VA vs. FHA: Which Government Product Is Best?


Nicole Carlson

Posted on: December 12, 2020

There are plenty of different home loan products that home buyers can choose from, with popular products including FHA and VA loans. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are both government-backed programs, but they have their own set of benefits and drawbacks.

When looking to buy a house, which is best: VA or FHA? The answer depends entirely on what the buyer is looking for.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the big differences between the two mortgage products:

Click to check today’s VA rates.

Downpayment

For home buyers looking to avoid a downpayment, it’s tough to beat VA loans. VA loans don’t require any type of downpayment – part of the program’s guarantee.

FHA loans will require a downpayment of at least 3.5%, but that’s still well below that traditional 20 percent that many home buyers assume they need.

In terms of getting the lowest downpayment possible, VA loans have FHA loans beat.

Insurance

If you make a downpayment of less than 20 percent on an FHA loan, you can expect to be paying a mortgage insurance premium, or MIP. This will be paid either upfront at the closing of the FHA loan or monthly, with the annual fee being spread over all 12 months.

Unlike other types of mortgage insurance, MIP will also last the life of the FHA loan. That means an FHA buyer with less than 20 percent down will be required to refinance their loan after they’ve established enough equity in their home.

VA loans, on the other hand, require no type of insurance regardless of how much the buyer puts down. This is another part of the VA’s guarantee – the VA insures the loan, so any type of insurance is moved away from the home buyer.

Mortgage Rates

It’s difficult to peg mortgage rates since they’re always changing, but one thing is clear: VA loans typically come with a lower mortgage rate than FHA loans.

Mortgage software giant Ellie Mae demonstrates this. Each month, they compile a report of all the loans that go through their software. That report is then released, giving home buyers valuable information to work with.

In October, the average mortgage rate for a VA loan was 26 basis points (0.26%) lower than the average rate for an FHA loan. October wasn’t a fluke, either; VA loans routinely have lower mortgage rates than FHA loans.

Check today’s VA loan rates.

Qualification

While VA loans have an edge with downpayment, mortgage rates and insurance, home buyers will still need to qualify for the loans. Here’s how different qualification requirements compare for both products:

Credit scores

Technically, VA loans have no minimum credit score and FHA loans can be approved with scores as low as 520. But in the real world, lenders will want to see a credit score of at least 580 for FHA loans, and usually around 620 for VA loans.

According to Ellie Mae’s October 2020 Origination Report, the average credit score for closed VA loans in October 2020 was 725, compared to 683 for FHA loans. Granted, this does not show what the minimum requirement is for either product. However, generally speaking, FHA loans are usually more flexible with credit scores than VA loans.

DTI

With the debt-to-income ratio (DTI), both VA and FHA home buyers will want to keep their total debt to income below 45 percent. This means that the total monthly amount spent on debt (including the mortgage you’re trying to get) needs to be below 45 percent of monthly income.

Neither product has an edge here, but it’s still an important part of qualifying to pay attention to.

Eligibility

Anyone can be eligible for an FHA loan, but only specific veterans and military members can get a VA loan. Usually, most veterans are eligible, so long as they’ve served for 2 years or more. Requirements for eligibility do change, though, depending on when the individual served, how they served and why they retired from the military.

For a more in-depth look at VA loan eligibility, click here.

Ease of using the product

VA loans have a reputation for going slower than other loan products, but that’s not entirely the case. According to Ellie Mae, the average VA loan closed in 51 days – just one day slower than the average FHA loan.

The longest part of the VA home buying process can be the VA appraisal. With some preparation, this process can go smoothly, as with all the other steps of buying a home with a VA loan. Click here to find out how to make the VA appraisal process go smoothly.

Which is best?

On paper, VA loans have more benefits than FHA loans. Each situation is different, though, so it’s impossible to say whether or not one product is definitively better than the other.

That being said, VA eligible home buyers will likely want to take advantage of the VA’s mortgage product.

