CalVet Home Loan versus VA Home Loan | Which is Better?

California Veterans can choose between the CalVet home loan or the VA home loan. Both programs offer Zero Down Financing. But which program is better? It depends on several factors. The type of property you are purchasing, the purchase price of the home, and your long term plans with the home. A home loan is a major decision and it is important to select the right loan program for your situation. For California Veterans, the two primary programs are the Calvet and VA home loan programs. While both programs are very similar, there are important differences to consider before selecting the best program for you.

Eligibility for a CalVet Home Loan versus a VA Home Loan:

Both programs require a period of active duty service of at least 90 days as well as a discharge status other than dishonorable. CalVet is only available to veterans and active duty military living in California, while VA is available nationwide.

CalVet Home Loan:

When using the CalVet program, the desired home is purchased by CalVet and then sold to the veteran using a contract of sale. CalVet holds legal title, while equitable title is given to the veteran occupying the property. This process still gives veterans several ownership rights including property tax and mortgage interest deductions. Since CalVet holds the legal title, they can obtain a lower group rate for homeowner’s insurance. With CalVet holding legal title to your property, it can make it difficult to refinance or obtain a second mortgage in the future. CalVet does not refinance their loans, so if a Veteran wishes to takes advantage of lower rates or pull cash out based on increased equity, they will need to refinance out of the CalVet loan. The CalVet loan program is very flexible when it comes to purchasing manufactured homes, and is the better option if the manufactured home is on leased land.Orange County Veterans, home buyer

VA Home Loan:

With a VA loan, the veteran receives full ownership rights and legal title to the property, just like most other types of home loan programs. VA also allows for more flexibility in terms of occupying the property. With a VA loan the veteran must initially occupy the property, but after a few years they are able to live elsewhere and rent out the property. Compared to CalVet, which requires the purchased property to be the primary residence until the loan is fully repaid. Also, VA loans are much easier to refinance. VA offers the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), which allows the Veteran to refinance their loan to lower their interest rate and payment without doing a new appraisal and without supplying income documentation.  Also, while the VA loan program does allow for financing of manufactured homes there are not many lenders who will fund a VA loan on a manufactured home, especially if it is on leased land.

County VA Loan Limits and Loan Entitlements:

The size of the loan you need will likely influence which program better suits your needs based on which county you live in.  In Orange and Los Angeles counties the current VA loan limit is $625,500 whereas in Riverside County the current loan limit is $417,000. It is even possible to get a Jumbo VA loan that is above the county $0 down loan limit by coming in with a down payment. VA loans in the $800,000 to $1,000,000 range are not unusual.

Understanding your options are very important. Make sure to research both VA and CalVet to make sure you are choosing the right loan program for your needs.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County VA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loan. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at the Home Point Financial. My direct line is 949-640-3102. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios which will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of the your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.

CalVet Loan or VA Loan | Which is Better for Orange County Veterans?

calvet loan or va loan, which is betterWhich loan program is better for Orange County, CA Veterans – CalVet or VA? It depends on the Veteran and the situation. It also depends on what is happening with interest rates. But in most cases the standard VA loan program will be the best option for a Veteran in Orange County, CA.

Important Differences Between the CalVet and VA Loan Programs

  • Max Loan Limit for 100% Financing.  The 100% VA Loan financing limit in Orange County for a standard VA loan is $625,500 in 2015. And there is are income limitations for VA. Also, it is possible to go even higher than the $0 down limit with VA. This is called a Jumbo VA Loan. Many VA lenders will lend up to $1,500,000.  CalVet will currently lender to $611,901 in “non-target” areas, and the Veteran must have income that is less than $108,360 for a 2 person household, or $126,420 for a 3 + person household. The fact that VA has no limitations just makes it easier to work with.
  • Interest rates.  CalVet has a few different interest rate offerings, depending on the “Mortgage Bond” the loan is based on. The QVMB program interest rate is 3.75% with a 4.09% APR. The QVMB has a max loan of $521,250. The QMB has a rate of 4.25% with an APR of 4.6%. The QMB is the program with income restrictions but the loan limit of $611,901.  As of this writing, standard VA 30 year fixed rates for loans under $417,000 are 3.25% with a 3.291 APR. For VA loans over $417,001 up to $625,500, interest rates are 3.5% with a 3.651% APR.  *Rates effective January 28, 2015. Subject to change.
  • VA Loan fees are typically lower than fees charged on the CalVet loan program. Also, many VA lenders will be able to offer a rate/fee option that would include a lender credit for all closing closing costs.  CalVet charges a 1% Origination Fee on all loans. There will be much more flexibility with a VA loan in helping the Veteran purchase a home with no money out of pocket.
  • Refinancing if interest rates drop. The CalVet loan does not have a refinance program for situations where interest rates drop. On the other hand, the VA program has what is by far the easiest refinance program. It is called the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, or IRRRL. With the IRRRL, there is no appraisal or income documentation required from the VA loan borrower to complete the refinance. A CalVet borrower would need to refinance completely out of the CalVet loan and into a VA loan in order to take advantage of lower interest rates. However, that is a tough way to go because since the CalVet borrower doesn’t currently have a VA loan, they would need to do a full refinance, with appraisal, termite inspection and clearance, income documentation, and VA Funding Fee. It would have been easier to just go VA in the first place.
  • Loan versus contract of sale. CalVet will actually hold legal title for the Veteran because CalVet us a Land Contract, or “Contract of Sale”. Basically, CalVet purchases the property and then sells it to the Veteran using a Land Contract. CalVet holds title, while the Veteran holds “equitable title”. With VA, the Veteran receives title immediately upon purchasing the home, which is like other standard types of financing.

