VA Loan Requirements & Eligibility for Orange County Veterans

va loan requirements(Updated for 2018) A common question among Orange County Veterans is “what are the VA loan requirements” and “am I eligible“. Because for several years in Orange County, the VA loan limits were too low to help a Veteran purchase a home, the VA program was seldom used. But now, with the $0 down loan limit in 2018 at $679,750, the VA loan program has become very popular. With low 30 year fixed rates, no down payment requirements, and flexible qualifying, any active duty military or Veteran thinking of purchasing a home in Orange County should learn about the VA loan program and the benefits it provides.

Eligibility Requirements for VA Loan Program

Orange County Veterans with active duty service (who were not dishonorably discharged) during World War II and later periods are eligible for VA loan benefits. World War II (September 16, 1940, to July 25, 1947), Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955), and Vietnam era (August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975) veterans must have at least 90 days of service.

Orange County Veterans and active duty military personnel who served during peacetime must have had more than 180 days of active service. Veterans of enlisted service starting after September 7, 1980, or officers with service beginning after October 16, 1981, must in most cases have served at least 2 years.

The VA does not require that you have a certain credit score in order for approval. Mortgage lenders, however, are allowed to set their own standards for VA loan requirements. Most Orange County direct VA lenders require a minimum FICO score of 620 for loan amounts under $453,100. For loan amounts over $453,100, known as “high balance VA loans”, the FICO may need to be higher.

Since early 2010, most VA lenders in Orange County, and throughout the country, have tightened their lending and credit score requirements, making home financing harder to come by for those with credit issues or other criteria that makes their loan riskier.

To learn more about this, our article Credit Score Requirements For Orange County, CA VA Mortgages is a great place to start.

There are three specific pieces of documentation a lender will need to determine your eligibility:

  • A DD214 for discharged veterans.
  • A statement of service for active military personnel.
  • A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to determine you have VA entitlement. Most Orange County VA lenders can quickly retrieve your Certificate of Eligibility on your behalf.

Because each VA lender has different qualifying guidelines, the next step is to contact your local Orange County VA loan expert to find out if you meet their VA loan requirements such as minimum FICO/credit scores, debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, and find out what your California county’s maximum loan amount is.

Lastly, if you have either had a divorce, filed bankruptcy, or had a previous home go into foreclosure, you are not immediately disqualified from a VA loan, although there are some additional restrictions.

You can find more information regarding these topics in our articles titled Divorce And VA Loan Eligibility, Does A Bankruptcy Mean I Can’t Get A VA Loan? and Can I Get A VA Loan If I’ve Had A Recent Foreclosure?

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA FHA and VA Loan Officer – Please contact my office at Home Point Financial for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan. 949-640-3102.  MLO 223456


Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family.

tstorm (at)


VA Home Loans versus CalVet | Which is Better for California Home Buyers

There are several differences between the VA home loan program and the Calvet home loan program. California veterans should take time to learn about both programs to determine what is best for them. There are times when the Calvet program is better and other times when the VA home loan program is better. Below are some of the differences, and why at this time the VA home loan program is better for most California veterans purchasing a home.

CalVet vs VA: Who is the Lender?

VA home loans are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration, but the actual loan is made by banks and mortgage banks. The VA’s guarantee on the loan encourages lenders to offer favorable terms to veterans, resulting in low interest rates. With the CalVet program, the state of California is the lender. California uses bond funds to lend to any virtually any Veteran who wishes to purchase a home in California.

Va vs. CalVet | Down Payment Requirements

The loan limits for 100% financing on a VA loan in Californiavary by county. For example, in Orange County and Los Angeles County, the 100% financing limit is $679,650 (2018 loan limit). California VA loan limits are very high. It is possible to go above $679,650 by coming in with a small down payment. The down payment is equal to 25% of the difference between the 100% financing limit and the purchase price.

The CalVet loan limit in California is $521,250, including the the financed Funding Fee. In some California Counties that limit is higher than VA, and in some counties it is lower. CalVet offers three basic programs: a 100% financing program, a 97% program, and a 80/20 program. There are subtle differences between these programs which need to be understood. While the 100% program allows the VA Funding Fee to be financed into the loan, just like the standard VA home loan program, the 97% program requires it be paid in escrow. This adds a considerable expense, on top of the down payment requirement.

Interest Rates for VA and CalVet home loans

Interest rates will fluctuate for the VA home loan program. This is an area where the VA program can easily beat out the CalVet program, and why the VA program has been more popular over the past few years. In 2010, VA home loan interest rates and been in the 4.5% to 5.5% range. The CalVet interest rates currently range between 5.75% and 6.2% according to information posted on their website. Because CalVet interest rates are based on Bond Funding, their interest rates do not quickly fluctuate.

Restrictions on the CalVet program

The CalVet program functions differently than the VA home loan program. With most mortgage programs, including the FHA, VA, and Conventional home loan programs, the California home buyer holds title to the home. The lenders holds the lien. Calvet uses a Contract of Sale for the financing instrument. This means CalVet actually holds title. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. It makes it difficult to refinance or get a second mortgage, whether its to take advantage of low interest rates or improve the home. An advantage is that CalVet is able to get group insurance rates for home owners insurance. In some areas where home owners insurance is difficult to get this can be beneficial. VA financing on condos in California can be tricky with either program. The condo project should be on the VA approved condo list.

