VA Loans

Tips To Keeping Your House Cool During The Summer

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Summers in the Treasure Valley can be flat-out unbearable sometimes. As record temperatures have been scorching the area, even staying inside can still be a burden when you’re trying to beat the heat. Of course, the cost of air conditioning sky-rockets during the warm months so it can steer you away from turning on the AC. Here at VA Home Loans, we have some great tips to keep your utility bills low while staying cool during the scorching summer months.

Block Out the Rays

Investing in block-out curtains is a great way to keep the heat out of your house. Putting these types of shades up over windows that bring in the most direct sunlight, will significantly cool down your house. This is a fast and cost-friendly way to keep your house cool and will prevent you from overheating. Some black-out curtains are not always the most fashionable. Either finding curtains online that you find appealing or if you’re feeling crafty and want to test your art skills, design your own to put up to spice them up!

Get to Planting

Who said that money doesn’t grow on trees? In this case, it does. Well kind of. Planting brush around your house is an effective way to lower the temperature in your home. How does that make sense? Although it is not an instant gratification fix, planting brush or trees around your house will cover up part of the windows or some of the roof that will block the sun from hitting your house directly. The trees will pay for themselves eventually, you’ll just have to wait for them to grow! Over time the brush will keep your house cooler during the summer months and in the long run, keep your money in your pockets. Not just that, it is a fun side project to get out of the house and improve the look of your yard too! Utilizing the time as a family project to get out of the house and plant the trees can also create a fun environment!

Keep Windows Open At Night

Once the sun goes down, the temperature does too. Opening up your windows at night can allow your house to cool down naturally. That means you don’t have to run your air conditioning throughout the night to stay cool. The less time the AC is on, the more money you are saving. This is something you can start doing as soon as today! Checking the weather before opening your windows to make sure it is a desirable temperature throughout the night is a good idea. With this, you can be comfortable during the night and even into the early morning without having to pay a penny. Just make sure you don’t forget to close the windows once it starts getting hotter the next day!

Help Out Your Floor Ducts

A quick fix to cool down your home is by putting in duct boosters. Duct boosters enhance the airflow of your home. This is done by setting up the booster under your floor vent in between the HVAC system and the vent itself. This is a low costing fan that will drop the temperature of your house dramatically. Adding this small addition to your home will make living in the heat more sustainable.

Ice, Ice, Baby

Need some immediate cool air? A fast way to get some instant relief from the heat is just a few steps away. The only items you need are a portable fan and a bowl of ice. By placing a bowl of ice in front of a fan, it will blow instant cool air into the room. This is a nice little trick if you need to cool down right away.


One thing that you would never expect to make your house warmer, light bulbs. Traditional light bulbs actually make your house hotter. An incandescent light bulb can get as hot as 4000 degrees Fahrenheit! If you make the switch over to LED light bulbs they range anywhere from 140-212 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the model and brand – that is a significant difference in temperature between the two light bulbs. A little change in something as small as light bulbs can make a huge difference in the comfort of your home.

Come stop by the VA Home Loans office today and we can start finding the perfect home for you!
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VA Home Loan vs. Conventional Home Loan

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VA home loans are one of the most unbeatable benefits for those who have served or have a spouse who served in the military. To see if you are eligible or to check the requirements, click here. These government-backed loans will not only help you out financially, but they will also aid in finding the perfect home for you and your family. Many differences between a VA home loan and a conventional home loan are quite big, but there are a few discrepancies that slightly vary. Below, the VA Home Loans team has highlighted a few of the key differences to ensure you make an informed decision on your home loan choice!

Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance essentially lowers the risk for the lender who is choosing to open a home loan with you. With this insurance, you may be able to qualify for loans that you would not have previously been able to. The lender will be protected in the unlikely event that you are not able to make your payment or are not meeting the contractual obligations.

