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5 min read Jun 11, 2023

Can You Get a VA Loan With Bad Credit?

A VA loan helps veterans, service members, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. At present, there are around 3.72M active VA home loan participants.

Bad credit can often make it difficult to get a house loan. VA loans ensure that veterans can get loans even with bad credit. You get benefits such as no down payment and competitive interest rates.

Here’s a guide on how to get a VA loan with bad credit.

Key Takeaways

  1. Minimum Credit Score for a VA Loan: Most lenders prefer a credit score of 620 or higher to issue a VA loan.
  2. Best VA Loan Lenders: Some well-known VA loan lenders include Veterans United Home Loans, Quicken Loans, Navy Federal Credit Union, and USAA.
  3. Ways to Get a VA Loan With Bad Credit: Work on improving your credit score by paying bills on time, reducing debt, and disputing any errors on your credit report.

What is a VA Home Loan?

A VA home loan is a mortgage program offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These loans assist eligible veterans, active-duty service members, and surviving spouses to purchase or refinance a home.

VA loans come with flexible terms such as no down payment, competitive interest rates, and the absence of private mortgage insurance (PMI). They aim to make home-buying easier and affordable for veterans and their families.

Typically, a VA loan credit score is around 620 or higher.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not set a minimum credit score requirement for VA loans. However, most lenders who offer VA loans have their own credit score criteria.

Types of VA Loans

There are several types of VA loans available to eligible veterans and active-duty service members. Some of them include:

  1. Purchase Loans: You can use these loans to purchase a primary residence. Other benefits include no down payment, competitive interest rates, and no requirement for private mortgage insurance (PMI).
  2. Cash-Out Refinance Loans: This loan allows you to refinance your existing mortgage. You can use the cash you receive for various purposes, such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or other financial needs.
  3. Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL): This loan is designed to help you lower your interest rates and monthly mortgage payments by refinancing an existing VA loan.
  4. Native American Direct Loan (NADL): This program provides loans to eligible Native American veterans to purchase, build, or improve their homes on federal trust lands. Additionally, it offers competitive interest rates and does not require a down payment or PMI.

Is it Possible to Get a VA Loan With Bad Credit?

Yes, it is!

While getting home loans for veterans with bad credit may present challenges, there are measures you can take to increase your chances of mortgage approval.

1. Understand Your Credit Requirements

Although the VA does not specify a minimum credit score, most lenders will have their own requirements. Lenders will evaluate your creditworthiness based on factors such as your credit score, credit history, and credit utilization.

A credit score of 620 or so is often used as a standard. However, certain lenders may need a higher number, like 640 or 660. To know if you are eligible, do your research on the credit standards of several lenders.

2. Improve Your Credit Score

Make a conscious effort to improve your credit score. Get rid of any inaccuracies on your credit report, lower your overall debt, and pay your bills on time. Remember that depending on your specific situation, the effect of these activities on your credit score may differ.

Additionally, review your credit reports regularly. Consult with a financial advisor for personalized guidance on improving your credit.

3. Save for a Down Payment

While VA loans typically do not require a down payment, savings for one can strengthen your loan application. A high down payment decreases the loan amount, lowering the lender’s overall risk.

Moreover, a larger down payment may lead to more favorable loan terms like a lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. This can reduce the lender’s risk and potentially lower your interest rate.

4. Consider a Co-Signer

Lenders consider the creditworthiness of all parties involved. A co-borrower or co-signer with a stronger credit profile can help you get a VA loan with favorable loan terms.

However, keep in mind that the co-signer or joint applicant is accountable for the loan as well. Only co-sign if you fully trust the person.

5. Look for VA Approved Lenders

VA loans have specific eligibility criteria and guidelines that differ from conventional loans. VA-approved lenders are well-versed in these requirements. They can help you navigate through the process more smoothly.

To find VA-approved lenders, you can visit the official website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and use their lender search tool. Additionally, you can seek guidance from fellow service members, veterans organizations, or your local VA office.

    🤔Are there any home loans for disabled veterans with bad credit?

    There are no specific loans as such. However, if you get VA disability benefits, ensure your lender is aware of it.

    You can use disability income to qualify for a mortgage. Lenders may take this non-taxable income into account when accepting your loan application.

Bottom Line

Getting bad credit VA home loans may pose challenges, but it is not impossible. Understand the credit requirements and work to improve your credit score.

Take proactive steps to address your credit issues. Consult with a mortgage professional or lender to understand the specific requirements. They can guide you through the process and help you make an informed decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a VA loan be denied?

Yes, a VA loan can be denied. If the applicant does not meet the VA loan eligibility requirements or fails to meet the lender's credit and income criteria, their VA loan can be rejected.

Can you use a VA home loan on a foreclosure?

Yes, you can use a VA home loan to purchase a foreclosed property. This is possible if the property meets the VA's minimum property requirements and the borrower meets all other eligibility criteria for a VA loan.

How hard is it to get a VA loan?

VA loans are considered to have more flexible qualification requirements compared to conventional loans. This makes them potentially easier to obtain for eligible veterans and active-duty service members.

Can I get a VA loan with a 500 credit score?

A credit score of 500 is considered quite low, and it may be challenging to find a lender willing to approve a VA loan with that score. However, it's recommended to reach out to different lenders to inquire about their specific requirements.

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