VA Construction Loans of July 2024

Secure VA construction loans with competitive rates and flexible terms online from one of the companies vetted by our experts. As of 24.07.2024, you have 1 options available. Boost your chances of approval by completing an application with a free credit score check.
Offers: 1
Updated:
23.06.2024
21:15
Best Mortgage Today 24.07.2024*
Finanso
Need a Mortgage Now?
Rating by Finanso®
i

The rating by Finanso® is determined by our editorial team. The scoring formula includes a financial product type as well as tariffs, fees, rewards and other options.

Recommended FinScore™
0
300
650
1000

A VA construction loan is a specialized type of financing designed to assist eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and certain military spouses in building their homes. Unlike traditional mortgages, VA construction loans enable borrowers to purchase land and fund the construction or renovation of a primary residence. This type of loan is backed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), offering borrowers certain advantages such as competitive interest rates and the potential to avoid a down payment requirement. VA construction loans typically come in two forms: one-time close loans, which combine construction and permanent financing, and two-time close loans, involving separate loans for construction and permanent financing.

The process of obtaining a VA construction loan can be more intricate compared to conventional mortgages due to additional requirements and paperwork involved. Borrowers must meet specific eligibility criteria set by the VA, including obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove their military service and working with VA-approved lenders and builders. Additionally, the loan disbursement process differs from traditional mortgages, with funds released to the builder in stages as construction milestones are achieved. While a VA construction loan from a bank or credit union offers distinct benefits such as no down payment and favorable terms, borrowers should be prepared for a potentially lengthier and more complex application process.

Features

  1. No Down Payment. One of the standout features of VA construction loans is the ability for eligible veterans and service members to secure financing without having to make a down payment. This can significantly reduce the upfront costs associated with building a home.

  2. Competitive Interest Rates. VA construction loans often come with competitive interest rates, making them an attractive option for borrowers seeking favorable terms over the life of the loan. These rates can help borrowers save money on interest payments over time.

  3. Exemption from Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Unlike conventional loans, VA construction loans do not require borrowers to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), potentially saving borrowers hundreds of dollars each month.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Flexible Eligibility Criteria. While VA construction loans have specific eligibility requirements, they may offer more flexibility compared to traditional mortgages. For example, borrowers may qualify with a lower credit score or higher debt-to-income ratio.

Assistance for Veterans. VA construction loans are designed to support veterans, active-duty service members, and certain military spouses in achieving homeownership goals. The loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, providing added assurance for lenders and borrowers.

One-Time Close Option. Some VA construction loans offer a one-time close option, combining construction and permanent financing into a single loan. This simplifies the process and reduces paperwork for borrowers.

Cons

Complex Application Process. Obtaining a VA construction loan can involve a more complex application process compared to traditional mortgages. Borrowers may need to provide additional documentation and meet specific eligibility criteria.

Limited Availability. Not all lenders offer VA construction loans, limiting the options available to borrowers. This may require borrowers to research and identify lenders that specialize in VA financing.

Potential Longer Processing Times. Due to the intricacies of VA construction loans, the application and approval process may take longer compared to other types of financing. Borrowers should be prepared for possible delays in funding their construction projects.

How to Get a VA Construction Loan

Apply for a loan

  1. Verify Eligibility. Before applying for a VA construction loan, ensure you meet the eligibility requirements set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This typically includes obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove your military service record.

  2. Find a Lender. Research and identify lenders who offer VA construction loans, for example, Veterans United Home Loans. Not all VA lenders provide these specialized loans, so it's essential to find one that does. Consider factors such as interest rates, fees, and customer service when selecting a lender. If you can't find a VA construction loan, an alternative is to secure a traditional construction loan from a builder or local lender and then refinance it into a permanent VA loan after completion. The permanent mortgage could be either a VA purchase loan or a VA cash-out refinance loan

  3. Preapproval. Contact the chosen lender and begin the preapproval process. Provide necessary documentation such as pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and your COE. The lender will assess your financial situation and determine the loan amount you qualify for.

  4. Select a VA-Registered Builder. To proceed with the construction, choose a builder who is registered and approved by the VA. Your lender may have a list of VA-registered builders, or you can find one independently. Ensure the builder understands VA requirements and is willing to work within them.

  5. Submit Construction Plans. Work with your builder to develop detailed construction plans and specifications for your new home. Submit these plans to your lender for approval, ensuring they meet VA standards and guidelines.

  6. Close on the Loan. Once the plans are approved, proceed to close on the VA construction loan. Be prepared to pay any applicable fees, including the VA funding fee if required. After closing, construction can commence, and funds will be disbursed as the project progresses.

Requirements

  1. Certificate of Eligibility (COE). One of the VA construction loan requirements is that borrowers must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA to prove their eligibility for a VA construction loan. The COE verifies the borrower's military service and determines their entitlement to VA loan benefits.

  2. Minimum Service Requirements. Borrowers must meet specific service requirements to qualify for a VA construction loan. For example, active-duty service members typically need at least 90 days of consecutive service, while veterans may need to meet certain criteria based on their service history.

