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Streamline Finance Vs. Cash-Out Refinance

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As life goes on, changes are inevitable. Changes in income, marital status, and other life events can change the way you look at your mortgage payment. This is why understanding the difference between your refinance options after you’ve purchased a home is pivotal to making the right decision for you, which is why the VA Home Loans team is here to help you distinguish the difference!

Streamline Refinance

Streamline refinancing is a very desirable option due to the potential for lower interest rates and monthly mortgage payments. Commonly known as a VA IRRRL, this refinance option allows you to have extended loan periods which gives you more time and flexibility to pay it off. This is one of the most popular refinancing options because it limits the amount of paperwork and stress that is involved with the process adjusting your mortgage!

Cash-Out Refinance

With a more conservative approach, the cash-out refinance option is another popular choice. This alternative allows you to replace your current loan with a new one, as well as allowing you to liquidate cash out of your home equity. There are infinite options you can do with a VA-backed cash-out refinance, such as using it to pay off medical bills, pay for school, make home improvements, and more. While looking into this option you should know that lenders typically look for a credit score of around 650, as well as needing you to certify that you will refinance. The plus side is, as long as you meet all of the respected guidelines, you can finance your closing costs. Using money from your home equity to pay off high-interest credit cards statements could potentially save you loads of money, which is why this is such a sought after alternative!

Deciding which mortgage refinancing option is best for you is a tough decision, which is why VA Home Loans wants to give you some helpful insight. If you have any questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to call us today for more information!

White and brown home with for sale sign.

How to Get Started on Buying a New Home

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If you’ve never had to look at buying a new house, it can be somewhat of a confusing process. There are certain steps you have to take, and some of them have to be done in a certain order. If you’re a military veteran and are looking at purchasing your first home, read below about the steps involved to start seriously browsing.

Determine Your Price Range

The first step in deciding on a home is to figure out what your price range is. While you may be able to secure a loan, it’s important to remember that you’ll have to pay it off eventually. A good way to get a general idea is the Affordability Calculator. This tool will give you a good idea of what price range you should be looking in. This is also a good time to consider how much of a down payment you can afford because typically you will have to make a down payment of 5-20%. Veterans who receive a VA Home Loan, however, aren’t responsible for a down payment.

Discuss Loan Options

The next step is to be approved for your VA Home Loan. VA Home Loans are for active and retired service members as well as their spouses. They are easier to acquire than a conventional loan due to fewer qualification requirements, and because they don’t require a down payment are much more helpful to the veteran borrower. This makes it so many more veterans are able to purchase a home. You can get an online quote on the VA Home Loan website, or you can contact an officer to speak about your options.

Hire a Realtor

It can be very important to find a good realtor when you’re looking for your home. With a realtor, you can be very involved in the process, or somewhat hands-off if you’d like. You can give them a list of qualities you want in a home and a general location, and they’ll find you a list. Or, you can bring the realtor homes you like and they can help you with negotiation and other purchasing activities. Finding the right realtor to work with can be hard. Luckily, there are sites that have reviews for realtors, which can help in slimming down the pool. There are many realtors that have a background in military service, so if that’s something you are looking for, there are plenty of options. It’s always a good idea to meet with a realtor to decide if they’re the right fit for you, though!

You’re Ready for Your New Home

After you’ve determined your price range, secured your VA Home Loan, and hired a realtor, you’ll be ready to find your new home and make an offer on it. Buying a home can be a stressful process, but calling VA Home Loans of Idaho to discuss your loan options as a veteran can help ease that stress. Give them a call today and discuss your loan for your new home!

A sunny day at a condo complex that has a pool with square, white condos.

Using Your VA Home Loan to Buy a Condo

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When it comes to a VA Home loan, there are many different styles of home that you can choose from. A single-family house is not for everyone, so if your dream is to live by a beach in a condo or downtown in the city life, you can do that! Condos are known to be less maintenance than a house as well as more affordable. When it comes to using the benefits of a VA home loan, you need to make sure that the places you are looking at fall under the qualifications required for this loan. Another thing to keep in mind is that not every complex or company accepts this loan.

