Mortgages & Creative Financing

Military Members: Yes, You Can Use Your VA Loan More Than Once. Here’s How.

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If you've ever served in the military, you may be eligible for a VA loan. This mortgage option comes with a host of benefits, including 100 percent financing, no private mortgage insurance and flexible credit and underwriting standards. It also comes with another great benefit: You can use it more than once.

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If you use your VA loan and then sell the home or refinance it into another loan product, you can request a restoration of your entitlement. The VA normally receives a notification a loan has been paid, but you may need to provide documentation, such as a satisfaction of mortgage from the county clerk if your entitlement isn’t restored automatically. It is also possible to request a one-time restoration of entitlement if you still own the home but the loan has been paid in full.


Know Your Remaining Entitlement

If you would like to pursue the option of having multiple VA loans out concurrently, you will need to be aware of your remaining entitlement. The easiest way to obtain the exact amount of remaining entitlement is by pulling your updated certificate of eligibility. Many lenders can obtain this for you, or you can request it yourself online or by mail.

Related: VA Loan: The Real Estate Investor’s Guide to Eligibility & Funding

Now a few calculations. If you are eligible for the VA loan, you will obtain a mortgage through a lender, and then the VA will guaranty a portion of that loan. The VA's guaranty is equal to the lesser of 25 percent of the loan amount or 25 percent of the county loan limit. In most areas, the county loan limit is set at $417,000, but some counties with higher costs of living have higher loan limits.

If a buyer wishes to purchase a home above the county loan limit or above their available entitlement, their lender will likely require a down payment. The VA offers guaranty calculation examples for illustration purposes. Examples 4 and 5 show the calculations for situations where a down payment may be required.

Factors Your Lender Will Consider

Factors other than your remaining entitlement your lender will consider include:

Intent to Occupy

Regardless of whether this is your first VA purchase or your fourth, you must have intent to occupy the new home as your primary residence within a reasonable time (typically 60 days) after you purchase. If you are looking at a multi-unit property, you need to plan on occupying one of the units. The VA doesn’t have a set period of time you must then remain in the home, but the lender likely will.

Often the mortgage deed of trust will outline the period of time you are expected to occupy the home. Frequently this is set at 12 months. But there are certain circumstances where this requirement is waived. You'll want to talk with your lender about circumstances that would allow a shorter occupancy. One common example of this may occur when an active duty service member receives orders for a new duty station.


Circumstances Surrounding Subsequent Home Purchase

The purpose of the VA loan is to assist veterans in purchasing a primary residence. This is why you can’t typically purchase a vacation home, working farm or other income-producing properties, with the exception of a multi-unit property in which you intend to occupy one of the units.

If you plan on keeping your first property and using your all or some of your remaining entitlement on a second home, your lender will keep a close eye on your debt-to-income ratio and your plans for the first home. They'll consider cash reserves, whether you can carry two mortgages or if you have a rental agreement in place for the first home.

Related: VA Loans: What Is “Reasonable and Customary”?

If you are converting the first home into a rental from your primary residence, your lender may want to see a 12-month rental agreement and a deposit check before offsetting the mortgage payment. If it’s already a rental, they’ll likely want you to have a two-year history of property management before you can use the rental payments as income.

If you are looking to use your VA loan again, it’s important to work with a lender with a thorough understanding of the entire VA loan process. They can run your entitlement calculations and guide you through any unique income situations you may face if you currently have or are converting a previous home into an investment property.

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

Investors: If you have any experience with the VA loan process, is there anything you’d add? 

Let me know with a comment!

Samantha Reeves is a real estate agent and the senior real estate and homebuying expert at Veterans United Home Loans , one of the nation’s leading...
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    Tiara Thomas from Ypsilanti, Michigan
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Great article Thank You So Much! The q&A was so helpful it answered a lot of my questions just by looking at that section,
    Troy Luster Real Estate Agent from Fort Knox, Kentucky
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Great article. I didn’t find out you could do this until becoming an agent and working with several lenders as an agent. Purchasing my second house using a VA loan with closing later this month.
    Lisa Marie from Scottsdale, Arizona
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Samantha, I have a 30% VA disability rating. Is the VA loan service fee waived for disability ratings under 100% disabled?
    Matt Powell Investor from Bloomington, IL
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Hello Samantha, I see they/you originally published this article in 2016. Good to see they sent it out again in an email. I have only been with BP for a year. I have 32 Units and have never used the VA Loan. When I applied some 24+ years ago I was told the house I was buying didn’t meet certain requirements so I was unable to use the loan. I have since heard they don’t have the same requirements as they once did. Which is fine, but I’m looking to use the loan soon. This gives me motivation to buy a new home using a VA loan. Thanks for sharing!
    Keegan MacNichol Investor from Rapid City, SD
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Great article! I used a VA loan to purchase my first home (duplex) in 2012 and then used my remaining entitlement to purchase a second duplex in 2014. It’s a great way to get in the game with little to no cash.
    Bill F. Rental Property Investor from Boston, MA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Great article!
    Jeremy Dube from San Diego, California
    Replied about 2 years ago
    I just closed a home in CA, for $460k with a VA Loan, and already have a home in AZ on the VA loan with total loan amount of $240k. It depends on if you went over the max, but yes, you can absolutely do 2 homes, as I just did. Cheers
    Jeremy Dube from San Diego, California
    Replied about 2 years ago
    By the way, great article…..
    DeAnthony Edwards
    Replied 4 months ago
    Great Article, however I am interested in trying to get an apartment building built, but also while purchasing a new home. Now is a great time to buy or get ready any suggestions?