USDA Direct or 502 Guaranteed Program?

USDA direct Guaranteed program

There is often times a bit of confusion about what Florida USDA loan new home buyers should use.  After all there are two different USDA home purchase loan programs-  the regular USDA Direct loan and the 502 Guaranteed loan program.  Below we will discuss the two programs so you can pick which one is right for you.

USDA Direct Program:

Also known as the Section 502 Direct Loan Program, this program assists low- and very-low-income applicants obtain decent, safe and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability. Payment assistance is a type of subsidy that reduces the mortgage payment for a short time. The amount of assistance is determined by the adjusted family income.

Who may apply for USDA Direct loan?
A number of factors are considered when determining an applicant’s eligibility for Single Family Direct Home Loans. At a minimum, applicants interested in obtaining a direct loan must have an adjusted income that is at or below the applicable low-income limit for the area where they wish to buy a house and they must demonstrate a willingness and ability to repay debt.

Applicants must:

  • Be without decent, safe and sanitary housing
  • Be unable to obtain a loan from other resources on terms and conditions that can reasonably be expected to meet
  • Agree to occupy the property as your primary residence
  • Have the legal capacity to incur a loan obligation
  • Meet citizenship or eligible noncitizen requirements
  • Not be suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs

Properties financed with direct loan funds must:

  • Be modest in size for the area
  • Not have market value in excess of the applicable area loan limit
  • Not have in-ground swimming pools
  • Not be designed for income producing activities

USDA Direct program in a nutshell:

The USDA Direct program is designed for very low to low income households.  The program is processed in house directly by USDA Rural Housing. In addition, this program will take longer than the 502 Guaranteed program.  Home buyers that wish to apply for the USDA direct program can click here to learn more.

USDA 502 Guaranteed Program:

This program assists approved lenders in providing low- and moderate-income households the opportunity to own adequate, modest, decent, safe and sanitary dwellings as their primary residence in eligible rural areas. The program provides a 90% loan note guarantee to approved lenders in order to reduce the risk of extending 100% loans to eligible rural home buyers.

Who may apply for this program?
Applicants who:

  • Meet income-eligibility
  • Agree to personally occupy the dwelling as their primary residence
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. non-citizen national or Qualified Alien
  • Have the legal capacity to incur the loan obligation
  • Have not been suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs
  • Demonstrate the willingness to meet credit obligations in a timely manner
  • Purchase a property that meets all program criteria

 What is an eligible area?
Check eligible addresses for the loan guarantees.

USDA 502 Guaranteed program in a nutshell.

The USDA Guaranteed program is very similar to the Direct program with a few acceptations.  First, the program allows for higher household income.  Over $75,000 for a family of 1-4 in Florida.  See all current USDA income limits here.   Second, the 502 Guaranteed program is processed only by approved USDA lenders, not the actual USDA office.  Also the timeline for application and closing often times faster. The 502 Guaranteed program accounts for most the USDA loans closed in Florida.

Florida and Georgia home buyers interested in applying for the 502 Guaranteed program can visit our USDA info page here   We are available to assist you 7 days a week.  For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.

USDA Direct or 502 Guaranteed Program?

USDA Mortgage Requirements Guidelines 2015

Great video below highlighting the latest USDA home loan requirements and guidelines for 2015.  The USDA program ( also known as RD or 502 Guaranteed program) still allows up to 100% financing in certain cities in Florida.  In addition to the $0 down payment, the program has low mortgage insurance and other benefits like seller concessions for closing costs, etc.  Florida home buyers can learn more about the USDA program by vising USDA Mortgage Source here or calling 904-302-6060

USDA Mortgage Requirements Guidelines 2015



Conventional Loans Requirements Tampa

Tampa Conventional loans are ( also know as “conforming” loans) are basically mortgages generally $417,000 or less for a single-family home. Conforming loan limits can be higher in certain parts of the country – south Florida as an example.  Conventional loan, just like all other mortgage programs have established guidelines for borrower credit scores, income requirements and minimum down payments. For example, most conventional loans in Tampa -St.Petersburg require somewhere between 5 -20% down payment.  Only borrowers with higher credit scores (680+) can expect to qualify for max 95%+ loan to value financing.

Conventional loans can be conforming or nonconforming. Loans above the lending limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are called nonconforming or jumbo loans. Most conventional mortgages have either fixed or adjustable interest rates – ARM. Typical fixed interest rate loans have a term of 15 or 30 years. A shorter term loan usually results in a lower interest rate. Adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, fluctuate once their adjustment period starts in relation to the rate of a standard financial index, such as the LIBOR. Monthly payments can go up or down accordingly depending on the markets.