The Requirements

There are specific requirements that need to be met in order for a condominium to get approved.

  • For newly constructed condos at least 75% of the units must be sold first.
  • In pre-existing projects, 50% of the units must be occupied in order for a VA Loan to be considered.
  • The development must consist of more than one unit.

These are a few of the requirements for condos that already accept a VA home loan. When it comes to developments that are not already approved for these loans, there is a way that you can go about getting your loan approved. You first need to ask your loan officer to contact the development and get approval. Here are a few steps that need to be taken when trying to get this loan approved.

  • Declarations of covenants, conditions, and overall restrictions
  • Current financial and litigation statements
  • Minutes from a homeowner association meeting
  • Homeowners bylaws

Note that a development is not required to provide these documents, therefore, they are not required to approve a VA loan. It is up to their discretion.

Different Forms Of Approval

There are different ways that developments are approved to accept a VA loan:


The Housing and Urban Development Department, also known as HUD, is the department that holds all of the financing for VA loans. If you are looking at a condo that is already HUD-approved, then your chances are high for getting accepted to become a tenant.


These condos are already pre-approved by the VA which means that they also accept VA financing. Make sure you look into development that is already accepted and or approved that way you won’t have to go through the difficult process of trying to get somewhere approved.


If a development is not pre-approved by the VA then that means they are not available for VA financing. Meaning that they have never tried to go through the approval process or they might have been denied in the past. This is when you can decide to try and go through the process of getting this development approved or not.
These different forms of approval and disapproval will be listed somewhere in the information given from the development itself. This is a breakdown of what all the different status levels mean and where they stand when it comes to accepting VA loans or not.

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Why Now is the Best Time to Buy a New Home

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With a few key changes coming into play in 2020 thanks to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, having access to a VA home loan can make all the difference in the world for service members and their families. Buying a home can be intimidating, but there’s no time quite like the present to make those dreams a reality!

February is Historically One of the Best Months to Buy

With the benefit of the usual slight drop in market pricing over the winter still being in effect, and February beginning to see the early gradual growth of spring listings, this month could offer some benefits that others might not, especially with the recent trends in Boise and Eagle. By utilizing a Veterans home loan in Boise, you could be closer than ever to your dream home.

Trends Indicate Prices Will Continue to Rise

With the influx of people moving to Idaho not likely to decrease any time soon, the market trends indicate that home prices will only continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Compared to 2018, December’s median listing prices in Boise saw an increase of over 15 percent. Now may be a good time to view a home as an investment: using a VA home loan in Idaho, you could get something a little lower in price, make the needed improvements, and come out with a profit if you needed or wanted to resell!

Idaho is Still Growing

Idaho’s population is constantly growing; whether it’s people moving to escape to peaceful country life, or those who are coming to Boise, Eagle and the surrounding area for a taste of city living without the overcrowding and high cost of living of larger cities, our beautiful state has much to offer. It’s not just individuals seeing the draw of the Gem State; companies are eyeing the Treasure Valley as the new up and comer! Amazon and Pioneer Square Labs (a Seattle startup) are relocating to the area, joining the big hitters like Micron, Hewlett Packard, and Microsoft, bringing amazing employment opportunities along with them. If you are looking for a new job, the low unemployment rate and rapidly increasing job pool could provide you with one more reason to look at relocation into a new home!

There are many reasons why now is a great time to buy a new home, and with a VA home loan, it has never been easier for servicemen and women to start a new life. Get a quote today; you never know when your dreams are just around the corner!

VA Benefits for Our American Heroes

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For serving our country our veterans and service members are given benefits outside of the general public. Not everyone joins the military with the expectation that they are going to be receiving government benefits. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular and important benefits for veterans. Our American heroes deserve these options for keeping our country safe.