Click here to check your VA loan eligibility.

Source: militaryvaloan.com

Wallowa County, Oregon VA Loan Information

Table of Contents

FAQ

What is the VA Loan Limit?

2021 VA Home Loan Limit for Wallowa County is $0 down payment up to $5,000,000* (subject to lender limits) /2 open VA loans at one time $548,250 (Call 877-432-5626 for details).

How to Apply for a VA Home Loan?

This is a quick look at how to apply for a VA home loan in Wallowa County. For a more detailed overview of the VA home loan process, check out our complete guide on how to apply for a VA home loan. Here, we’ll go over the general steps to getting a VA home loan and point out some things to pay attention to in Wallowa County. If you have any questions, you can call us at VA HLC and we’ll help you get started.

  1. Get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
    • Give us a call at (877) 432-5626 and we’ll get your COE for you.
  2. Are you applying for a refinance loan? Check out our complete guide to VA Refinancing.
  3. Get pre-approved, to get pre-approved for a loan, you’ll need:
    • Previous two years of W2s
    • Most recent 30 days paystubs or LES (active duty)
    • Most recent 60 days bank statements
    • Landlord and HR/Payroll Department contact info
  4. Find a home
    • We can help you check whether the home is in one of the Wallowa County flood zones
  5. Get the necessary inspections
    • Termite inspection: required
    • Well or septic inspections needed, if applicable
  6. Get the home appraised
    • We can help you find a VA-Certified appraiser in Wallowa County and schedule the process
    • Construction loan note: Construction permit/appraisal info
      1. Building permit
      2. Elevation certificate
  7. Lock-in your interest rates
    • Wait until the appraisal to lock-in your loan rates. If it turns out you need to make repairs, it can push your closing back. Then you can get stuck paying rate extension fees.
  8. Close the deal and get packing!
    • You’re ready to go.

What is the Median Home Price?

As of March 31st, 2020, the median home value for Wallowa County is $283,615. In addition, the median household income for residents of the county is $44,953.

How much are the VA Appraisal Fees?

  • Single-Family: $775.
  • Individual Condo: $825.
  • Manufactured Homes: $825.
  • 2-4 Unit Multi-Family: $950.
  • Appraisal Turnaround Times: 10 days.

Do I need Flood Insurance?

The VA requires properties are required to have flood insurance if they are in a Special Flood Hazard Area.

How do I learn about Property Taxes?

  • Randy Wortman is the Wallowa county tax assessor. His office can be reached at 101 South River Street Rm 104 Enterprise, Oregon 97828. In addition, his office can also be reached by calling (541) 426-4543 Ext: 1147.
  • The state of Oregon offers businesses that invest and hire in enterprise zones the option to be exempt from property taxes for at least three years. In addition, the Oregon Investment Advantage program encourages new businesses that are starting as well as the ones who are relocating to the state with various incentives. For example, the program offers income tax subtraction and elimination of state income liability for new businesses for many years.

What is the Population?

  • The county’s population of 7,208 is 92% White, 3% Hispanic, and 2% mixed race.
  • Most county residents are between 18 and 65 years old, with 19% under 18 years old and 29% older than 65.
  • In total, the county has about 3,165 households, at an average of two people per household.

What are the major cities?

There are four cities within the county including the city of Enterprise which is also the county seat. The three other cities in the county are Joseph, Lostine, and Wallowa.

About Wallowa County

Named after the word used by natives to describe the area, Wallowa County, Oregon was home to the Nez Perce people who had lived in the area for about 11,500 years. Eventually, the first white settlers in the county arrived in 1871 and in 1877 the native people got removed from the area and were sent to the Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho. However, they did not go quietly and under the leadership of Chief Joseph had several battles until they were ultimately defeated and forced to relocate. Eventually, in 1880 the town of Joseph was named in honor of the chief.

Today, the county is a member of the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District which provides businesses in the region with assistance. Assistance is provided through training, and technical assistance for businesses, non-profits, and local governments.

