Ready to buy a home?

Purchasing a first home is an exciting milestone in any person's life.

For some, the process may also seem very intimidating. Let’s look at some typical questions regarding purchasing a home with your VA mortgage benefit.

How Much Home Can I Afford?

Purchasing a first home is an exciting milestone in any person's life. For some, the process may also seem very intimidating. That's why our trained VA Mortgage experts are available by phone or chat to help guide you and answer any questions you may have. Please don't hesitate to give us a call 727-777-4999 or start your quote online HERE >

Typically, the first question would-be homebuyers ask themselves is, "What can I afford?"

Determining how much home you can afford with a VA mortgage involves evaluating various financial factors to ensure that your monthly housing expenses align with your budget and financial goals. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you determine your affordable home price:

1. Assess Your Finances:
• Review your monthly income, including your regular salary, bonuses, and any other sources of income.
• Calculate your monthly expenses, including existing debts, such as car payments, credit card bills, and student loans.
• Consider other financial goals, such as saving for retirement, emergency funds, and future expenses.

2. Calculate Your Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio:
• Your DTI ratio is a crucial factor in determining how much home you can afford. It represents the percentage of your monthly income that goes toward debt payments.
• To calculate your DTI ratio, divide your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income (before taxes and deductions). Multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage.
• VA loan guidelines typically recommend a DTI ratio of 41% or lower, although some lenders may allow higher ratios with strong credit and compensating factors.

3. Consider Your Down Payment:
• VA loans are known for requiring little to no down payment. However, making a down payment can reduce your monthly mortgage payment and potentially increase the loan amount you qualify for.
• Decide whether you want to make a down payment and how much you can comfortably afford.

4. Calculate Your Maximum Loan Amount:
• Based on your DTI ratio and available funds for a down payment, use a mortgage affordability calculator or consult with a lender to determine the maximum loan amount you qualify for.

5. Factor in Other Costs:
• Remember that homeownership comes with additional costs beyond the mortgage payment. Consider property taxes, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance (if applicable), and ongoing maintenance and utility expenses.

6. Set a Comfortable Monthly Payment:
• Determine the maximum monthly mortgage payment that you feel comfortable with based on your budget and financial goals.
• Keep in mind that your mortgage payment will include not only principal and interest but also taxes and insurance (often referred to as PITI).

7. Shop for Homes Within Your Budget:
• Once you have a clear budget and maximum loan amount in mind, begin searching for homes within that price range.
• Don't forget to consider the location, size, and features of the homes you're interested in to ensure they meet your needs and lifestyle.

8. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage:
• Consider getting pre-approved for a VA loan from Florida’s VA Mortgage Center. Pre-approval can help you establish your homebuying budget and demonstrate your seriousness as a buyer to sellers.

9. Consult with a Financial Advisor or Housing Counselor:
• If you're unsure about your budget or financial readiness for homeownership, consider seeking guidance from a financial advisor or housing counselor. They can provide personalized advice and help you make informed decisions.

Remember that affordability is a highly individualized concept, and what you can afford may differ from someone else's situation. It's essential to create a budget that aligns with your financial goals and ensures that homeownership is sustainable and comfortable for you and your family.

What Type of Loan Should I Get?

There are many financing options available for homebuyers out there, each with their own unique advantages. For most veteran and active duty military members, we at Florida’s VA Mortgage Center highly recommend the federally-backed VA Loan due to its distinct benefits over traditional loans.

Advantages of a VA Loan

  • No Down Payment Necessary.

    Homebuyers will usually need at least a 5 percent down payment for conventional loans or a 3.5 percent down payment for FHA financing. On a $200,000 loan, that's $10,000 for conventional borrowers and $7,000 for FHA. For many first-time homebuyers, coming up with that kind of cash up can be challenging. Being able to purchase with $0 down means VA borrowers don't have to spend years saving to scrape together a big down payment.

  • Less Stringent Qualifications.

    Many first-time homebuyers might not yet have a strong credit history, which can make it more difficult to get approval for a mortgage or qualify for an affordable interest rate. Since the VA Loan is government-backed, VA Loans are easier to qualify for at competitive rates.

