Owning Your Dream Home: A Guide to National Guard VA Home Loans

For many National Guard members, the dream of homeownership can seem distant. However, the VA Home Loan program offers a unique opportunity to achieve that dream with a variety of benefits. This guide will explore everything National Guard members need to know about qualifying for and utilizing a VA Home Loan.

Understanding VA Home Loans

The VA Home Loan program is a government-backed initiative administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It’s not a direct loan program, but rather a guaranty program for private lenders like banks and credit unions. The VA essentially guarantees a portion of the loan, making it less risky for lenders and allowing them to offer more favorable terms to veterans and eligible service members, including National Guard members.

Benefits for National Guard Members

VA Home Loans come with several significant advantages for National Guard members:

  • Reduced or No Down Payment: Unlike conventional loans, which typically require a 20% down payment, VA Loans allow for little to no down payment. This significantly reduces the upfront financial burden of buying a home.
  • Competitive Interest Rates: VA Loans generally boast lower interest rates compared to traditional mortgages, further lowering the overall cost of your home.
  • No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): PMI is an additional cost typically required for conventional loans with a down payment of less than 20%. VA Loans eliminate the need for PMI, saving you money each month.
  • Streamlined Process: The VA helps streamline the loan application process, making it easier and faster to obtain a mortgage.

Eligibility for National Guard Members

To be eligible for a VA Home Loan as a National Guard member, you must meet specific service requirements:

  • Six Years of Honorable Service: This is the most common eligibility path. If you’ve served at least six years in the National Guard and received an honorable discharge, you qualify.
  • Active Duty Service: If you’ve completed at least 90 days of active duty service (Title 10 activation), you’re eligible.
  • National Guard Mobilization (Title 32): Recent changes allow eligibility for National Guard members activated under Title 32 orders who served at least 90 cumulative days of active duty, with at least 30 days consecutive.

Obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) verifies your entitlement to a VA Home Loan. You can obtain your COE online through the VA’s eBenefits portal (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/) or by mailing a request form to the VA. Some lenders may also be able to assist you in obtaining your COE.

Next Steps: Finding a Lender

Once you have your COE, you can start shopping for a lender. Many banks, credit unions, and mortgage companies offer VA Loans. It’s crucial to compare rates and terms from multiple lenders to find the best deal for your situation.

Utilizing Your VA Home Loan Benefit

When you’ve found a lender and been pre-approved for your VA Loan, you can proceed with the home buying process. Remember, VA Loans are for primary residences, meaning the home you intend to live in as your main dwelling.

Additional Considerations

  • Funding Fee: There is a funding fee associated with VA Loans, which can be financed into the loan amount or paid upfront. The fee amount varies depending on your down payment, loan type, and service history.
  • Credit Requirements: While VA Loans don’t require a perfect credit score, you’ll still need a good credit history to qualify.
  • Entitlement Amount: The VA has a maximum entitlement amount that guarantees a portion of your loan. This amount can vary depending on your circumstances.


The VA Home Loan program is a powerful tool for National Guard members to achieve homeownership. With its many benefits and streamlined process, it can make the dream of owning a home a reality. By understanding the eligibility requirements, obtaining your COE, and shopping around for the best lender, you can take advantage of this valuable benefit and secure your financial future.


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