Educationally speaking, the county is served by four school districts which include a total of six schools that range from kindergarten to high school. In addition, students in the county get to take part in classes with a student to teacher ratio of 11 to 1, allowing for education to be more adaptive and personal.

Finally, in addition to its workforce and education, the county is also home to beautiful natural scenery which has been said to work as a magnet for tourists. Several recreational areas exist within the county like Hells Canyon National Recreation Area and the Eagle Cap Wilderness. 

Veteran Information

The county is currently home to 655 veterans, and they all have access to:

  • Wallowa County is home to two VFW post:
    • Post 4307 Eagle Cap Post – 800 N River St. Enterprise, OR 97828.
    • Post 4060 high Valley Post – 518 N. Main St. Union, OR 97883.
  • VA Medical Centers in the county:
    • Wallowa County VA Telehealth Clinic – 401 Northeast 1st St. Suite A, Enterprise, OR 97828.
  • County Veteran Assistance Information
    • Wallowa County Veteran Service Office – 401 NE 1st Enterprise, OR 97828. 

Apply for a VA Home Loan

  • For more information about VA Home Loans and how to apply, click here.
  • If you meet the VA’s eligibility requirements, you will be able to enjoy some of the best government guaranteed home loans available.  
  • VA loans can finance the construction of a property. However, the property must be owned and prepared for construction as the VA cannot ensure vacant land loans.

VA Approved Condos

There are currently no VA-approved condos in Wallowa County, Oregon. However, it is still possible to get a condo through the condo approved and we can help you through the condo approval process, just call us at (877) 432-5626.  

Oregon VA Loan Information: https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/oregon-va-home-loan-limits/

VA Loan Information by State: https://www.vahomeloancenters.org/va-loan-limit-maximum-va-loan-amount/

Source: vahomeloancenters.org

VA Cash-Out Refinance: Is It a Good Idea? | Rates & Guidelines 2021


Nicole Carlson

Posted on: January 1, 2021

The VA cash-out refinance program enables veterans and active-duty service members to tap into their home’s equity and, depending on current refinance interest rates, lower their interest rate at the same time.

The idea of getting cash out of your home is appealing, but is it a good idea for you? Below, we’ll dive into some of the situations when a VA cash-out refinance might be a good fit — and when it might not.

Check your eligibility for a VA cash-out refinance loan today.

Reasons veterans get a VA cash-out refinance

Veterans use the VA cash-out refinance for plenty of reasons — the biggest being that they want to get cash. The cash comes from home equity. So, if you have a mortgage for $200,000 and you’ve paid off $50,000, you can get up to $50,000 back in cash, while also potentially lowering your mortgage rate.

Veterans aren’t required to take out the full amount possible, though. A homeowner in the same situation could take out $10,000 to fund a small kitchen remodel, to buy a new car, or pay for a vacation, for example.

The most common reasons to get cash from a cash-out refinance is to fund remodels, renovations, and repairs to your home — or to use the cash to pay off other debts. (It may be financially responsible to use a cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt if the rate on the other debt is significantly higher than the new rate you’ll get from a cash-out refinance.)

But, there are other potential benefits to a VA cash-out refinance. You may be able to lower your interest rate and monthly mortgage payment. And, if you have an FHA or conventional loan with mortgage insurance, you could remove that extra monthly cost by refinancing into a VA loan.

Reasons to avoid a cash-out refinance

While it’s a good decision for many homeowners, refinancing isn’t the best option for everyone. You should only refinance if you can gain something from the new loan. When determining whether you’re benefitting from a cash-out refinance, it’s important to consider your whole financial situation and your goals.

It could increase your mortgage rate.

When veterans apply for a VA cash-out refinance, they’ll need to supply their credit score. If your credit score is lower than it was when you first applied for your mortgage, then there’s a good chance that the refinance could increase your mortgage rate.