Conventional Mortgage Required Down Payments:

A common misconception is many applicants think that 20% down is the only option when buying a home in Hillsborough /Pinellas County.  As of 2015, the current minimum down payment for a Fannie Mae loan is now as little as 3% with certain lenders.  These new policy changes loosened mortgage purchase guidelines to encourage lenders to offer mortgages to more borrowers, even those with less than perfect credit. In most cases borrowers can even avoid paying expensive monthly PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) with certain lenders thanks to LPMI (lender paid mortgage insurance) loans. Generally this consists of a slight increase in your interest rate, but results in a significantly lower monthly payment. Additionally, with this option you can roll the closing costs into your offer and have the seller contribute towards them or ask the Lender to offer you an option in which they pick up the tab on the closing costs. This will reduce the money needed by the borrower to just the down payment contribution. A buyer can qualify for all these options with less than perfect credit.

The 3% down options are restricted to buying a primary residence and single family home with a conventional mortgage. Some of the guidelines for the 3% down mortgage program include:

  • Terms of up to 30 years
  • No income caps
  • No Class and homebuyer counseling is not required
  • Down payment and reserves can be a gift from family, etc
  • Purchase transactions require at least one homebuyer to be a First Time Home-buyer (FTB) – which is defined as not having ownership in a property at any time within the lat 3 years

These rules also include a limit on the amount of loan money will guarantee, known as the “conforming loan limit.” Loans that are larger than these loan limits are known as non-conforming or “jumbo” loans. Jumbo loans are not guaranteed by the GSEs, so they may have higher interest rates than conforming loans, although right now jumbo rates are nearly as low as 30 year conforming loan rates.

Requirements and Qualifications of Tampa / Hillsborough County Conventional loans.

  • Loan amount – The loan amount for a conforming mortgage is generally limited to $417,000 for a single-family home in Tampa, though limits may be higher in regions where home prices are higher. Jumbo loans allow you to exceed the conforming loan limit to borrow for a higher-priced home.
  • Down payment – Most conventional loans will require at least 5 percent (and optimally 20 percent or more) as a down payment. For loans with lower down-payment options, look into government-backed mortgages like USDA, VA and FHA mortgages.
  • Credit history – Conventional loans are a good choice for borrowers with excellent credit, which generally means a FICO score of 740 or higher. In addition, there are also options for borrowers with lower credit scores below 680. However in many cases these lower credit score borrowers often find it more beneficial to do a FHA loan as conventional PMI is based on credit score and gets expensive below 680.

Florida and Georgia home buyers are encouraged to reach out to us 7 days a week. For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.  Please also be sure to call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit for the latest mortgage info.

Conventional Loans Requirements Tampa – Hillsborough County – Apollo Beach, Balm, Bealsville, Bloomingdale, Brandon, Carrollwood Village, Dover, Gibsonton, Lithia, Lutz, Mango, Orient Park, Plant City, Riverview, Ruskin, Seffner, Sun City Center, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Thonotosassa, Valrico. Pinellas County , Clearwater, Crystal Beach, Dunedin, East Lake, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Kenneth City, Largo, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Pass-A-Grille Beach, Pinellas Park, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Safety Harbor, Seminole, South Pasadena, St.Petersburg, Sunset Beach, Tarpon Springs


VA Loan Basics – St. Petersburg, Tampa

VA St.Petersbug Tampa


The VA home loan program is a mortgage backed guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This home mortgage is designed to provide special benefits to Florida vets as well as the surviving spouses of veterans.  VA home loans provide a number of homeownership opportunities with no down payment needed in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and surrounding areas.  The government backed VA loan is available to active duty military personal, honorably discharged veterans and their widows. This is one of the last remaining mortgage programs that still allow home buyers to purchase a Florida home with NO MONEY DOWN.  Certain guidelines must be met by FL lenders and banks wanting to offer VA loans.  Below we will discuss some important things eligible Florida home buyers will want to know about getting pre approved for a VA loan.  Questions? We are available to assist you 7 days a week.  For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.  Please also be sure to call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit for the latest mortgage info.