  3. Flexible Credit Requirements. While individual VA construction loan lenders may have their own credit score requirements, the VA itself does not impose a minimum credit score for VA construction loans. Borrowers with credit scores as low as 620 may still qualify for financing.

  4. No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Unlike conventional loans, VA construction loans do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI), even with no down payment. This can result in significant savings for borrowers over time.

  5. Income Verification. Lenders will verify the borrower's income to ensure they have sufficient funds to cover the loan payments. Borrowers may need to provide pay stubs, W-2 forms, and tax returns to document their income sources.

  6. Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio. Lenders will assess the borrower's debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to determine their ability to manage monthly payments. While there is no strict DTI limit set by the VA, lenders typically look for DTI ratios of 41% or lower.

  7. Property Requirements. The property being financed must meet VA minimum property requirements (MPRs) to ensure it is safe, structurally sound, and meets local building codes. An appraisal conducted by a VA-approved appraiser will assess the property's value and condition.

Conditions

  1. No Down Payment. VA construction loans typically do not require a down payment, allowing borrowers to finance 100% of the construction costs. This feature is advantageous for borrowers who may not have substantial savings for a down payment.

  2. Competitive Interest Rates. VA construction loans often offer competitive interest rates compared to conventional construction loans. Borrowers can benefit from lower monthly payments and reduced overall interest costs over the life of the loan.

  3. Extended Loan Terms. VA construction loans often offer longer loan terms compared to conventional construction loans. Borrowers may have the option to choose loan terms ranging from 15 to 30 years, depending on their preferences and financial situation.

Ways to Get the Money

  1. Draw Accounts. Lenders typically establish draw accounts where the loan funds are held. As construction progresses and specific milestones are met, funds are released from the draw account to the builder or contractor.

  2. Payment Schedule. Lenders may establish a payment schedule based on the construction timeline and project milestones. Payments are made directly to the builder or contractor according to the agreed-upon schedule.

  3. Inspection-Based Disbursements. Lenders may require inspections at various stages of construction to verify progress and quality. Funds are disbursed after each inspection confirms that the work has been completed satisfactorily.

  4. Percentage of Completion. Some lenders disburse funds based on the percentage of completion of the construction project. As the project reaches certain completion milestones, a predetermined percentage of the loan funds is released.

Best Places to Get a VA Construction Loan

Nationwide Home Loans, Inc. offers a variety of loan programs with specific down payment requirements, including VA construction loans which require no down payment, and FHA loans which typically require a minimum of 3.5%. Rates for their one-time close loans are locked in for the entire term, simplifying the financing process by covering land, construction, and mortgage in a single transaction. This approach not only reduces closing costs but also secures a favorable rate akin to permanent financing rates rather than standard construction loan rates.

Nationwide Home Loans Group, powered by The Federal Savings Bank, offers VA construction loans across all 50 states. This veteran-owned, federally-chartered bank offers competitive interest rates and low down payment requirements, making it an appealing choice for those looking to build a home. Borrowers must meet a minimum credit score requirement of 640, and the smallest loan amount available is $150,000. The lender's flexible down payment options are particularly advantageous; for instance, their VA construction loan requires no down payment, and their FHA loan requires as little as 3.5% down. These terms are more favorable compared to many construction lenders that typically require a 20% down payment.

Based in Wisconsin, GO Mortgage, established in 1995, specializes in single-close construction loans. This type of loan, available in 40 states, is integrated with various government-backed mortgage programs such as VA, Fannie Mae, FHA, and USDA. Consequently, credit scores, interest rates, down payment percentages, and loan amounts are regulated by these programs. For instance, under the FHA program, down payments can be as low as 3.5%, while VA and USDA programs may offer no down payment options. Fannie Mae programs might require a down payment as low as 5%.

VA Nationwide Home Loans, true to its name, operates in all 50 states and stands out for its single-close loan, which merges the purchase of land, construction, and mortgage into one rate-locked loan. With no payments required during the construction period, this VA construction loan lender can provide up to 100% financing, making it a convenient option for many borrowers. Their simple online form helps prospective borrowers check their eligibility easily. VA Nationwide can potentially qualify borrowers for a 0% down payment, although the VA funding fee must be paid in cash. Additionally, they offer both one-time and two-time close options and can lend up to $3,000,000 or more.

Things to Pay Attention To

  1. Construction Timeline. Have a clear understanding of the construction timeline and milestones. Communicate with your builder and lender to establish realistic timelines for each phase of the project. Construction delays can impact loan disbursements and may require adjustments to the loan terms.

  2. Property Requirements. Ensure that the property meets VA minimum property requirements (MPRs). These requirements include factors such as safety, structural integrity, and adherence to local building codes. Addressing any property issues early in the process can prevent delays or complications later on.

  3. Documentation. Prepare all necessary documentation in advance and ensure it is accurate and complete. This includes your Certificate of Eligibility (COE), construction plans, financial records, and any other paperwork required by the lender. Having all documentation ready can streamline the loan application process.

How to Repay a VA Construction Loan?