The clock restarts on your mortgage.

It’s also important to remember that a cash-out refinance restarts the clock on your mortgage — you’re opening up a new loan with new terms, likely 30-years. This means additional interest costs. Because of this, it’s best to use a VA cash-out refinance for things that will improve your financial situation, and, in turn, improve your ability to repay the loan.

Riskier than other loan types.

VA cash-out finances are often used for home improvements that increase the overall value of the investment, education expenses to increase earning potential, new business ventures, or debt consolidation. Still, all of these options can represent a financial risk. Before proceeding with a cash-out refinance, it’s worth investigating other funding options such as personal loans, specialized loans (like student loans or small business loans) or second mortgages.

Finally, if you’re using cash from a VA cash-out refinance to pay off credit card debt, it’s important to remember that you’re paying off unsecured debt with secured debt — in other words, you risk foreclosure on your home if you are unable to make your mortgage payments for any reason.

VA cash-out refinance rates

VA cash-out refinance rates are currently low. According to Ellie Mae’s Ocober 2020 Origination Report, interest rates for VA loans hovered at an average of 2.75% — 0.26% lower than interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate conventional loans.

Read more: Current VA Refinance Rates

With rates projected to remain low, Veterans who purchased a home within the last few years should check to see if a refinance could reduce their interest rate and monthly mortgage payment. Your potential savings are dependent on your unique situation — remember to comparison shop with multiple lenders to see who can offer you the best deal.

When a VA streamline refinance is right instead

If you don’t need cash, there’s no reason to get a cash-out refinance. In these situations, a VA streamline refinance (also known as an interest rate reduction refinance loan or IRRRL) makes more sense. The rates associated with the IRRRL tend to be lower, so you could save more money with that type of refinance.

If you’re looking to take out cash for energy-efficiency improvements to your home, the IRRRL allows homeowners to finance up to $6,000 in improvements that will save money over time, including programmable thermostats, insulation, solar heating, and caulking/weather stripping.

VA streamline refinance vs. VA cash-out refinance

If you’re looking to lower your interest rate and monthly payment, don’t need cash out and already have a VA loan, an IRRRL is the easier, quicker, and just plain better option. In fact, streamline refinances require that Veterans lower their mortgage rate to qualify for the loan (also called a net tangible benefit). That’s not a requirement with the cash-out refinance.

If you are looking to get cash for an expense like a remodel or debt consolidation, then a VA cash-out loan is likely the better option. It’s also a good option for Veterans with a non-VA loan requiring mortgage insurance. VA loans don’t require mortgage insurance, so refinancing into one, could remove that monthly expense.

How to apply for a VA cash-out refinance

The application and approval process for a VA cash-out refinance is very similar to the loan application process for a home purchase, including:

  • You’ll likely need a VA appraisal, especially if your existing loan is a non-VA loan. This establishes the current value of your home and helps determine the amount of cash you can take out.
  • You’ll need a credit check and income verification to verify that you’re able to make the new VA loan payments.
  • You’ll need to establish eligibility with minimum service requirements, especially if you currently have a non-VA loan.

Also, shop around with multiple lenders to compare rates and terms. This can save you lots of money over the life of the loan and allow you to negotiate better terms.

Check your eligibility for a VA cash-out refinance loan today.

Source: militaryvaloan.com

5 Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit for 2020

Are you wondering if there are personal loans for fair credit out there?

If you are, then the answer is a resounding “Yes.” There are, indeed, personal loans for fair credit available to you.

If you have fair credit, expect your credit history to be under the microscope by lenders when applying for a personal loan. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting a personal loan.

So, how do you get a personal loan when you have a fair or average credit?

While you may have fewer options, the best way to know for sure what’s available to you is to shop around and compare.

In other words, there are lenders that are willing to get you a personal loan even if your credit is simply average. You just have to know where to look.

A simple internet search of “personal loans for fair credit” can return thousands of results. That can be overwhelming to go through everything.