Conventional Loan

For a conventional loan, mortgage insurance is required if the borrower is putting down less than 20% of their loan amount. This means that most people who take out conventional loans will be paying the added cost of insurance. The cost will be determined base on your down payment amount and credit score.

VA Loan

Because VA home loans are government-backed you do not need to purchase mortgage insurance no matter how big or small your down payment is. This saves veterans a lot of money throughout the duration of their loan repayment.


There is quite a big difference when it comes to the occupancy regulations between a conventional and VA home loan. In the mortgage industry, an occupancy clause states that you must use the home you are purchasing for your primary residence.

Conventional Loan

If you already have a primary residence, then you can use a conventional loan to purchase a second home or even a vacation home. Within most conventional loans, there is no need for an occupancy clause or anything stating that you must use this house as your main residence. However, there are always exceptions in certain cases.

VA Loan

Within a VA home loan, there is an occupancy clause requiring that the home you are purchasing must remain your primary residence. It must be certified that you will personally be living in the home and not having others live there without you. The house also cannot be used as a vacation home, as this will not meet the occupancy standards.

Credit Standards

Credit standards do not have much variation between the two types of loans that we are highlighting. They are set around the same level, but one may ensure better odds of a lender working with you.

Conventional Loan

For conventional home loans, lenders will typically have strict credit requirements. They want you to have a 640 minimum credit score. The higher your credit score, the more likely they are going to do a transaction with you and the better the rates you will get throughout the loan process.

VA Loan

While the VA does not have a set credit score that you must be at, a lender will. They also require you to have around a 640 credit score or better. Just like a conventional loan, the higher your credit, the better interest rates or loan terms you will receive. However, if your credit is lower than 640, or whatever their required credit score is, that does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to receive a VA home loan.

Down Payment

A down payment is a sum of money that the buyer must pay up-front during the home buying process. This is to secure the home and is put towards the loan amount to start paying it off. The lender typically sees the down payment as your initial investment in the home and the amount is calculated based on the appraised value of the house.

Conventional Loan

The minimum down payment requirement is often around five percent but in some cases, it can be as low as three percent. Regardless, a down payment is required in a conventional loan. This money is your initial investment and will go towards paying off your loan. Before you buy a home you need to keep in mind that you will be required to make a down payment, so start saving your money!

VA Loan

This is arguably the biggest benefit of a VA home loan. The down payment requirement is set at 0%! This rule will be in place as long as the appraised value does not exceed the sales price. The no down payment requirement is also tacked onto the no need for mortgage insurance, which will save veterans oodles of money!

If you or your spouse is a military veteran looking to move and want to purchase your next home using a VA home loan or you are looking to refinance, we are here to help. Contact us today VA Home Loans Idaho with any questions!

Upcoming Military Events in the Boise Area

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Even though Memorial Day has passed, there are still many events to attend for you to honor the men and women that have served our country. The Boise metropolitan area does a fantastic job of honoring veterans by hosting local events for all to enjoy. The VA Home Loans team has compiled some upcoming opportunities that you may be interested in!

Celebrate America

This 4th of July, the Restored Community Church will be hosting a free celebration of America. This event is perfect for any military family and it is encouraged to invite friends, family, and even neighbors! Along with the color guard, there will be live music, a message to all attendees, and a family-friendly live concert. Although masks are optional, there will be numerous sanitization stations and free socially distanced seating. Make sure to bring sunscreen and a hat as temperatures are peaking in the middle of summer. This patriotic event will be held at Restored Community Church and they will offer free shuttles to and from Eagle High School.

11th Annual Idaho Patriot Thunder Ride

The highly anticipated motorcycle ride from High Desert Harley-Davidson to Carl Miller Park in Mountain Home, Idaho is finally here! Scheduled for Sunday, July 25th, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, the Idaho Patriot Thunder Ride is an incredible escorted ride. It is supported by Idaho Guard & Reserve, Family Support Fund, Operation Warmheart, and many local veterans. The ride is limited to the first 1,200 motorcycles and costs $25 per rider. Breakfast, t-shirts, and a commemorative patch will also be provided by the sponsors. Don’t miss out on this annual opportunity sponsored by the patriots of the Treasure Valley! To learn more, visit here!