VA Mortgage Pre Qualified and Pre Approved:

Getting a VA mortgage qualification letter prior to looking for a new home with an agent is an important step in the home buying process. The pre approval letter will provide the loan applicant with an idea of their qualifying amount, monthly expenses and down payment requirements. Additionally, the pre-approval letter gives the seller and realtors involved a better sense of security and confidence that the purchase contract will be able to close… and on time.

There is a big difference between a Pre-Approval Letter and a Mortgage Approval Conditions List. The Pre-Approval Letter is generally issued by a loan officer after credit has been pulled on the vet applying, income and assets docs have been reviewed. The Pre-Approval Letter is basically a loan officer’s written communication that the borrower fits within a particular loan program’s guidelines. The VA pre approval letters will always be contingent on an acceptable VA home appraisal.  The Mortgage Approval Conditions List is a bit more detailed, especially since it is usually issued by the underwriter after an entire loan package has been reviewed.

Questions about employment history, tax returns, assets, bank statement deposits, and other qualifying related details should be addressed before a VA loan specialist issues a Pre-Approval Letter, the final loan conditions list is where all of those conditions will show up. In addition to borrower related conditions, there are appraisal clarifications, purchase contract updates that may show up on this list. This will also list prior to doc and funding conditions so that all parties involved can have an idea of the timeline of when things are due. The VA underwriting process will generally take 10 days for so to complete. Exact times can vary based on the lender, and the borrower(s)

VA Loan Approval Amount?

Getting a VA loan pre approval letter for a new home purchase is mainly to let everyone involved in the transaction know what type of mortgage financing the buyer is approved for. Sellers will want to know if the loan approval is for a VA, USDA, FHA or maybe a Conventional loan.  The Pre-Approval Letter is based on loan program guidelines pertaining to a applicants debt to income ( DTI) Loan to Value ( LTV)  Credit, Property Type and Residence Status.

A complete VA Pre-Approval Letter should let the borrower know the exact terms of the loan amount, down payment requirements and monthly payment, including principal, interest, taxes, insurance and any additional mortgage insurance premiums.

Keep in mind, one of the most important items to remember when looking into financing is that there is sometimes a difference in the amount a borrower can qualify for vs what’s in their budget for a comfortable and responsible monthly payment.

Here are some items borrowers will want to see on their pre approval letter:

  1. Approved Loan Amount – Base loan amount and possibly gross loan amount (FHA, VA, USDA)
  2. Status Date and Expiration Date – Most Pre-Approval Letters are good 90 days from when your credit report was run. After 90 days borrowers should touch base with their lender again to update any changes.
  3. Type Of Financing   – FHA, VA, USDA, Conventional, Jumbo
  4. Mortgage Term –30, 20 or 15 year fixed, ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage); if ARM, 3, 5, 7 or 10 year initial fixed period.
  5. Type Of Occupancy – Owner Occupied or  Secondary Residence, Investment home purchases ( conventional only)
  6. Lender Contact Info – Bank or Lender’s Name and Address, Phone, etc.
  7. Loan Conditions – Document and Funding requirements prior to Approval ( Generally fully ratified purchase contract and acceptable appraisal)

VA Loan Benefits For South Florida Home Buyers:

  • 100% Financing , No Down Payment Required.  Most conventional loans require that borrowers pay 5% to %20% of the sales price in the form of a down payment. For example, if the sales price is $200,000 the borrower would need to present a $10,000 to $40,000 cash down payment up front. The VA loan program requires zero down payment, opening doors to financing that may have been difficult to obtain otherwise. This is especially great in Florida where 100% mortgage financing is hard to find in 2015.  In fact VA is the only 100% loan available for Tampa, St. Petersburg, Pinellas, Clearwater homebuyers.
  • No Required PMI, or Private Mortgage Insurance. This fee is often required when borrowers of conventional loans are unable to provide at least a 20% down payment. FHA, USDA loans also require a monthly fee.  PMI is designed to protect lenders should a borrower default on a loan. Because VA Loans are backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, lenders assume less risk, and are able to omit the requirement for PMI. This advantage can end up saving qualified veterans a substantial amount of money.
  • Low 30 yr Fixed Interest Rates. Because VA loans carry the VA guaranty, lenders assume less risk. This enables lenders to offer very competitive interest rates that are often lower than those of many conventional loans. This is especially true for home buyers with credit scores over 720.
  • Easy refinance options – this is great for borrowers that may want to refinance down the road. The VA cash out and IRRRL loan.

