VA Loan Calculators | are they accurate for California Veterans?


Are VA loan calculators found on websites accurate? While a mortgage calculator can help in getting a quick idea of what a payment would be, in most cases they will not be accurate enough for what will be one of the biggest  purchases you will make in your lifetime.

PITI – Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance

The total monthly payment on a VA loan is made up of a combination of several factors, including loan principal, interest,  property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and in the case of a condo, the Home Owners Association Dues.

Many mortgage websites contain a loan calculator that can be used to calculate an estimated monthly payment. Most of these calculators take into account most of the important values like purchase price, estimated down payment, and estimated loan term and interest rate. While these values play a big role in the calculation of your monthly payment, there are other factors that are involved in your monthly payment that these calculators either assume or don’t include.

Factors that can Affect the VA Loan Payment

Orange County VA Loan Approval

The first of these factors that play a role in shaping a VA monthly payment are the calculation of the VA Funding Fee. Knowing whether the Funding Fee is 1.25%, 1.5%, 3.3%, or 0 is something that most online calculators do not account for. Whether or not a veteran has previously had a VA loan or if they are a disabled veteran  factors heavily into the size of the VA funding fee, or whether there is a VA Funding Fee at all.

Other factors that play into determining a monthly payment include the property tax rate of the property (which will vary from one geographic region to the next) as well as the Homeowner’s insurance (earthquake insurance, flood insurance, rural area, etc). Each of these factors can vary by the area that you live in and may be different than the assumptions that the calculator is using.

What Does a California VA Loan Scenario Look Like?

With my clients I will always prepare a custom VA loan scenario, which will have a thorough breakdown of the Veterans payment, closing costs, and amount needed to close. Knowing these numbers in the early stages of the home buying process is crucial. I prepared a quick “screen capture” video which will show you what a VA loan scenario looks like. Click Here for the video.

VA Loan scenario

While researching loan options and gathering information it is extremely beneficial to get an accurate loan scenario from a California VA Loan Specialist. A loan scenario will provide a full breakdown of all the factors that will play into shaping a VA loan and the monthly payment as well as being customized to your specific situation. A complete loan scenario will also give the California Veteran an accurate estimate of the amount of money to close to close, if any.

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.

What FICO Score is Required for a VA Loan?

A common question by Orange County veterans interested in using VA financing to purchase or refinance a home is “what is the minimum FICO required?” The answer to this question can vary from lender to lender. Many lenders require a minimum of 620. But there are lenders who will allow FICO scores as low as 580 or lower.

Minimum FICO Scoring Tied to Loan Amount and Purposerefinance to va loan

VA lenders may  adjust the minimum FICO score depending on the loan amount and purpose of the loan. For example, many lenders will allow a minimum FICO of 620 only when it is a purchase loan and the loan amount is $453,100 or less. A loan amount greater than $453,100, which is considered a “high balance” is common in Orange County, may require a minimum FICO of 640. A refinance may have a different set of requirements. A refinance of a Conventional loan to a VA loan where the loan amount is less than $453,100 may require a FICO score of at least 640, while VA loans greater than $453,100 require a minimum FICO of 660. The VA loan limit for 100% financing in Orange County in 2018 is $679,650. Loan amounts above $679,650 are possible but would require some equity or down payment. A VA loan above the county limits for 100% financing is considered a “Jumbo VA Loan.”

Other VA Loan Credit Requirements

Overall, VA is one of the most flexible loan programs when it comes to credit. A Veteran can get a $0 down VA loan in Orange County only two years after a bankruptcy or foreclosure. Most loan programs require at least 4 fours seasoning after a foreclosure, if not closer to 7 years. And more down payment. But with VA, the 2 year requirement makes it a very flexible program. There is no seasoning requirement for a short sale.

How is the FICO Score Determined

FICO, which is the acronym for Fair Isaac Company, is a program which is used by the credit bureaus to determine a borrowers creditworthiness. There are different versions of FICO depending on what a person is financing. The FICO score shown on a credit report at a car dealership will be different than the FICO score pulled by a lender. There are different factors that a home lender deems to be important versus what a car lender will think is important. Also, there are other types of scores that are readily available to consumers, including the Vantage Score. However, the only way to get your actual FICO score that a mortgage lender will see if to go to a mortgage lender.