Veteran Chamber Golf Salute

The first annual tournament hosted by the Idaho Veterans Chamber of Commerce at Falcon Crest Golf Course will be held on August 14th, starting at 8:00 am. This is a great opportunity to play in a competitive golf tournament alongside your local veterans. Veteran Chamber Golf Salute was created with the bigger vision to bridge the gap between civilian and military communities. The tournament is set up as a four-person scramble. Whether you’re interested in playing or sponsoring packages, learn more about the Veteran Chamber Golf Salute here!

We wish the best to military families and support active and retired military personnel in their housing endeavors. Specifically designed for military benefits, we offer home loans and refinancing options with $0 down for qualified borrowers. If you have any questions about how we can help you, contact VA Home Loans Idaho today!

Little girl hugging veteran lady with a uniform on against a wooden wall

VA Benefits Don’t Stop At Home Loans

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Applying for a VA home loan during or after serving in the military is just one benefit of serving our country. The Treasure Valley offers many sources of assistance if you are eligible for veterans affairs. The list of benefits is extensive and has a large variety of services in which you can receive assistance. The VA Home Loans team wants to ensure you are fully informed on the support systems you have access to. You can read up on a few of them below!

Mental Health Care

Mental health and substance abuse resources are often pushed to the side because of the negative stigma around mental care. Many people refuse to believe they need treatment and neglect to utilize it. Treatment centers are often more than willing to help with PTSD or any issues that may have been caused from your military. If you are eligible for VA Home Loans you will also be eligible for care centers within the handbook. Eligibility for VA mental health care benefits include:

  • Veterans
  • Active-Duty Personnel
  • Reserve Members
  • National Guard Members
  • Some Surviving Spouses

Educational Assistance

A college degree gives you a competitive edge over other applicants in any job that you apply for. The educational assistance from VA benefits is an overlooked resource. Most universities and trade schools offer some sort of financial aid if you have military experience. One of Boise State University’s best accolades is being named a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs Magazine for three consecutive years. If you’re not looking to go to college, the Wyakin Warrior Foundation provides training, networking, and job placement for wounded veterans. In most situations, free college or training is offered for serving our country, so take advantage of your opportunities regarding higher education!

Employment Assistance

The Treasure Valley unemployment rate is 3.8%. Boise, let alone Idaho, takes pride in having a low unemployment rate even for veterans. Here are three employment organizations that will help you find the perfect job for you!

Idaho Department of Labor

The Idaho Department of Labor offers veterans free job search workshops, resume assistance, and priority job referrals. They can be found all over Idaho and there are numerous department locations for your convenience!

Boise VA Regional Office

If you want more information focused on VA benefits, the Boise VA Regional Office Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment center gives eligible VA recipients employment assistance with occupations that allow veterans to work with their disability.

Vets 4 Success

Vets 4 Success is a non-profit paired with VA Home Loans that gives veterans and active members employment opportunities. With a specialty in thrift stores and donation centers, Vets 4 Success gives veteran benefits such as free clothing, employment, and support at the storefront.

Housing Assistance

The housing assistance that the VA provides is second to none. If you are a military community home looking to refinance or acquire a home loan, VA Home Loans offers exceptional service to get a loan for 0% down. These loans are all verified through the Department of Veteran Affairs and do not require private mortgage insurance. If you’ve already purchased a home loan, refinancing options are offered to lower your interest rates. Different refinancing options are available and can even be “rolled” into the loan amount.

Take advantage of VA resources by checking out our Veterans’ Community Resource Guide on our website to see which support systems you can utilize. If you have any questions or are interested in a VA home loan, contact VA Home Loans Idaho!