Serving all FL homebuyers in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Pinellas, Clearwater FL –  call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit

VA Loan Basics – St. Petersburg, Tampa

West Palm Beach VA Mortgage Criteria

West Palm Beach VA MortgageVA Home Loans have helped thousands veterans around West Palm Beach and service members achieve the dream of home ownership. This is especially true in the West Palm Beach / Palm Beach County area.  One thing many borrowers don’t know is the VA Loan is not a loan made directly by the federal government or the Veteran’s Administration. It is actually a loan made by approved Florida VA mortgage lenders that is guaranteed by the federal government. After a qualified vet finds a house and makes arrangements for the loan through their lender, the property is appraised by the Veterans Administration to ensure that it is safe and a good value. If the house passes the inspection, the VA agrees to guarantee the lender against loss of principal should the buyer default.

The maximum VA Loan amount varies depending on the county. However, in 2015 the max loan without down payment is generally $417,000 in most counties in Florida. Though it can reach close to 1 million in some “high cost” locations of south Florida.

The real benefit of a VA Loan is that the borrower is not required to make a down payment and does not have to pay the private mortgage insurance that is generally required on a conventional mortgage when the down payment is less than 20%. 100% financing is real hard to find these days in West Palm Beach and no mortgage insurance on top of it makes VA a great option.

The borrower must pay a VA funding fee that amounts to 0-3.15% of the loan, depending on a verity of factors.  However, veterans can get a loan for over 100% financing to include the funding fee. This fee does not include any closing costs or fees from the lender. Below is a list of things veterans will want to know before applying for a VA loan.

VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

First, a borrower must have a certificate of eligibility from the VA in order to obtain a loan. To receive this certificate, the borrower must file VA Form 26-1880, Request for Determination of Eligibility and Available Loan Guaranty Entitlement. Veterans with documented active duty service of at least 90 days during World War II or in later wars are eligible for the certificate. The requirements for veterans who served only during a time of peace varies by year and station, but the minimum service time ranges from 181 days to two years. Reservists and National Guard members activated after August 2, 1990 who were on active duty for at least 90 days may be eligible for a certificate. Spouses of service members who died during service or due to a disability as a result of service are also eligible under specific circumstances, as determined by the VA. Persons who received a dishonorable discharge at any time are usually not eligible for a certificate. Don’t have your COE?  No need to worry, just contact us at (904) 385-3988 and we will take care of everything.

Employment Eligibility and VA Mortgages

When evaluating employment, lenders want to ensure that a homebuyer has stable, reliable employment and that it is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. This is usually displayed by having at least two years of steady job employment.

However, it is important to note that two years of steady employment isn’t exactly 100% required.  VA mortgages do not have an exact length requirement for employment history, and many applicants are examined on a case by case basis.  For example, consider a veteran who recently separated from the military. Underwriters will look at the current or pending job and any specialized training to determine if it is sufficient. But, be prepared, since employment histories of less than two years will draw additional scrutiny, which is because the VA likely won’t guarantee a loan if they feel a potential borrower’s income is unreliable.

VA Credit Requirements

A large benefit of the VA Home Loan is the relaxed credit requirements meant to provide military homebuyers with an accessible mortgage option. As for credit score, there is no pass or fail number, however most lenders and banks will have in house requirements that mandate a at least a 620 credit score.

Loan Pre Approval and the Application

After determining your financial eligibility and getting your Certificate of Eligibility, you are ready to begin the process of applying for a VA Loan. Except for the VA property appraisal, this process is similar to any other home buying process. It will save you time and money and headaches to read up on basics ahead of time. There are a number of approaches to the order in which you do things when looking for a house. Many real estate agents will want you to get your VA loan pre-approval before viewing any property.  This means, figuring out how much you will be able to borrow and then finding a lender who will go through your credit and officially approve you for that amount. This is different from prequalifying, which just gives an estimate of what you can borrow based on what information you provide and isn’t a promise from a specific lender for the amount.

While prequalifying will give you a ballpark idea of what you can afford to pay, a preapproval will give you an actual number, which should come in handy when you are looking at houses. And because you are already approved for the loan, It makes it easier to jump on the perfect house when you find it.  Aside from finding the perfect house, the real trick of the home buying process if finding a lender who fully understands the VA mortgage process. If you are a West Palm Beach area homebuyer, look no farther than Five Stars.   Questions? We are available to assist you 7 days a week.  For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.  Please also be sure to call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit for the latest mortgage info.

Current VA home owners that want to lower their interest rate or cash out equity can learn about VA refinance options here.

