You’re shopping for a home with your significant other, and you’ve determined that one or both of you are eligible for a VA home loan. That means that you have a fantastic opportunity to snag a great deal on a mortgage featuring both favorable terms and built-in consumer protections. However, the ins and outs of this government-backed mortgage program are different from conventional mortgages, so you’ll need to make sure that you’re checking all the right boxes. What are the VA loan spouse requirements? What impact do they have on your mortgage?
Exploring VA Loan Spouse Requirements
How does your marriage impact your ability to get a VA loan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA loan program? That depends on a few different factors. Will your spouse be on the loan? Do you live in a community property state? Is your spouse also a service member or veteran? If so, are you planning to use both of your entitlements? The answers to questions like these will determine the VA loan spouse requirements that apply to your specific situation.
If Your Spouse Is Not a Veteran
Only one spouse needs to be eligible for a VA loan in order to secure the full guaranty. In fact, it’s common for couples consisting of a service member or veteran and a person not in the military to use a VA loan to buy their home. According to the Lenders Handbook – VA Pamphlet 26-7, the requirements for spouses vary depending on whether or not their names will be on the loan. If a spouse is not participating in the purchasing process, their credit history doesn’t need to be considered, but their debts do factor into the calculation as part of the household’s liabilities. If a spouse will be contractually obligated for the loan, then their income, credit, and debts should be verified and weighed just like the vet’s. The spouse’s income will also come into play if the vet is relying on their spouse’s income to qualify for the loan or counts alimony, child support, or maintenance payments as part of their income.
What if you live in a community property state? As The Mortgage Reports explains, community property states consider assets and liabilities amassed during the marriage to be jointly owned. Therefore, vets applying for a VA loan in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin should expect for their nonmilitary spouse’s credit, income, and debts to be reviewed whether they’re contractually obligated for the loan or not.
If Your Spouse Is Also a Veteran
What if you and your spouse are both eligible for VA loans because you both served in the military? In this situation, the spousal requirements depend on your plans. If you will only be using one partner’s entitlement, then the Lenders Handbook directs lenders to proceed as if only one spouse was a veteran. However, if you intend to use both entitlements, you’ll need to utilize a Joint VA loan.
As VA.org indicates, Joint VA loans are used in a few different circumstances. One of those situations is when two or more eligible vets are seeking a VA loan that will use the VA entitlements of multiple vets. This includes married couples and people, married or not, who are interested in purchasing property jointly. As the VA notes, Joint VA loans require borrowers to complete a few extra steps, and most of these loans must be sent on to the VA for approval. However, a Joint VA loan for a married couple can be approved automatically by a lender with the appropriate authority.
Eligibility for a VA loan is earned through service. At PrimeLending: Manhattan, Kansas, we want to help you take full advantage of your benefits. Our team of experienced loan officers has a comprehensive understanding of the VA loan program, so when you have questions about how VA loans work, VA loan spouse requirements, or other issues related to mortgages, we have the accurate answers that you need. We love to assist people in achieving their housing goals. Let us help you reach yours by walking you through the process of finding the best mortgage for your unique situation. Contact us today to learn more.