But don’t worry.

This guide will provide you a selection of the best personal loans for fair credit. It will also show you ways to fix a fair credit score to a good or excellent credit score.

What is a fair credit score for purposes of getting a personal loan?

Before we offer you a list of personal loans for fair credit, you need to know what a fair credit score is.

A fair credit score, according to Credit Sesame, is a credit score within the range of 640 and 680. It sits “between bad and good credit.”

With an average credit score in the mid 600’s, you more likely to get a personal loan than those who have a poor or bad credit score (which usually ranges between 300 to 600).

But you will not enjoy the same interest rate that someone with an excellent credit score would.

Great interest rates are reserved for people with excellent credit score.

What is a personal loan and what can it be used for?

A personal loan is a lump sum of money you borrow from an institution, and then repay that amount (with interest) over a set period of time.

There are two types of personal loans: secured and unsecured. For example, if you’re taking a personal loan to pay off credit card debts or to go on a vacation, that loan is an unsecured debt.

On the other hand, if you’re taking a personal loan to finance a car, you’ve taken a secured loan that is guaranteed by collateral, which is the car your purchase. 

Unsecured loans have more risks for lenders, because there is no collateral. So, they have to rely solely on your credit history and other aspects of your financial life. That’s why it may be harder to get qualified for an unsecured personal loan with bad or fair credit.

Can I get a personal loan with a fair credit?

The answer is “yes.”

While there are plenty of personal loans for fair credit out there, it’s not always the best idea to apply. One reason is that you’ll often be charged a higher interest rate than someone with a good or excellent credit score. 

In that case, it could be worth raising your credit score first before applying for a personal loan.

So while there are lenders who are willing to offer personal loans to people with fair credit if you’re struggling to get approved for a personal loan with a fair credit, you may want to consider improving your credit score first.

Click to get approved for a personal loan now

5 Best Personal Loans for Fair Credit

The better your credit score, generally the higher your chance is for getting approved for a personal loan.

If you’ve got an average credit, you may still get a loan but you will get a high interest rate.

Check out the list below to see some personal loans you may be eligible for.

Part of your search for the best personal loans for fair credit should start with LendingTree.

That is because LendingTree is not a direct lender of personal loans, but instead it’s an online marketplace that matches borrowers to lenders based on your individual qualifications.

It saves you time. Instead of applying to several lenders, with LendingTree you can shop around and compare the best personal loans on one website. It’s an all-in-one platform.

It just connects you with multiple lenders, you can get a personal loan with even a 600 credit score. 

Avant targets people with bad and fair credit. So, that means even if you have a credit score as low as 580, you may still get qualified for a personal loan. The loan amount ranges from $2,000 to $35,000.

Plus, Avant provides quick funding for personal loans.

Just like Lendingtree.com, BadCreditLoans.com is another online lending network that connects you to a huge selection of lenders.

These lenders specialize in lending personal loans to people with bad or fair credit. You can get a personal loan from up to $5,000.

Payoff provides loans to borrowers who have a tons of credit card debts. If you have high interest credit card debts, a Payoff loan can help you consolidate them.

While you can get a Payoff personal loan with fair credit, the minimum credit score is around 640, which is on the higher end of a fair credit score.

So if you have a less-than-stellar credit, you may postpone your personal loan application.

Another peer-to-peer lender to get a personal loan with fair credit is Prosper. With Prosper, not only can you get loan approval the same day, you can also get funding the same day.

But the main downside is that Prosper requires a minimum credit score of 640, which is on the higher end of a fair credit score range.

Other ways to find personal loans for fair credit

When you’re applying for a personal loan, don’t underestimate banks. The options above are online lenders. But banks and credit unions do provide personal loans to people with an average credit.

Banks.

This includes all the major banks, such as Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Bank of America, plus other small banks.

The main benefit of visiting a bank when applying for a personal loan, especially with a fair credit, is that you get to speak with a human being and has the opportunity to explain your financial situation.