Serving all of Palm Beach County,  invluding Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Briny Breezes, Canal Point, Cloud Lake, Delray Beach, Glen Ridge, Golf, Greenacres, Gulf Stream, Haverhill, Highland Beach, Hypoluxo, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Jupiter Inlet Colony, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Park, Lake Worth, Lantana, Loxahatchee, Manalapan, Mangonia Park, North Palm Beach, Ocean Ridge, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Shores, Palm Springs, Riviera Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Sandcut, South Bay, South Palm Beach, Tequesta, Wellington, West Palm Beach, West Palm Beach VA Mortgage Criteria

100 percent LTV VA Cash Out Refinance

100 percent VA cash out refinance


There are three basic VA refinance programs available today for eligible Florida homeowners. First, there is the VA IRRRL  (Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan) This refinance is specifically for those who already have a VA loan and are just looking to lower their interest rate with streamline documentation. This is a straight “rate and term” refinance, meaning no cash is going back to the borrower at closing. This is a great program because there is no appraisal, loan to value requirements and little qualifying hassle. The second type of VA refinance is someone who has a non-VA loan and is looking to refinance into a VA loan. This has been popular for those who wanted to refinance out of either an FHA loan or a Conventional loan with mortgage insurance. VA does not have monthly mortgage insurance (PMI)  and allows refinancing to 100% loan to value. The third type of refinance is where the Veteran wants to pull some equity from their home. They may or may not already have a VA loan. Did you know that VA is the only mortgage program around today that allows 100% cash out?

With 2015 interest rates still low and home prices up, some Veterans are taking advantage and pulling cash out for making those home improvements they have wanted to make. Other reasons for pulling cash out include debt/credit card consolidation, education costs, investments, etc. There are specific restrictions for what is defined as cash out. There are different LTV (loan-to-value) restrictions for different cash out options at Five Stars. Listed below are some of the basic VA Cash Out refinance qualifying requirements:

  • Borrowers must be currently employed.
  • 620 or better middle credit score.
  • No late payments on your mortgage over the past 12 months.
  • Must be able to document income and assets.

Some Benefits of a Florida VA Cash Out Refinance Loan:

  • Up to 100% Financing (most banks and lenders will limit homeowners to 90% LTV).
  • Closing costs can be rolled into the new loan, no out of pocket costs.
  • Super low 30 year fixed interest rates.
  • No private mortgage insurance ( PMI)
  • No prepayment penalties as with all government backed home loans.
  • Streamline documentation requirements.
  • Flexible credit requirements for borrowers with less than perfect credit.

100 Percent VA Cash Out Refinance Requirements:

In order to apply and qualify for a VA loan you will need to meet the following criteria and submit the following:

  • COE (certificate of eligibility).
  • A current home appraisal.
  • 2 years tax returns and W2 if required.
  • Bank Statements for 2 months.
  • Paystubs for 2 months.

Questions? Remember we have VA loan specialists standing by 7 days a week ready to assist you. For fast service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.  Please also be sure to call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit for the latest mortgage info.

What NOT to do before your closing on your new home

home buying tips florida

We all know that owning your own home is one of life’s great pleasures. Yet many home buyers make bad choices before they buy a home that make the purchase process more difficult than it needs to be. When you decide that you are going to buy a home in the near future you need to practice some basic financial discipline and more importantly,  common sense.  Below we want outline the most common mistakes, things you want to avoid doing while going through the home buying process. These tips are especially important for any first time home buyer.

  • Close credit accounts –  even if it seems positive, it can initially impact your credit score in a negative way. Leave all credit accounts alone unless your lenders advises differently.
  • Open new credit accounts or apply for credit –  Basically in a nut shell, do NOT change anything with your credit, buy or close and accounts. Keep everything the same unless your lender/bank officer says otherwise.
  • Buy a car or any taking on any new financial obligations or loans. This includes buying new furniture for your house before closing, don’t do it!
  • Change your job – this falls under the common sense category.  Please do not change employers without first discussing it with your lender.  In addition, if you receive a promotion, demotion, raise or cut in pay, notify your lender immediately as this could impact your mortgage loan approval.
  • Make all loan payments on time, don’t miss any payments on car loans, credit card bills, etc.
  • Move money around bank accounts, make random cash deposits in your bank account. Again, talk to you lender before doing anything like this, they will advise you on paper trail and documentation needed.
  • Spend your savings – your loan approval is based on your savings at the time of loan application. Save, Save, Save.

 Basically in a nut shell, do NOT change anything with your credit, buy or close and accounts. Keep everything the same.