Get PreApproved for a VA Loan

One of the biggest reasons why it is so important to get PreApproved for a VA loan prior to searching for a home is because of the credit report. Even the best borrowers can sometimes have a surprise on their credit report. Finding this out and clearing any credit report errors prior to finding the home of your dreams is important if the closing is to be a smooth transaction. This is why the first step for a Veteran in Orange County who is thinking of using VA financing to buy a home should always be to call a local Orange County VA lender.

Authored by Tim Storm, a California Mortgage Loan Officer MLO 223456 – Please contact my office at the Home Point Financial (NMLS 7706). Direct line at 949-640-3102.

VA Loan Program Will Be Popular in Orange County in 2011

VA loans will be even more popular in 2011 than in 2010 in Orange County. There are several reasons, besides the most obvious reason being that no down payment is required up to a $700,000 purchase price. Up until recently, Orange County Veterans did not realize the benefits that a VA loan program offered them.

Benefits of the VA Loan Program for Orange County Veterans

  • 2011 VA Loan Limits are higher. 100% Financing up to $700,000 in Orange and Los Angeles Counties in 2011. This is actually an increase from 2010, when the 100% financing limit was $593,750. Even that was great, but $700,000 is better.
  • VA allows “cash out” refinancing up to 90% of the property value. This is much better than Conventional financing, which would have severe pricing “hits” for doing a “cash out” refinance at even 80% of the properties value on a loan amount under $417,000. Most Conventional loan guidelines consider combining a 1st and 2nd to be a “cash out” refinance. With the drop in property values since 2007, many homeowners have not been able to combine their 1st and 2nd mortgages because of the tight Conventional loan guidelines. But Orange County Veterans have the ability to combine their 1st and 2nd up to 90% of the properties value.
  • VA guidelines are more flexible when it comes to credit as compared to Conventional guidelines. Even if a Veteran has 20% down payment, a VA loan may be the best option if they’ve had a Short Sale, bankruptcy, or other credit issues in the past few years.
  • VA allows for higher “debt to income” ratios than Conventional financing. While Fannie Mae does not allow debt to income ratios above 45% without an exception, and even then will not go over 50%, VA is more interested in “residual income” that the debt to income ratios. On higher loan amounts this allows for quite a bit of flexibility.

Closing a VA Loan in Orange County is Easy

Closing a VA loan is much easier than some think. While the large banks can take 60 days or more to close a Conventional loan, a good Orange County Direct VA lender can close a VA loan in 30 days, maybe less. The key is to work with a Orange County VA loan Expert who knows what items are needed to complete the file, before the VA underwriter  reviews the file. The VA loan expert should be able to provide accurate loan scenarios before the loan process starts, allowing the borrower to consider all options before paying for an appraisal.

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)


How to Buy a Home in Orange County with $0 Out Pocket with a VA Loan

It is possible to purchase a property in Orange County with no money out of pocket if your eligible for a VA loan. Commonly referred to as a VA NO NO, with a little negotiating, it can be done.

What is a VA NO NO?

VA refers to the Veterans Administration, which offers 100% financing for eligible veterans and active duty military personnel.  The first “NO” refers to the fact that no down payment is required on a VA loan up to the loan limits for each region. In Orange County, the VA loan Limit for 100% financing is $593,750.  The second “NO” refers to negotiating to have the seller pay all the Veterans closing costs. Closing costs, depending on the purchase price, can easily be between 2% and 3% of the purchase price.  During the offer/counteroffer stage of a transaction, the buyer needs to negotiate to have the seller pay the estimated amount needed to close and the Veteran can end up purchasing a home with no money out of pocket.

$8,000 First Time Buyer Tax Credit

If an Orange County VA eligible First Time Home Buyer plays their cards right, they can purchase a home with no out of pocket funds and the government will pay you $8,000 to do it. To qualify for the Tax Credit, a property must be in contract by April 30, 2010, and then escrow closed by June 30, 2010. The tax credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price, or $8,000, which ever is less. In Orange County, home buyers would be hard pressed to find a property for less than $80,000, so 99% of Orange County First Time Home Buyers should get the full amount.

The first thing to do is check with an Orange County VA Expert Loan Officer who can put together multiple loan scenarios based on your goals and qualifications. Orange County VA loan PreApproval is very important, especially prior to making an offer.

Authored by Tim Storm, an Orange County, CA 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)