  • Lower Monthly Payments.

    Since VA Loans don't require the added monthly expense of private mortgage insurance (PMI), they tend to leave more money in your pocket each month. In addition, the competitive VA Loan rates can save a typical buyer thousands over the lifespan of the loan.

Have questions? Speak with a trusted VA-lending specialist

In addition to the VA Loan, Florida’s VA Mortgage Center is proud to offer several other financing options for homebuyers; including USDA loans, FHA loans, and traditional mortgages.

Just ask if one of these options is better for you!

VA Jumbo Loans

VA jumbo loans offer veterans and military buyers significant benefits, especially compared to the conventional jumbo landscape. With a VA jumbo loan, homebuyers have increased access to homes in high-cost metro areas, while utilizing their VA loan benefits – including the flagship $0 down.

What is a VA Jumbo Loan?

Typically, a VA loan is considered a VA jumbo loan when the loan amount exceeds the county-specific VA loan limit. The VA loan limit for most counties in 2023 is $726,200 but reaches $1,089,300 in high-cost areas.

It’s important to remember that VA loan limits don't represent a cap on your purchasing power. There is no maximum VA loan amount set by the government.

Instead, the loan limits help determine how much veterans without their full VA loan entitlement can borrow before needing to put money down. Veterans with full entitlement can borrow as much as a lender is willing to lend without the need for a down payment.

VA Jumbo Loan Requirements

A VA jumbo loan, also known as a VA high-balance loan, allows eligible veterans and service members to borrow more than the standard VA loan limit, which varies by location. However, VA jumbo loans come with specific requirements and guidelines. Here are some key requirements for VA jumbo loans:

1. Eligibility: To qualify for a VA jumbo loan, you must meet the basic eligibility requirements for VA loans, including having sufficient entitlement and meeting the service requirements. Additionally, you must meet the credit and income requirements set by the lender.

2. Loan Limits: VA jumbo loans are designed for loan amounts that exceed the standard VA loan limits. The exact loan limits for VA jumbo loans can vary by county and may change annually.

3. Down Payment: While VA loans typically do not require a down payment, VA jumbo loans may require a down payment. The specific down payment amount depends on the lender's policies and the loan amount. Some lenders may require a down payment of 25% of the amount exceeding the VA loan limit.

4. Credit Score: Lenders may have stricter credit score requirements for VA jumbo loans compared to standard VA loans. A good credit score is essential to qualify for a VA jumbo loan, and the minimum credit score required may vary among lenders.

5. Income and Debt-to-Income (DTI) Ratio: Lenders will assess your income and DTI ratio to ensure that you can comfortably afford the larger loan amount. The DTI ratio is typically limited to 41% or lower, but some lenders may allow higher ratios with strong compensating factors.

6. Residual Income: Lenders often consider residual income, which is the income left after paying all monthly debts and expenses. Meeting the residual income requirements is crucial to qualify for a VA jumbo loan.

7. Appraisal: VA jumbo loans require a VA appraisal to determine the property's value. The appraisal is conducted to ensure that the loan amount does not exceed the property's value.

8. Funding Fee: VA jumbo loans may have a higher VA funding fee compared to standard VA loans. The funding fee is a one-time fee paid to the VA and can vary based on factors like military category and down payment.

9. Lender Requirements: Each lender may have its own specific requirements and guidelines for VA jumbo loans. It's essential to work with a lender experienced in VA jumbo loans to understand their specific criteria and policies.

10. Documentation: You'll need to provide the necessary documentation, including income verification, tax returns, bank statements, and other financial records, to support your loan application.

See If You Qualify today

The first step toward securing your loan is getting pre-approved.

This involves a pre-qualification process, where your VA loan officer assesses your financial situation and determines what you qualify for, and is followed by your submitting a completed loan application for approval.

Florida’s VA Mortgage Center offers two ways to begin this process:
You may either call us directly at 727-777-4999, or answer a few questions below to start your pre-approval online.
Apply Today!