Five Stars Mortgage is available to assist all Florida and Georgia home buyers 7 days a week. Please call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit for the latest mortgage info For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.

What NOT to do before your closing on your new home


VA Home Loan Buying Process

VA home buying process


Purchasing a home can be a pain staking process,  especially when the buyer doesn’t understand all the steps involved.  The VA mortgage purchase process isn’t much different from other conventional or FHA home loans.  From start to finish, the VA closing process only has a few steps, below we will outline each.

VA Loan Pre Qualification, Initial review
The first step is the most important, you need to know where you stand in regards to mortgage approval. The entire VA application process only takes a 15 min to complete.  During the process the lender will ask for basic questions and obtain a credit report.

VA lenders are generally looking for a credit score of at least 620, although the benchmark can vary slightly.  In addition to learning about your credit profile, the mortgage company will want to have a better understanding of your home buying goals and objectives. They’ll ask about your income and your employment and try to identify any potential red flags at the outset.

VA loan pre-approval
Compared to prequalification, the VA loan pre-approval is more involved process. Lenders will want to get a much closer look at your financial situation and your ability to handle a mortgage payment. They will also collect supporting documents to prove in the information given on the application. You’ll fill out documents and paperwork, and lenders will start working to verify your income and other important information. The end result should be a pre-approval letter that details how much a lender is willing to loan, provided certain conditions are met. Preapproval letters are increasingly important in today’s housing market. Real estate agents and home sellers expect to see these letters included in an purchase offer.  Additionally , many home sellers / and their realtors won’t accept offers on a home without a copy of your preapproval letter. The VA loan pre-approval is a key step in the process, be sure you get this in advance. To get started on your Florida VA loan pre-approval, call us 7 days a week at 800-871-2636

Searching for the perfect home

Once you’ve received your VA mortgage preapproval letter, it’s time to start the house hunt. Finding a real estate agent who truly understands the VA loan program can make a tremendous difference for military borrowers. VA loans, just like USDA loans, are specialized loans that require specialized knowledge. If you need a great realtor in your Florida city, please reach out to us, we would be happy to make the connection for you! Once you find that perfect home, you will work closely with your realtor to write up an offer. In addition to no down payment and no mortgage insurance, VA loans also limit what borrowers can pay in closing costs. It’s common for VA borrowers to ask a seller to pay most, if not all, of their closing costs as part of the negotiation process. VA will permit the home seller(s) to pay buyers closing costs.  The end result of negotiations should be a purchase contract that makes sense for both parties.

VA appraisal & lender underwriting
As soon as you’re under contract to purchase a home, your lender will order the VA appraisal on the property. The appraisal has two main components, determining the fair market value for the home and making sure it meets the VA’s property requirements.

VA appraisals are typically completed and back to the lender in about 5 days. At the same time the mortgage company will be working to gather all documents and paperwork before getting your loan file  is submitted to the underwriter.

The underwriter will review the loan file and alert the loan officer if there are any missing items or additional documentation needed. It’s important for borrowers to fulfill these requests as quickly as possible as you will likely have a tight 30 day closing date.

Closing day
On closing day the buyers and sellers, and closing agent will review all the documents. Buyers want to allow a few hours to sign and review all the paperwork. Once this complete, you receive the keys to your perfect home!

Questions? We are available to assist you 7 days a week.  For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.  Please also be sure to call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit for the latest mortgage info.