When beginning the process of buying a home, it is important to find a California VA loan expert who understands the VA loan program and can quickly PreQualify and PreApprove you for a home loan. Finding someone who can answer your questions and provide customized loan scenarios is important.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loans. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation NMLS #2289. My direct line is 714-478-3049. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios that will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short-term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.

Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family. Ask for your Free First Time Home Buyer Report.

tstorm (at)


Orange County VA Home Loans After Foreclosure or Short Sale

Orange County Veterans who have had a short sale are able to purchase a home with $0 down immediately after the short sale. Veterans who have had a foreclosure need to wait two years. VA is relatively flexible in how they look at foreclosures and short sales, compared to FHA and Fannie Mae.

Short Sale versus Foreclosure

A short sale occurs when a home owner sells their home, even though they owe more than the home is worth. Their Orange County home loan lender needs to sign off on the home sale, since it is the bank who will be taking a loss on the property if it is sold.  A short sale can help to preserve a home owners credit compared to going through a full fledged foreclosure. FHA typically requires 3 years after a foreclosure or short sale, unless extenuating circumstances can be proved as the reason for the short sale.  Fannie Mae requires between 4 and 5 years after a foreclosure, but will lend to 80% of the properties value only two years after a short sale. But VA, at least for those that are eligible, will lend to 100% of the properties value up to the county VA loan limits. The VA Loan limits in Orange and Los Angeles counties, the $0 down loan limit is $679,650 in 2018.

Veterans Need Perfect Credit After Foreclosure or Short Sale

The only catch is that the Orange County veteran will need perfect credit since the short sale or foreclosure.  Especially over the most recent 12 months. Many times, leading up to the short sale, the seller may have multiple mortgage lates, possibly 90 or 120 day lates. This can really weigh the credit report down and hurt the FICO score. This is why it is important to reestablish credit immediately after the short sale, or foreclosure, and n0t have any more lates after the sale of the home.

Quick Way to Find if you are Qualified for a VA Home Loan in Orange County, California

It is always important to get PreApproved for a VA loan prior to make an offer on a home. It is probably even more important to do after a short sale or foreclosure. Find a reputable VA loan expert in Orange County, CA, and have them prepare personalized VA loan scenarios which will give a breakdown of the purchase price, loan amount, closing costs, and amount needed to close. The VA loan officer can get the Automated Loan Approval, which is an important step in determining early on whether you can get a VA home loan to purchase a home. The key is to make sure to find someone with experience to get them job done easily and quickly,

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA  VA Loan Officer – Please contact my office at Home Point Financial for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan.  949-640-3102. MLO 223456

Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family. Ask for your Free First Time Home Buyer Report.

tstorm (at)


Orange County VA Loans | Seller Concessions vs Closing Cost Credit

Orange County VA loan borrowers need to understand the difference between Seller Concessions and a Seller Credit for Closing Costs. Most loan programs will allow for the seller to pay some or of buyers closing costs, but VA goes a step further. VA allows for Seller Concessions.

What is a Seller Concession?

According to the VA, a Seller Concession is anything of value added to a transaction by the seller or builder for which the buyer pays nothing additional and which the seller is not customarily expected or required to pay or provide.  Below are several examples of Seller Concessions.

  • Payment of the buyer’s VA Funding Fee – this can be large for Orange County VA home buyers
  • Prepayment of the buyer’s property taxes and insurance. These are items included in “prepaid” expenses.
  • Gifts such as a television set or microwave.
  • Payment of extra points to provide permanent buydown of the interest rate. For example, if it is customary to pay 1 Origination and 1 Discount for a 5% rate, but the seller pay 2 additional Discount points to buy the rate down to 4.5%, that would be a Seller Concession.
  • Provision of escrowed funds to provide temporary interest rate buydowns – like a 2-1 Buydown program.
  • Payoff of credit balances or judgements on behalf of the buyer.

Seller concessions do not include:

  • Payment of the buyer’s non-recurring closing costs
  • Payment of points which are typical for the market

Imagine that. If an Orange County Veteran wants to purchase a home but first needs to pay off credit card debt, he or she could negotiate to have the seller pay off the debt as part of the purchase.

There cannot be more than 4% in Seller Concessions. But remember, you will not need to include normal discount points or buyer’s closing costs as part of the 4% limit.

Talking With an Orange County VA Loan Expert is the First Step

The first step is always to talk with a local Orange County VA loan officer. Your VA loan officer should be able to answer most questions, prepare detailed loan scenarios, and walk you through the VA loan PreApproval process.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA  VA Loan Officer MLO 223456– Please contact my office at Emery Financial Group for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan.  877-786-4243 x 7.

Contact us for your Orange County VA Mortgage:

Call our office today and see how we can help you and your family. Ask for your Free First Time Home Buyer Report.

877.786.4243 x 7 | tstorm (at)