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What Is a VA-Guaranteed Loan?

A VA-guaranteed loan can be used to:

  • buy a home, a manufactured home, or a condominium
  • buy a lot for a manufactured home
  • build, repair, or improve a home (including energy efficient improvements)
  • refinance an existing loan

A VA-guaranteed loan offers a number of safeguards and advantages over a non VA-guaranteed loan. For example, the interest rate is competitive with conventional rates with little or no down payment required. VA-guaranteed loans are made by private lenders, such as banks, savings and loan associations, and mortgage companies. As with any loan, you must apply directly to the lender. Your real estate broker can assist you in finding a lender.

When the loan is approved, VA will guarantee part of it. The amount of VA’s guaranty usually depends on the size of the loan. This guaranty protects the lender against loss up to the amount guaranteed by VA. The largest guaranty that VA can give is an amount equal to 25% of the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit for single-family residences. These limits are subject to change each year.

Who Is Eligible?

Generally, the following persons are eligible:

  • veterans who were discharged since 9/16/40, under other than dishonorable conditions
  • military personnel on active duty who have served a minimum period
  • certain Reservists and National Guard members
  • surviving spouses of certain deceased veterans

Note: There are certain other groups of individuals who may be eligible. For information about these groups, contact VA at the toll-free number below.

What Documents Do I Need to Provide the Lender To Receive a VA-Guaranteed Loan?

The lender will need a Certificate of Eligibility to prove that you are eligible for a VA-guaranteed loan. Certificates are issued by VA’s Loan Eligibility Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to eligible persons who apply for the certificate. The Eligibility Center can be reached by calling toll-free below. Often times, your lender may be able to access VA’s secure web site and obtain a certificate for you.

How Can You Apply?

You can apply by requesting your lender to obtain a certificate for you through VA’s secure web site OR by completing one of the following forms and submitting it to the Loan Eligibility Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Veteran/Service-member: VA Form 26-1880, Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits
Surviving Spouse: VA Form 26-1817, Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility – Unmarried Surviving Spouse

For more information, call toll-free 1-888-244-6711 or visit the VA Web Site at

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