The Basics Of A DD 214

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Getting a VA home loan is much easier with a valid copy of your DD 214. A DD 214 is proof of your active service in the military for a minimum of 90 consecutive days. This is one of the last 0% down home loans still available on the market! If you’re looking to purchase a home, our team at VA Home Loans is here to help. Below you can read more on all the benefits of a DD 214, check it out!

The Purpose of a DD 214

Having a valid copy of your DD 214 has additional purposes on top of helping you with your VA home loan. Some benefits include college education discounts, medical benefits, veteran hiring preferences, and many more. It can also be used as a form of veteran identification, to check eligibility while reenlisting, by employers to see reasons for discharge, and in funeral restitution. If you do not have a copy of your DD 214, you can apply here!

How The Different Copies Are Used

Knowing the difference between the eight DD 214 copies is very important because not all are relevant when applying for a VA home loan. First is a Member One copy, or a short form, for the service member to have. The second is a Service Two copy, which is a long-form sent to the military service to keep on file. The Third and Sixth copies are sent to the VA and these are critical for obtaining a VA home loan. The other four types of a DD 214 are sent to the Department of Labor to have on file or to ensure appropriate service regulations are being followed.

Going Digital

There are many concerns about privacy regarding DD 214s. To combat this, the government is working on a fully electronic version for DD 214s to be implemented by 2024. Not only would this make it easier for you to access, but it would also work to keep your confidential information private. The conversion from paper to digital will also work to decrease inaccurate data that service members have imputed form filing for the form by hand.

DD 214s are necessary to qualify for a VA home loan. Digitally filling this proof of service is quicker and easier for you and government agencies working with you. If you have any questions regarding VA Home Loans or DD 214s, contact VA Home Loans of Idaho today!

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The Military Spouses Guide to VA Loans

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This article is meant to give some guidance to the military spouses who are responsible for going through the home buying process while their significant other is away.

Yes, Military Spouses Can Obtain VA Home Loans

When many people think of obtaining a VA loan, they assume you have to personally be in the military to get one. The truth is that military spouses are actually able to cosign on a loan and can help the couple qualify for a larger loan! While the non-military spouse can co-sign, the loan still operates just like any other loan. The VA itself does not have a minimum credit score for a loan, however most lenders do. If you are a veteran, active duty, or military spouse looking to improve your credit score, you can contact the Veterans United’s Lighthouse program. It’s a program devoted to:

  • Identifying and correcting errors or credit reports
  • Educating you of the steps you can take to improve your credit score
  • Developing goals to ensure you can reduce the debt you owe

The best part about it? It’s available at no cost to you!

If you are a military spouse wondering about your eligibility for a loan, VA Home Loans Idaho is more than ready to answer any questions you have.

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Answering Popular VA Refinancing Questions

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You may have heard of VA Refinancing before, but there are always questions that we hear about what it really is, what you can use your cash or savings from refinancing for, and how you get qualified. So, we are writing this article to answer those questions and give you a better understanding of our refinancing process at VA Home Loans Idaho.

What is VA Refinancing?

For those veteran and active military homeowners looking to reduce their rates or get some extra cash in their pocket, VA Refinancing might be the right choice for you. We offer two main programs to help you obtain the funds you need when you need them.

What Can You Refinance For?

The Streamline Refinance option is for people looking to lower their monthly mortgage payments. It allows military homeowners to take advantage of lower interest rates which will, in turn, lower the overall monthly payments.
The Cash-Out Refinance option, on the other hand, allows you to cash in on some of your home’s equity in the situation that you need cash in your pocket right away. The funds acquired through this program can be used for whatever needs might come up, including home updates, repairs, or renovations. But, the payout doesn’t just need to go back into your home! You can also use the money in the event of an emergency or to pay off any outstanding bills you might have.

How Do You Refinance?

