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VA home loan limits

If you have remaining entitlement for your VA-backed home loan, find out the current loan limits and how they may affect the amount of money you can borrow without a down payment. As of 2020, if you have full entitlement, you don’t have a VA loan limit.

If you have full entitlement, you don’t have a home loan limit

Eligible Veterans, service members, and survivors with full entitlement no longer have limits on loans over $144,000. This means you won’t have to pay a down payment, and we guarantee to your lender that if you default on a loan that’s over $144,000, we’ll pay them up to 25% of the loan amount. 
You have full entitlement if you meet either of the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true:

  • You’ve never used your home loan benefit, or
  • You’ve paid a previous VA loan in full and sold the property (in this case, you’d have your full entitlement restored), or
  • You’ve used your home loan benefit, but had a foreclosure or compromise claim (also called a short sale) and repaid us in full

Note: You may have heard the terms additional entitlement, bonus entitlement, or tier 2 entitlement. We use these terms when we communicate with lenders about VA-backed loans over $144,000. You won’t need to use these terms when applying for a loan.

It depends. If you apply and are eligible for a VA-backed home loan, you’ll receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This is the document that tells private lenders (such as banks, credit unions, or mortgage companies) that you have VA home loan eligibility and entitlement. 

But your lender will still need to approve you for a loan. The lender will determine the size of loan you can afford based on your:

  • Credit history
  • Income
  • Assets (items of value such as savings, retirement, and investment accounts)

We don’t require a minimum credit score, but some lenders may have different credit score requirements. Be sure to contact more than one lender to compare.

This line on your COE is information for your lender. It shows that you have full entitlement. 
The $36,000 isn’t the total amount you can borrow. Instead, it means that if you default on a loan that’s under $144,000, we guarantee to your lender that we’ll pay them up to $36,000. For loans over $144,000, we guarantee to your lender that we’ll pay up to 25% of the loan amount.

If you have remaining entitlement, you do have a home loan limit


With remaining entitlement, your VA home loan limit is based on the county loan limit where you live. This means that if you default on your loan, we’ll pay your lender up to 25% of the county loan limit minus the amount of your entitlement you’ve already used.

You can use your remaining entitlement—either on its own or together with a down payment—to take out another VA home loan. 

You may have remaining entitlement if any of these are true:

  • You have an active VA loan you’re still paying back, or
  • You paid a previous VA loan in full and still own the home, or
  • You refinanced your VA loan into a non-VA loan and still own the home, or
  • You had a compromise claim (or short sale) on a previous VA loan and didn’t repay us in full, or
  • You had a deed in lieu of foreclosure on a previous VA loan (this means you transferred your home’s title to the bank that holds your mortgage to avoid foreclosure), or
  • You had a foreclosure on a previous VA loan and didn’t repay us in full

Is the “limit” the amount I can borrow or the amount VA guarantees?

The VA-backed home loan limit refers to the amount we’ll guarantee (the maximum amount we’ll pay to your lender if you default on your loan). We don’t limit how much you can borrow to finance a home. 

How does my county loan limit affect me?

You may need to make a down payment if you’re using remaining entitlement and your loan amount is over $144,000. This is because most lenders require that your entitlement, down payment, or a combination of both covers at least 25% of your total loan amount.

So if you’re able and willing to make a down payment, you may be able to borrow more than the county loan limit with a VA-backed loan. Remember, your lender will still need to approve you for a loan. The lender will determine the size of loan you can afford based on your:

  • Credit history
  • Income
  • Assets (items of value such as savings, retirement, and investment accounts)

We don’t require a minimum credit score, but some lenders may have different credit score requirements. Be sure to contact more than one lender to compare.

Note: You may have heard the terms additional entitlement, bonus entitlement, or tier 2 entitlement. We use these terms when we communicate with lenders about VA-backed loans over $144,000. You won’t need to use these terms when applying for a loan.

Why does my COE say, “This Veteran’s basic entitlement is $0”?

This line on your COE is information for your lender. It shows that you’ve used your home loan benefit before and don’t have remaining entitlement. If the basic entitlement listed on your COE is more than $0, you may have remaining entitlement and can use your benefit again.

On your COE, in the table called Prior Loans charged to entitlement, we list the amount of your entitlement you’ve already used under the Entitlement Charged column. Your entitlement can be restored when you sell your property and pay your VA-backed loan in full, or repay in full any claim we’ve paid.

What are the VA home loan limits by year and county?

Find the VA home loan limit for the county your property (or future property) is in.

2021 VA home loan limits

VA home loan limits are the same as the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) limits. These are called conforming loan limits.
Check current loan limits

Previous years

  1. Go to FHFA’s Conforming Loan Limits page

    You'll find the link to this page below.
     

  2. Scroll to the Previously Announced Loan Limits section

    Review the table with past loan limit information.
     

  3. Find the year with the limits you need

    Years are located in the first column, labeled Description.
     

  4. Download the loan limit table

    Download the loan limit table by selecting the link to the right of the Description column. The file will be in Excel (xls) or PDF format.
     

  5.  Refer only to the One-Unit Limit column in the table

    This is the only column that applies to VA home loan limits.
     

If you have questions about your entitlement

You can talk to your lender or call us at 877-827-3702 to find the nearest VA Regional Loan Center. We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET.

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