Alachua County – Gainesville

Baker County – Macclenny

Bay County – Panama City

Bradford County – Starke

Brevard County – Titusville

Broward County – Fort Lauderdale

Calhoun County – Blountstown

Charlotte County – Punta Gorda

Citrus County – Inverness

Clay County – Green Cove Springs

Collier County – Naples

Columbia County – Lake City

De Soto County – Arcadia

Dixie County – Cross City

Duval County – Jacksonville

Escambia County – Pensacola

Flagler County – Bunnell

Franklin County – Apalachicola

Gadsden County – Quincy

Gilchrist County – Trenton

Glades County – Moore Haven

Gulf County – Port St. Joe

Hamilton County – Jasper

Hardee County – Wauchula

Hendry County – LaBelle

Hernando County – Brooksville

Highlands County – Sebring

Hillsborough County – Tampa

Holmes County – Bonifay

Indian River County – Vero Beach

Jackson County – Marianna

Jefferson County – Monticello

Lafayette County – Mayo

Lake County – Tavares

Lee County – Fort Myers

Leon County – Tallahassee

Levy County – Bronson

Liberty County – Bristol

Madison County – Madison

Manatee County – Bradenton

Marion County – Ocala

Martin County – Stuart

Miami-Dade County – Miami

Monroe County – Key West

Nassau County – Fernandina Beach

Okaloosa County – Crestview

Okeechobee County – Okeechobee

Orange County – Orlando

Osceola County – Kissimmee

Palm Beach County – West Palm Beach

Pasco County – Dade City

Pinellas County – Clearwater

Polk County – Bartow

Putnam County – Palatka

Santa Rosa County – Milton

Sarasota County – Sarasota

Seminole County – Sanford

St. Johns County – St. Augustine

St. Lucie County – Fort Pierce

Sumter County – Bushnell

Suwannee County – Live Oak

Taylor County – Perry

Union County – Lake Butler

Volusia County – DeLand

Wakulla County – Crawfordville

Walton County – De Funiak Springs

Washington County – Chipley

VA Home Loan Buying Process


2015 VA Funding Fee and Loan Amount Limits

VA funding fee 2015


Below we have listed the current VA funding fee and loan amount limits in Florida. Most VA loans will require a one time funding fee to be paid, disabled vets are exempt from paying the funding fee.  The VA Funding Fee is paid directly to the Department of Veterans Affairs and is the reason they can guarantee this no down payment mortgage program. This fee is paid so that VA eligible borrowers can enjoy loan benefits such as 100% financing and no PMI (mortgage insurance) payments.

Please see the 2015 VA funding fee Chart below. The funding fee is calculated by looking at a few factors: Loan amount, loan type (VA Purchase or VA Refinance), type of service, down payment (if any) and prior VA loan use. Take a look at the charts below to see how the VA funding fee varies based on these factors.

Purchase – First Time Use
Down Payment Active Duty/Retired Guard/Reserve
$0 Down 2.15% 2.40%
5-10% Down 1.50% 1.75%
10% or More 1.25% 1.50%


VA Purchase – Additional Use
Down Payment Active Duty/Retired Guard/Reserve
$0 Down 3.30% 3.30%
5-10% Down 1.50% 1.75%
10% or More 1.25% 1.50%


                Cashout Refinance ( Up to 100% LTV)
VA Usage Active Duty/Retired Guard/Reserve
1st Time Use 2.15% 2.40%
Additional Use 3.30% 3.30%


IRRRL (Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan)
VA Usage Active Duty/Retired Guard/Reserve
1st Time Use 0.5% 0.5%
Additional Use 0.5% 0.5%

How the Funding Fee is Paid:

The funding fee doesn’t need to be ‘paid’ separately and is typically rolled in the balance of the homeowners loan. This is a big benefit to buyers looking to take advantage of the 100% financing VA loan. Not only do borrowers not need to put anything down, but they can also finance the VA funding fee as well.

 VA Funding Fee Exemption:

Borrowers are exempt from paying the funding fee if they receive any disability payments from the VA or are considered at least 10% disabled Remember when using the VA home loan calculator to add the funding fee amount to loan amount.  Example: Purchase price is $100,000.  Funding fee is 2.15%.  So final loan amount is $102,150

2015 Florida VA loan amount limits by county listed below. Please call us at ph: 800-871-2636 with any questions about VA loans here in FL.  We are available to assist you 7 days a week.  For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.