Life Insurance

Veterans have the option to receive Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI). This replaces the SGLI. You can sign up to the amount you had during service if you had the SGLI. It is overseen by the VA, but is administered by the Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance. The coverage is issued in multiples of $10,000 up to $400,000, but cannot be more than the SGLI they had during service.

Home Loans

Instead of having a regular mortgage, veterans, active military members, and service member families can have a VA home loan. This enables the purchase of a home without a downpayment. You can receive long-term financing with 3 different choices; purchase loans, interest rate reduction refinance loans and cash-out refinance loans. Now in 2020, without a loan limit, veterans can receive a larger VA home loan and purchase the home of their dreams. Speak with a VA Home Loan lender like Devin Fahrner if you would like to explore your options in Idaho.

Disability Benefits

Veterans with service-related injuries or illnesses may be entitled to receive VA disability compensation. It is a monthly tax-free payment for veterans who got sick or injured while serving in the military. The amount received can range anywhere from $133 to $3400 a month. This amount can be increased depending on the severity of the disability. Remember to always provide as much paperwork as you can to receive the right plan.


Financial aid for education is one of the many benefits that veterans can choose to partake in. The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides up to 4 years of education benefits to servicemembers and veterans. It isn’t subjected to just college either. The bill provides assistance for business technical or vocational courses, correspondence courses, apprenticeship/job training, flight training, and licensing & testing programs. Some states have gone farther in offering more benefits for veterans too. Check out these states with more military education benefits.

Benefits in 2020

Keep an eye on military benefits as they are constantly changing. Just recently the VA Home Loan limit changed. So who knows how many more benefits will see a change in 2020. If they are anything like the home loan limit change, then surely military benefits are changing for the better. Hopefully, you’ve learned which benefits you would like to use. There are many benefits for the men and women who have served our country, and they deserve to live a life outside of the military that is comfortable and safe. If you’re interested in finding out more about VA Home Loans, contact Devin Fahrner of VA Home Loans Idaho for more information.

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VA Home Loans: What to Expect in 2020

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As one of the major benefits given to military veterans, it’s important you are kept up to date on the latest changes to VA home loans in 2020. If you plan on purchasing a home in 2020 with the help of one, then keep reading to see how 2020 is changing the way VA home loans affect you, the qualifier.

2020 VA Loan Funding Fee Change

In June 2019, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 was signed into law but won’t be active until January 2020. With it comes several changes for VA Funding Fees.

Fee Changes

Temporary (2 year) change to the VA Funding Fee with an increase from 0.15 to 0.30% for Veterans and servicemembers.
VA Funding Fee will slightly decrease for National Guard and Reserve Members.
The Fee change will not impact Veterans with service-connected disabilities, some surviving spouses, and other potential borrowers.
Active Duty Service members who have earned a Purple Heart can have the fee waived if closing on their home while serving on active duty.

No VA Home Loan Limits in 2020

In 2019, a VA loan borrower who did not have a down payment was subject to receiving the guarantee price limit of $484,350 for a home loan. Now in 2020, to expand the benefits for more veterans, they are not capping the size of a loan a veteran can receive if they have no down payment. Thus, veterans can start scouting higher-value homes to live in.
Native American Veterans will benefit from this as well. The new law will remove the loan limit of $80,000 for a Native American Veterans using their entitlement for a direct loan to purchase or build a home on Federal trust land.

Financial Health

While these new changes for VA home loans are beneficiary, lenders will still be cautious. You still have to make the necessary amount of income to qualify. The doors may have opened for more veterans to pursue more homes, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easily attainable if you lack the sustainability and financial health to afford it. For veterans who can afford a higher mortgage, the loan process has now become a lot easier in 2020.

