The benefits of Veterans Administration (VA) home loans don’t stop with the purchase of a property. Veterans and service members have access to streamlined refinancing that can save them money every month and provide cash for home improvements, debt consolidation or major purchases. Veterans who have conventional loans can even refinance into a VA loan to take advantage of the benefits they earned.
Are you considering a VA loan refinance? Then you need to know the answers to the frequently asked questions below.
What is Refinancing?
Refinancing a mortgage simply means paying off an existing mortgage using a new one. Since time and expense are involved in a mortgage refinance, there must be a benefit to the borrower. Common benefits of refinancing include a lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment, cash out for home improvements and cash out to pay off higher interest debts. Closing costs can be substantial – with the exception of VA home loan refinances. The VA’s streamlined process allows veterans and service members to refinance with little cost or inconvenience.
What is VA Loan Refinancing?
Refinancing VA loans provides borrowers with the opportunity to save money without paying heavy closing costs. The cost savings result from the streamlined process. The streamlined process begins with the borrower completing a pre-qualification application. This application verifies the borrower’s eligibility for a streamlined process and determines if the refinance has a benefit to the borrower. If the loan has no benefit, the application process stops. The prequalification also determines if the borrower has sufficient income to afford the new loan, which is particularly important in cash-out refinances.
How does the VA Loan Refinancing Application Process Work?
The VA streamlined refinance program serves only those who previously qualified for a VA loan, so the process proceeds quickly with little paperwork. Most applications require no appraisal, which saves time and money while increasing the chances of approval. The loan officer will complete the application and collect needed documents, including driver’s license, proof of social security number, homeowners insurance and the current note. The borrower signs the legally required disclosures and the application process is complete. Approvals generally take about two weeks.
What is an IRRRL VA Refinance?
An interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL) refinance provides veterans and service members the opportunity to refinance their VA loan into another VA loan at a lower interest rate. IRRRL refinances become popular when interest rates decline. In choosing whether to proceed with an IRRRL refinance, borrowers calculate the savings each month and compare it to the costs. If the time it takes for the savings to outweigh the costs is shorter than the time the borrower plans to stay in the home than the IRRRL provides substantial long-term savings.
What is a Cash out Refinance VA Loan?
The VA allows cash-out loans of up to 90% of the home’s value. For example, if a home’s value stood at $100,000 and the loan balance plus refinance fees came to $80,000, then the borrower could cash out a maximum of $10,000. Cash-out refinances work best when the funds are deployed for home improvements or to pay off much higher interest debt, such as credit cards. Home improvements increase the value of the property, so the borrower regains the equity once improvements are completed. When used to pay off high-interest credit cards, the borrower saves on interest payments and reduces overall debt far faster than without using the cash-out refinance option.
Refinancing into a VA Loan
Qualified veterans who have conventional loans are often surprised at how much money they can save by refinancing into a VA loan. VA loan interest rates are very competitive, and the refinance fees are much lower than conventional loan programs. As a result, all veterans with conventional loans should compare refinancing VA loan against a conventional refinance.
The VA loan program has helped millions of military and veteran families achieve homeownership. By taking advantage of refinance options, veterans can gain even more benefits. VA loan refinances provide veterans with a fantastic opportunity to reduce expenses, make home improvements and manage debt for a financially secure future.