For example, you might be able to explain that the reason for an average credit score is due to an unexpected medical bill.

That is not possible with online lenders where it is an automated system that’s reviewing your finances.

It’s even better to get approved for a personal loan even with a fair credit if you have an account with that bank. They can see your transaction history.

The disadvantage, however, is that a bank may not offer the most competitive personal loan rate, especially with a fair credit.

Credit Unions

Part of your search for a personal loan with fair credit should also include credit unions.

Credit unions are not for profit organizations and are more willing to approve you.

But to get access to the best rate, you’ll have to become a member.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) Lenders

Another alternative to banks and credit unions, P2P lenders can provide you with a personal loan even if your credit is average.

For example, LendingClub, a popular P2P, can get you a personal loan with a credit score as low as 600 — which is considered fair credit.

However, your rate may not be as competitive.

Tips to fix a fair credit if you can’t get a personal loan

Holding off applying for a personal loan to improve your fair credit to an excellent one is a good idea.

Not only will you get qualified, but you’ll also get a better interest rate.

Follow these tips to improve your credit score.

1. Get a copy of your credit report

The first step is to obtain a copy of your credit report.

The three main ones to get it from are Transunion, Equifax, and Experian.

By law, you can request a credit report once every 12 months.

But if you want to do so more frequently, you can request it from free credit monitoring services such as Credit Sesame or Credit Karma.

2. Make sure there aren’t any mistakes

Once you get a free copy of your report, make sure there aren’t any inaccurate information or listings.

If you find something that you’re not familiar with, dispute it immediately.

Sometimes it can be a harmless mistake such as a misspelling or an issue that has already been resolved. Some other times, it can be something more serious such as a credit card or a loan taking out in your name.

So it’s important to always check so you’re not a victim of identity fraud.

3. Pay off any credit card debts

Some debts like student loans (as long as you’re not in default) may not have an impact on your credit score.

But if you have outstanding credit card debts, make it a priority to pay them off.

Or at the very least, pay them down until your balance is at or below 30%. That’s called “credit utilization rate,” which is a big factor in calculating your credit score.

4. Pay your bills on time

Nothing will tarnish your credit score like late payments. That is because payment history accounts for 35% of your total credit score.

Before a lender can provide you with a personal loan, (whether you have fair credit or not) they look at your entire credit history.

A late payment history does not look good. It tells them that you’re not responsible with your money. 

So make an effort to pay your bill on time, even if you can only make the minimum payment.

5. Don’t apply for new credit

When you’re improving a fair credit to good credit in order to get a personal loan, the last thing you want to do is to apply for new credit.

That’s because each time you do, you rack up what’s called a “hard inquiry.” Each hard inquiry is recorded on your report. And hard inquiry accounts for 30% of your credit score.

One hard inquiry is nothing to worry about. But when you make several within a short amount of time, you’ll hurt your credit score. It also tells lenders that you are desperate for credit.

Consider a co-signer

While it makes sense to raise your credit score before applying for a personal loan, sometimes you just need the money right away. 

If that’s the case and can’t get approved on your own, then you will need to use a co-signer with good credit.

With a fair credit, using a co-signer should be able to get you qualified for a personal loan.

But, bear in mind that this is a big financial burden you’re putting on them. By accepting to co-sign a loan, they are also responsible to pay off the loan if you cannot. So don’t take it personal if they say “no.”

Summary

Can I get a personal loan with fair credit? The answer is “yes.”  Personal loans for fair credit are available. And the list above have the best personal loans if you have fair credit.While there are several personal loans for fair credit, it’s not always the best idea as you will often charged a higher interest rate and fees. In this case, it makes sense to improve your credit score first before applying.

Click to get approved for a personal loan now

Work with the Right Financial Advisor

You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you save 100k (whether you need it to pay off debt, to invest, to buy a house, or plan for retirement, saving, etc). Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com