Future VA Home Loans

The waiting game of purchasing a home when the “time is right”, may be over now. You can now look forward to starting a fresh life in 2020. For new veteran homebuyers, this is an exciting time. With the restrictions being lessened in January, we can only look forward to what is to come for VA home loan borrowers. If you are curious about qualifications or need help getting started, give Devin Fahrner, a mortgage loan officer who specializes in VA Home Loans in Idaho, a call.

A suburban home bought with a VA Home Loan

Prepayment Penalties are No Problem

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Because of their service to this country, there are many support systems in place for veterans. The problem is that many veterans don’t know what is offered to them. Veteran Affairs provided a huge element of support for veterans when VA Home Loans were enacted in 1944 as an addition to the GI Bill of Rights. However, most homebuyers – veterans or not – have a hard time deciphering which loan will be best for their situation.

All too often, veterans do not take advantage of the benefits of a VA home loan because they do not understand what is actually provided within them. There are plenty of advantages worked into the VA home loan structure but one that can provide freedom and flexibility for their lifestyle is: no prepayment penalties.

Prepay Away

As is the case with most home loans, there are certain rules that lending organizations require the borrower to abide by. It is primarily structured this way so that the lender is ensuring a certain amount of revenue from interest-based on the term of the loan. However, organizations offering VA home loans can not penalize veteran-borrowers for paying back their loan before the term states.

How Is This a Benefit?

While prepayment might not seem like a big deal, it really is. Being able to pay back your loan before the term is up allows borrowers to relieve the financial burden that loans can instill. More importantly, it allows home loan borrowers to relocate, upgrade, downsize, or just find a home better suited to their needs without having to wait out a loan term.

This can grant veterans the opportunity to adjust to their lifestyle as time goes on. Maybe that means they can continue to grow their family with children or pets, build a business in or out of their home, relocate to a more accommodating neighborhood, move to a new state for work, or renovate the home their already and sell for profit. The opportunities are endless and would not be possible in a traditional home loan experience.

Other Home Loan Benefits

There are plenty of other benefits for veterans a part of VA home loans so speak with a home loan expert on what the VA can offer to you as you continue on your home buying journey. Be sure to ask which type of VA home loan will work best for you and your needs.

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Veterans and Active Military: Finding Your New Home

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The US is regularly plagued by natural disasters and crime. From California fires to hurricanes along the coast, there seems to be nowhere safe to go. Crime rates can be high in the US too; feeling safe in your home is important especially when trying to rejoin American society. If you or someone you love is a US veteran or active military member and has experienced the loss of a home, then we can help you. We will also go over low-crime-areas so that you can feel extra comfortable in your decision of choosing where to go next.

Naturally Safe

The last thing you want to have happened is to come home after service and have your home ruined by mother nature. It may be tempting to stay in the current state and find a new place to stay but in the event the natural disaster happens again, you don’t want to lose another home. Here are some amazing states that are considered the safest from natural disaster damage:

  • Montana
  • Maine
  • Colorado
  • Vermont
  • Minnesota

Publicly Safe

Not only are natural disasters a scary situation but being in fear of your community every day is a whole other beast. Especially for veterans suffering from PTSD, walking on eggshells every day is too much anxiety to handle. There are several states that you can make home so you can sleep easy every night knowing that your potential state has low crime. Here are the top safe states of 2019:

  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Idaho

After Choosing

As you can see some of the states do overlap in safety for both variables. If you have made your choice of where to live, then you may need some assistance in locking down your dream home. A great resource for veterans and active military is a VA home loan. You can get a home loan for $0 down, which is only one of the many benefits a VA home loan has to offer.

VA Loan Benefits

  • No required down payment percentage
  • No monthly mortgage insurance premiums
  • The lowest average interest rate of all loan types
  • No prepayment penalty

Feel Safe

Whether you’ve lost your home or are simply looking for a safer place to live, knowing you have another perk from your military service is sure to ease your nerves. A VA home loan can help you financially and mentally so you can confidently plant your feet in a place you know is safe.