Now that you have an idea of what VA Loan Refinancing is and the options available, the next step is to take action. On our website, you can request a quote for refinancing by answering a few initial questions about you and your home and one of our well-qualified team members will call you. From there, you will discuss options and find the best solution for your unique situation.

Is VA Refinancing Right For You?

If you are looking to save a significant amount of money on your monthly mortgage payments or just need some cash in your pocket for paying off bills, home upgrades, emergencies, or other needs, then Veterans Affairs loan refinancing might be right for you!
At VA Home Loans Idaho, we know what it’s like to be a part of the military lifestyle, and we want to help others who have served get the financial security they need. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have!

Veterans standing in a line with two flags

The Best Resources Available for Veterans

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As a Veteran, you gain access to many great resources for the years of service you gave to our country. You may not even be aware of all the benefits you have access to if you’re a veteran. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top benefits you can be taking advantage of as a Veteran.

Home Loans

One of the top resources that will benefit you as a veteran is Veterans’ Home Loans. VA home loans provide veterans a way to receive a home loan at significantly lower interest rates than a typical loan, and will not require you to make a down payment when purchasing a home. VA Home Loans of Idaho offers 3 different types of home loans: purchase loans, interest rate reduction refinance loans, and cash-out refinance loans. So no matter what kind of home loan you’re seeking, VA Home Loans of Idaho has you covered at a low-interest rate.

Health Care

Another great resource available for Veterans is Veterans’ Health Care. VA health care offers many health-related benefits for veterans they might not have access to otherwise. If you qualify, you gain access to your specific health care package for your circumstances. This can include care such as health exams, immunization, surgeries, dialysis, and many other treatments.


If you’re a veteran, you may be eligible for several different education benefits. The GI Bill is one great educational benefit for Veterans. There are several different GI Bills you can apply for, but the basis of all of them is to help pay for your schooling after serving your country. There are even options for attending foreign schools and still having it paid for at least partially by the United States. Your local VA office can help you figure out how to take advantage of these great educational benefits and will have you back in school in no time.

VA Home Loans of Idaho

At VA Home Loans of Idaho, we know what it means to be a veteran. Our approved lenders have a plethora of experience taking care of veterans’ needs and will help you in any way that they can. Give VA Home Loans of Idaho a call today to get started on your home loan process, or with any questions you may have about the loans!

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3 Myths About VA Home Loans Debunked

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VA Home Loans are something that a lot of people don’t understand. Because of this, it’s easy for a lot of rumors and myths to start circulating about them. For example, what is the difference between a regular loan and a VA Loan? Once you learn about the VA Loan enough you’ll realize that these myths are just not true. Here are 4 common myths about VA Home Loans debunked, so you don’t have to worry about them!

Home Style

One common misconception about the VA Home Loan is that you can only buy a conventional home that is already built. With a VA loan, you will be able to buy a home or condo, or even choose to build your own custom home. Not only do you have these options, but if you wish to remodel the home that you already own, you have the option to refinance through the VA. There are even ways to reduce interest rates so that you can feel more comfortable with your payments.


Another common myth about VA Home Loans is that it’s harder to qualify for government loans. This proves to be true in the fact that the VA will most likely be more lenient on lower credit scores, making the VA Loan easier to secure. A common question about qualification asks if you have to be retired in order to qualify for a VA loan. There are tools online to help determine your eligibility, but the short answer is no, you don’t have to be retired.

Length of the Process

While it may take a bit longer to get your VA Eligibility Certificate, it does not take longer to get your VA loan compared to a conventional loan. If you go to an experienced lender that knows the process very well, they’ll be able to get you your loan as fast as any other loan. It’s a good idea to talk to the lender prior to the application so you can get everything required from you before the application process begins.

Questions? Let Us Know!

No matter what your question, VA Home Loans of Idaho is here to help you out. Give them a call for a free consultation. On the phone, you can discuss interest rates, upfront costs, and eligibility requirements. Call VA Home Loans of Idaho today!

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!

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