Residual Income and how it can affect your VA loan in Orange County

residual income flagVA Residual Income is…

A safeguard established by VA to ensure you can afford the new loan payment, with any debt you currently have, and still have enough for food, entertainment and housing expenses (because eating dinner is important). The Veteran’s Administration has dubbed this leftover monthly amount VA Residual Income. In order to qualify a Veteran and their spouse for a VA loan, we must first calculate their gross monthly income. Then federal, state, and social security taxes,  determined by the amount of dependents filed on the most recent tax return, are subtracted out. From this we get what is called Net Income, which is the amount taken home each month after taxes. After the net income is determined, the rest of the debts are deducted to reveal the Veteran’s residual income amount. In order below:

  • New proposed house payment (principle, interest, taxes, insurance, and Home Owners Association payment for Orange County VA approved condos.)
  • Maintenance of the house – using a factor of .14 cents per square foot of the home
  • Debts (monthly credit card payments, all installment and revolving accounts)
  • Child Care
  • Alimony or Child Support

A mortgage payment can put a significant strain on family finances. So borrowers looking to start the VA loan process must have a minimum amount of residual income depending on where they live and how many people live in the home.

Residual income must be equal to or more than the amount in the chart:

VA Residual Income by Region on all loan amounts $80,000 and higher
Family Size Northeast Midwest South West
1 $450.00 $441.00 $441.00 $491.00
2 $755.00 $738.00 $738.00 $823.00
3 $909.00 $889.00 $889.00 $990.00
4 $1,025.00 $1,003.00 $1,003.00 $1,117.00
5 $1,062.00 $1,039.00 $1,039.00 $1,158.00
Over 5 Add $80 for each additional member (up to a family of 7)

*For VA loans in Orange County we use the numbers from the West column to determine the Veteran’s residual income for Southern California loans.

How will it influence the loan decision?

Not meeting the residual income requirement should not trigger an automatic denial of a loan, but can be a deal breaker in most cases. This is a non-negotiable requirement that is in place to protect the Veteran from getting into a credit situation they cannot handle. Because each loan candidate’s particulars differ, their entire financial position is reviewed by a VA Direct Endorsed underwriter (the underwriter works for the lender – no VA). Common elements that are methodically reviewed will include your credit score, history and use of credit, employment history, liquid assets and/or down payment (if made, VA Funding Fee may be reduced). All of these areas in addition to the residual income calculation, will either strengthen or weaken the underwriter’s view of the file, and will further impede their decision to extend an approval or denial of the loan.

Truth be told, the bigger the loan amount the lower the chance that residual income will be a factor. And since property values are so high in Orange County, residual income rarely is an issue. A Veteran purchasing a home in Orange County who has a wife and two children will only need $1,117 in Residual Income. In reality, that is not really enough to cover food, clothing, and other potential problems that could arise when owning a home. Still, the Residual Income will always be reviewed to make sure the requirements set by VA are met.

Bottom Line

The Department of Veteran Affairs aims to keep Southern California home buying an affordable experience for all Veterans and their families. By having high 100% financing loan limits, flexible credit and income requirements, and aggressive loan pricing with no monthly mortgage insurance, the VA loan program is the best loan program available for Orange County home buyers. The first step is to talk with a local Orange County VA loan officer who can prepare custom VA loan scenarios and handle VA loan PreApproval.

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.