Before you speak with a local VA home loan specialist you can get a quote online if you want to buy or refinance your home. With a VA home loan, you can save up for furniture, relocate easily, and recover from disasters straightforwardly.

In State Specialist

As you noticed, Idaho is one of the safest states in terms of crime rate. For information on moving to Idaho and purchasing a home using a VA home loan, Devin Fahrner will be your best resource. She is an experienced mortgage loan officer that understands your situation and can guide you in the right direction for an Idaho VA home loan. See why Idaho is one of the best states to live in for military personnel, veterans, and military families.

Two Story Colonial House with American Flag

What Do VA Home Loans Offer Veterans?

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Buying a home is a careful, considerate process. In addition to the measures taken to keep the process controlled, there is also the added stress of financial burden and complicated loaning processes. Although, there are alternatives for home loans! On top of that, the veteran home loan experience has actually been simplified and organized into a very cohesive, flexible system.

VA home loans are not offered by every institution. However, it is because of this that the many institutions offering VA home loans are in competition with one another. This gives veterans a spectrum of loan options with adjustable features to suit their needs.

Unfortunately, a small minority of veterans are taking advantage of these loan opportunities. Loan institutions averaged 431 veteran home loans during the 2018 Fiscal Year. Of the 610,512 loans offered among all lending institutions in 2018, the average loan was $259,725 but almost half of these institutions offered more than this average.

While 600,000+ may seem like an exceedingly large amount of participating veterans, there are still an overwhelming amount of veterans not looking into VA lending options during their home loan search. This could be a result of a lack of awareness or even misconceptions about these lending alternatives. Below, we have listed some of the unmatched benefits that come with VA home loans.

Qualifications for VA Loans

Much like any lending experience, the qualification process tends to be an extensive one. For veteran home loans, there are more flexible terms.

Veterans and active military members are given a little more leniency as far as credit scores are concerned. The threshold for credit is much more permitting.

Ultimately, those interested in VA home loans just need to complete a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and wait for approval to continue with the lending process. Speaking with your lending officer or representative about what documents are required for their specific institution will get the ball rolling much quicker.

Down Payment

There is no down payment required for qualifying veterans or active military service people. Down payments are easily of the biggest concerns for homebuyers. They tend to put stress on the buyer with a hefty chunk of change that is immediately absorbed. Veterans and active military members, however, do not need to be concerned with this because of the safety net that VA home loans provide. As long as the loan requirements are met, they are able to start a life in a new home now – not after years of saving up for just the down payment.

Interest Rates

There are homebuyers not pressured by the down payment element of the home buying process that exists in today’s world but, typically, these buyers do bare the financial weight of high-interest rates. For military members, interest rates are also protected. While there is not a set interest rate cap, institutions generally keep VA home loan rates much lower than traditional or FHA loans.

Foreclosure Protection

There are clearly some preparatory benefits but foreclosure measures are often an afterthought for home buyers. No one anticipates for hard times to hit but they do happen occasionally. VA home loans also provide homeowners with the peace of mind that there is a secondary security measure for them to fall back on when the unexpected becomes reality.

Fine Print

There are quite a few fine print elements of every home loan that come up as surprises to potential home buyers. Fortunately enough, many of these are simplified or completed excluded in veteran home loans.

Most home loans lenders use the following measures as a safeguard for the lender, borrower, or both: mortgage insurance, uncapped closing costs, and prepayment penalties. For qualified applicants, none of these apply because veteran borrowers are not expected to pay for mortgage insurance, the VA actually restricts what lenders can charge in closing costs, and veteran borrowers are also not penalized for early repayment of their loans. All of these act as support for veterans and active military members in order to offer a more simplified, less expensive loan experience.

Clearly, there are many details even in veteran home loans but the general process has been streamlined as much as possible. Speaking with loan representatives with as much experience as possible will keep you informed and updated about any changes and options.

Why VA Loan Refinances Are Some Of The Best Deals Around

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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.