What is a VA refinance?

VA Refinance loans are backed by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs and offer a lot of benefits to veterans looking to save money. This special loan program is designed specifically for women and men who are in active military service, service members, veterans, or surviving spouses. The objective of VA Refinance is simple; to improve veterans’ financial situation by refinancing into a lower rate, a reduced loan term, payoff high interest debt or cash out for home improvement.  

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Why apply for a VA refinance?

Applying for a VA (Veterans Affairs) refinance, also known as a VA Streamline Refinance or Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), can offer several potential benefits to eligible veterans and service members. Here are some reasons why you might consider applying for a VA refinance:

Lower Interest Rate: One of the primary reasons for refinancing is to secure a lower interest rate on your existing VA loan. A lower interest rate can reduce your monthly mortgage payments, saving you money over the life of the loan.

Reduced Monthly Payments: By securing a lower interest rate or extending the loan term, you can lower your monthly mortgage payments, which can be helpful if you’re looking to improve your monthly cash flow.

Credit Score: While the VA has more lenient credit score requirements compared to conventional loans, your credit history still matters. 620 or higher is ideal. A higher credit score makes it easier to qualify for competitive interest rates and terms.

Fixed-to-Fixed or ARM-to-Fixed: You can refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) into a fixed-rate mortgage, providing stability and protection against future interest rate increases.

Shorten the Loan Term: If you want to build home equity faster and pay off your mortgage sooner, you can refinance from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan or another shorter term.

Cash-Out Option: With a VA Cash-Out Refinance, you can tap into your home equity to access funds for various purposes, such as home improvements, debt consolidation, or other financial needs. This can be an attractive option if you need extra cash.

No Appraisal Required: VA Streamline Refinances do not require a home appraisal, making the process quicker and more accessible.

Simplified Documentation: VA refinances typically have streamlined documentation requirements, reducing the paperwork and hassle involved in the application process.

Lower Monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums: If your original VA loan required you to pay monthly mortgage insurance (VA Funding Fee), refinancing may lead to lower or no funding fees, saving you money.

Switch to a Different Lender: You have the option to refinance your VA loan with a different lender if you find one offering better terms and conditions.

Financial Relief: Refinancing can provide financial relief if you’re facing financial difficulties and need to reduce your monthly mortgage obligations.

How does a VA refinance loan work?

An VA Refinance Loan can be an VA Streamline Refinance or an VA Cash-Out Refinance. It offers borrowers eligible borrowers an opportunity to modify their existing VA loan under certain conditions. To qualify, veterans must meet specific eligibility criteria, such as maintaining a history of on-time payments and having an existing VA loan for the streamline option. The option simplifies the process, requiring minimal documentation and  no appraisal, focusing on lowering monthly payments or interest rates. On the other hand, the VA Cash-Out Refinance allows veterans to access their home’s equity, requiring additional steps to qualify.

Who qualifies for a VA refinance?

To qualify for a VA (Veterans Affairs) refinance, also known as a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) or a VA Cash-Out Refinance, you typically need to meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements can vary depending on the specific type of VA refinance you’re interested in, but here are some general guidelines: 

VA Loan Eligibility: You must have a current VA home loan or have had one in the past. In the case of an IRRRL, you need to already have a VA loan. For a Cash-Out Refinance, you can refinance a non-VA loan into a VA loan. 

Military Service: You must be an eligible veteran, active-duty service member, member of the National Guard or Reserves, or a surviving spouse of a veteran who died in service or as a result of a service-connected disability. The specific eligibility requirements can vary, and the VA has a system for determining who qualifies based on your service history.

Credit and Income Requirements: Lenders will look at your credit score and financial situation to determine if you can afford the refinance. While the VA itself does not set a minimum credit score, most lenders have their own credit score requirements.

Occupancy: You must intend to live in the home you are refinancing. VA loans are generally for primary residences, not for investment properties or second homes.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio: The LTV ratio for an IRRRL is usually less restrictive than for a Cash-Out Refinance. The LTV ratio is the ratio of the loan amount to the appraised value of the home. For a Cash-Out Refinance, the VA typically requires the LTV ratio to be 90% or less.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE): You’ll need to provide a valid Certificate of Eligibility, which can be obtained through the VA or your lender. This document confirms your VA loan eligibility.

Loan Funding Fee: You may be required to pay a funding fee, which is a one-time fee that helps offset the cost of the VA loan program. The fee can vary based on factors like your down payment and military category.

Types of VA refinances loans 

Here is a brief summary of the VA refinance types and the best features of each of them:

VA cash-out refinance

The VA Cash Out is one of the best loan options to refinance a VA mortgage that lets you leverage the equity you have in your home to be able to pay off debt, consolidate a mortgage or simply pull out cash. It’s one of the most effective ways to consolidate high interest credit cards debt rate debt one low fixed rate mortgage payment per month which may be tax deductible.

VA Cash-Out Refinance Benefits:

  • Flexible guidelines
  • Cashout up to 90% LTV 
  • Primary residence only
  • No mortgage insurance
  • Defer two mortgage payments 
  • Get an escrow refund (property taxes and insurance) 
  • Flexible guidelines
  • Competitive Interest Rates 

VA IRRRL streamline refinance

VA Streamline is a great option if you’re an active military member, veteran or spouse who meets the eligibility requirements. If you’re in a VA loan and would like a lower interest rate or a shorter mortgage term then VA has made it easy for you! This program is available if you’re a homeowner covered under the VA Loan program. The program’s name is the Interest Rate Reduction Loan (IRRRL) backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Streamline Refinance Benefits:

  • No appraisal required 
  • No income Check 
  • Primary, secondary, and investment allowed 
  • Defer two mortgage payments 
  • Get an escrow refund (property taxes and insurance) 
  • Less paperwork 
  • No Mortgage Insurance 
  • Close in 2 weeks 
  • Competitive Interest Rates 

It’s important to work with a VA-approved lender who is knowledgeable about VA loan programs and can guide you through the process. Eligibility and terms for VA Refinance Loans can vary, so consulting with one of our mortgage advisors who  will help you determine if a VA refinance is the right option for your financial goals and circumstances.

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