee drops to 1.5%, no matter how many times you have used your benefit. This is a huge savings! If you look at an average home of $250,000, the funding fee for a second use on your home would be 3.3%, or $8,250. However, if you put down 5% the loan amount is now $237,000 and the funding fee would drop to $3562.50–a savings of $4,687! With a first time home purchase (funding fee of 2.15%), you still save a significant amount of about $1,813 on our hypothetical $250,000 home. The lower loan amount translates into lower monthly payments.
There is no other loan on the planet that even comes close to your VA home loan benefit…all other loans require some type of mortgage insurance paid monthly when you are in less than a 20% equity position. Additionally, on a VA home loan the seller can pay up to 4% of the purchase price of the home toward your closing costs, pre-paid fees, and VA non-allowables (fees the veteran by law cannot pay). Using the hypothetical $250,000 home again, the seller could pay up to $6,500 in closing costs, pre-paids, and VA non-allowables. This frees up a person’s savings to go toward a down payment rather than paying closing costs.
If you put 10% down, your VA funding fee will drop to 1.25% , which is a limited return for the additional funds required compared to the benefit gained by the 5%. Feel free to contact us for more information on your VA home loan benefits.
Michael Frakes, U.S. Navy Retired, Sr. VA Loan Specialist
*The guaranty means the lender is protected against loss if you fail to repay the loan. The guaranty replaces the protection the lender normally receives by requiring a down payment allowing you to obtain favorable financing terms.
*For loans in excess of $144,000 on purchases or new constructions, additional entitlement up to an amount equal to 25% of the VA county loan limit for a single family home may be available.
Michael Frakes U.S. Navvy Retired Sr. VA Loan Specialist