County Name Single Family Home
($0 down and up to)
Max Guaranty
ALACHUA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
BAKER $417,000.00 $1,000,000
BAY $417,000.00 $1,000,000
BRADFORD $417,000.00 $1,000,000
BREVARD $417,000.00 $1,000,000
BROWARD $417,000.00 $1,000,000
CALHOUN $417,000.00 $1,000,000
CHARLOTTE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
CITRUS $417,000.00 $1,000,000
CLAY $417,000.00 $1,000,000
COLLIER $448,500.00 $1,000,000
COLUMBIA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
DESOTO $417,000.00 $1,000,000
DIXIE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
DUVAL $417,000.00 $1,000,000
ESCAMBIA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
FLAGLER $417,000.00 $1,000,000
FRANKLIN $417,000.00 $1,000,000
GADSDEN $417,000.00 $1,000,000
GILCHRIST $417,000.00 $1,000,000
GLADES $417,000.00 $1,000,000
GULF $417,000.00 $1,000,000
HAMILTON $417,000.00 $1,000,000
HARDEE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
HENDRY $417,000.00 $1,000,000
HERNANDO $417,000.00 $1,000,000
HIGHLANDS $417,000.00 $1,000,000
HILLSBOROUGH $417,000.00 $1,000,000
HOLMES $417,000.00 $1,000,000
INDIAN RIVER $417,000.00 $1,000,000
JACKSON $417,000.00 $1,000,000
JEFFERSON $417,000.00 $1,000,000
LAFAYETTE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
LAKE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
LEE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
LEON $417,000.00 $1,000,000
LEVY $417,000.00 $1,000,000
LIBERTY $417,000.00 $1,000,000
MADISON $417,000.00 $1,000,000
MANATEE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
MARION $417,000.00 $1,000,000
MARTIN $417,000.00 $1,000,000
MIAMI-DADE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
MONROE $529,000.00 $1,000,000
NASSAU $417,000.00 $1,000,000
OKALOOSA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
OKEECHOBEE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
ORANGE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
OSCEOLA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
PALM BEACH $417,000.00 $1,000,000
PASCO $417,000.00 $1,000,000
PINELLAS $417,000.00 $1,000,000
POLK $417,000.00 $1,000,000
PUTNAM $417,000.00 $1,000,000
SANTA ROSA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
SARASOTA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
SEMINOLE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
  1. JOHNS
$417,000.00 $1,000,000
  1. LUCIE
$417,000.00 $1,000,000
SUMTER $417,000.00 $1,000,000
SUWANNEE $417,000.00 $1,000,000
TAYLOR $417,000.00 $1,000,000
UNION $417,000.00 $1,000,000
VOLUSIA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
WAKULLA $417,000.00 $1,000,000
WALTON $417,000.00 $1,000,000
WASHINGTON $417,000.00 $1,000,000

2015 VA Funding Fee and Loan Amount Limits

Palm Coast, St. Augustine USDA Mortgage Company

USDA mortgage company

USDA Rural home buyers can receive up to 100% financing on their next home with a USDA Rural Loan. Many locations around St. Johns & Flagler County like St. Augustine and Palm Coast still remain mostly approved for 100% USDA Rural loans.  The USDA 502 Guaranteed home loan program was designed to assist moderate income residents in St. Johns and Flagler County in purchasing a home by providing easy approval standards and great rates. Home buyers must purchase a home within the eligible rural areas and have a household income that does not exceed the established limits for the area where the home is located. Please see the St. Johns and Flagler County USDA RD income limits here.

Some benefits of a USDA 502 Guaranteed Loan in Palm Coast, St. Augustine included:

  • Zero down payment,  Up to 100% financing.
  • Alternate credit may be accepted (includes detailed payment history on rental payments, utility bills, telephone/mobile services and television service) Please note non traditional credit can only be used if an applicant does not have a credit score. Non traditional credit can not be used to offset bad credit.  Current credit fico score requirements are 640.
  • No limit on purchase price, or loan amount limits with USDA.
  • 30 YR fixed terms. No early payoff charges.
  • Eligible property types include existing homes, new construction, Planned Unit Developments (PUD’s), eligible condominiums, short sales, foreclosures located in a USDA RD eligible locations.
  • Gift/Grant Funds and Seller Concessions are allowed for closing costs – up to 6%.
  • Not limited to first time homebuyers, any eligible homebuyer can apply even move up buyers.

USDA like all government home loans require monthly mortgage insurance.   Below you will find the current 2015 USDA mortgage insurance rates and up front funding ( Guarantee) amounts.

  • Purchases, 2.00% upfront fee paid at closing, based on the loan size
  • Refinances, 2.00% upfront fee paid at closing, based on the loan size
  • For both purchases and refinances, 0.50% annual (monthly ) fee, based on the remaining principal balance

Example: homebuyer with a $200,000 loan size in St. Augustine Florida would be required to make a $4,000 upfront mortgage insurance premium payment, plus $83.33 monthly mortgage insurance. The up front USDA mortgage premium is normally included (rolled into) the home buyers loan. The main benefit is the USDA  loan program is the monthly mortgage insurance (PMI) is almost half the costs of the FHA loan.

Palm Coast, St. Augustine home buyers interested in applying for a USDA mortgage?  We are available to assist you 7 days a week.  For quick service please submit the “Request Information” form at the top right side of your screen.  Mobile users can find the short Request Info Form here.  Please also be sure to call ph: 800-871-2636 and visit for the latest home loan info.

Palm Coast, St. Augustine USDA Mortgage Company