  1. Construction Phase Payments. During the construction phase, your lender will disburse funds to the builder as milestones are reached. You may not be required to make payments during this time, depending on your loan terms.

  2. Transition to Permanent Mortgage. Once construction is complete and the final inspection is passed, your VA construction loan will transition into a permanent mortgage. At this point, you will begin making regular monthly payments towards the loan amount.

  3. Regular Mortgage Payments. Make timely mortgage payments according to the terms of your loan agreement. These payments will typically include principal and interest, as well as any applicable taxes and insurance.

  4. Communicate with Servicer. If you encounter financial difficulties or have questions about your loan, communicate with your loan servicer promptly. They can provide assistance and guidance on repayment options, loan modifications, or other solutions.

  5. Consider Refinancing. If you're eligible and interest rates are favorable, you may consider refinancing your VA construction loan to secure better terms or lower monthly payments. Evaluate your options carefully before proceeding with refinancing.

Reasons for Getting Rejected for a VA Construction Loan

  1. Inadequate Income or Debt-to-Income Ratio. Applicants must demonstrate sufficient income to afford the loan payments and meet debt-to-income ratio requirements. If your income is insufficient or your debt obligations are too high, lenders may reject your application. Increasing income or reducing debt can improve approval odds.

  2. Property Issues. Properties that do not meet VA minimum property requirements (MPRs) may result in loan rejection. Common issues include safety hazards, structural defects, and property valuation discrepancies. Addressing property issues or selecting a different property can help overcome this obstacle.

  3. Builder Incompatibility. Working with a builder who is not VA-registered or approved can lead to loan rejection. Lenders require builders to meet VA standards and guidelines to ensure the quality and integrity of the construction project. Choosing a VA-approved builder is essential for loan approval.

Alternatives

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers construction loans that can be an alternative for eligible borrowers. FHA loans typically have lower down payment requirements and may be more accessible to borrowers with lower credit scores.

Conventional lenders also offer construction loans, which may be suitable for borrowers who do not qualify for VA loans or prefer a different financing option. These loans usually require a higher down payment and stricter credit requirements.

Borrowers who already own a home may consider using a HELOC to finance construction projects. HELOCs allow homeowners to borrow against the equity in their property, providing flexibility in accessing funds for construction purposes.

In some cases, borrowers may explore personal loans as an alternative for financing construction projects. While personal loans typically have higher interest rates compared to mortgage loans, they may be suitable for smaller-scale projects or bridge financing.

Editorial Opinion

In assessing VA construction loans, it's important to recognize the advantages they offer to eligible veterans and service members in achieving homeownership aspirations. The provision of competitive interest rates, the option to forgo a down payment, and exemption from private mortgage insurance can significantly benefit borrowers, particularly those with limited financial resources. However, it's essential to acknowledge the intricacies involved in obtaining these loans, including stringent eligibility criteria and potentially longer processing times. While VA construction loans present valuable opportunities for eligible individuals, careful consideration of the requirements and process is crucial for a successful and smooth homeownership journey.

Important

Keeping your Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio below 30-40% of your monthly income is crucial. This will help you avoid potential financial problems in the future. Additionally, always assess the necessity and feasibility of taking a loan, ensuring you can comfortably manage its repayment.

How to Choose a Mortage Lender

  1. Check Associations. Look for lenders who are members of reputable organizations, such as the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Membership in these organizations can indicate a higher level of reliability and professionalism.

  2. Review Terms and Conditions. Carefully examine all the terms and conditions of the mortgage contract. Pay special attention to details like the loan term, fixed vs. variable interest rates, and any prepayment penalties.

  3. Interest Rates and Costs. Scrutinize the interest rates and ensure that your contract includes a detailed breakdown of the total cost of the mortgage, including closing costs, origination fees, and any other charges.

  4. Right of Rescission. Remember you can utilize your right of rescission, which typically allows you to cancel the mortgage within three days after signing the agreement. Additionally, use the "cooling-off" period to thoroughly review the contract and make an informed decision before finalizing the mortgage agreement.

  5. Compare Offers. Shop around and compare offers from multiple lenders to find the best rates and terms that suit your financial situation.

Additional resources

FAQ

What is the minimum credit score for a VA construction loan?

The minimum credit score requirement for a VA construction loan can vary depending on the lender. However, generally speaking, a credit score of around 620 or higher is typically required to qualify for a VA loan, including VA new construction loan options. Lenders may have their specific credit score requirements, so it's essential to check with individual lenders to determine their criteria.

Can a VA loan be used to build a house?

Yes, a VA loan can indeed be used to build a house. VA construction loans are designed to help eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and certain surviving spouses finance the construction of a new home. These loans offer many of the same benefits as traditional VA loans, including competitive interest rates, no down payment requirement (in most cases), and limited closing costs.

Does USAA offer VA construction loans?

As for USAA, while they specialize in VA loans and offer a range of mortgage products tailored to military members and their families, including purchase loans, refinancing, and renovation loans, they do not currently offer VA construction loans. However, they may guide alternative financing options or refer borrowers to other lenders who offer VA construction loans.