How To Know Which Loan Type if Best for You

The best way to know which program is best for you is to contact an Orange County Military Lending Specialist, who can prepare custom loan scenarios based on your long and short term financial goals. Financing a home is the biggest investment most people will ever make, so making sure you’re research includes all your option can save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County VA Loan Officer specializing in VA Loan. MLO 223456. – Please contact my office at the Emery Financial. My direct line is 949-640-3102. I will prepare custom VA loan scenarios which will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of the your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.

CalVet Loan or VA Loan | Which is Better for Orange County Veterans

The CalVet loan program or the standard VA loan; which is better? It all depends on when the question is being asked and where you plan to buy a home. There are several distinct advantages the standard VA loan program has as of right now, September 2011, over the CalVet loan program. The biggest factor pushing most Veterans and active duty military personnel into the standard VA loan program is interest rate. But there are differences in loan limits which can sometimes favor the CalVet program depending on the California county the Veteran is purchasing in.

Low Interest Rates Favor the VA Loan Program

2011 has been a banner year for low interest rates. In September 2011, interest rates even hit all time lows. VA 30 year fixed rates are averaging 3.75% (3.98% APR)APR to 4.25% (4.48% APR) this year. VA interest rates have been consistently low for the last several years. CalVet loan program interest rates range from 5.5% (5.9% APR) to 5.95% (6.36% APR), which is a full 1.75% spread over the standard VA loan progam interest rates. To show what that interest rate spread does to the payment, lets compare a $300,000 loan. At 4%, the payment is $1,432. At 5.5%, the payment is $1,703. That is a $271 monthly payment difference, in favor of the standard VA loan program.

VA Loan Limit in Orange County is $700,000 | CalVet is $521,250

The VA loan limit for 2011 in Orange County, CA is $700,000, meaning a Veteran can purchase a home with Zero Down in Orange County (and Los Angeles) up to a $700,000 purchase price. A Veteran can even go with a higher priced home by bringing in a small down payment. The CalVet loan program caps out at $521,250. So for Orange County homebuyers looking at properties above a $521,250 price, who are undeterred by the higher interest rate a CalVet loan has, would still go VA because of the high loan amounts allowed.

VA vs CalVet | Homeowners Insurance

One advantage CalVet does over VA is a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy, which includes guaranteed replacement for your home, even in natural disaster situations like an earthquake or flood. Private insurance companies will charge extra for this type of coverage, and “guaranteed replacement” in California is very difficult to come by.

CalVet Does not offer a Refinance Program

CalVet requires that you apply for the loan before taking title to the property. Translated, this means it is only for a purchase, not a refinance. In contrast, VA offers the IRRRL program, or Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan. With this program you can lower your rate (if rates drop) without needing a full appraisal and without needing to qualify. It is a very “streamlined” process. However, it is only for current VA loan borrowers. For those Veterans who wish to refinance into a VA loan from a Conventional or FHA loan, they would need an appraisal and full income documentation. But the good news is they could refinance up to 100% of the properties value.

CalVet offers home Improvement loans up to $150,000 at competitive rates, which is a nice feature. VA does not currently have a home improvement loan program. However, another option is to use the FHA 203K Rehab loan program, which can later be refinanced into a VA loan.

VA Loan Versus CalVet Loan | Which is Better?

It depends. For most Orange County Veterans, the standard VA loan program is the way to go. Lower interest rates and higher loan amounts are two benefits that are hard to ignore. But it is important to keep abreast of changes. Who knows. VA could lower the 100% financing limit in 2012. Or interest rates, which change daily, could go up for the VA program. It is important to consult with an Orange County, CA VA loan expert who can prepare custom loan scenarios based on a Veteran’s qualifications. The VA loan expert can then help the Veteran get a VA Loan PreApproval.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA FHA and VA Loan Officer – Please contact my office at Emery Financial for more information about an Orange County, CA home loan.  Direct:  949-829-1846   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)