The VA Jumbo loan may be just the mortgage you are looking for. Purchasing a dream home is no easy feat. Usually, homes that are on the water, have a lot of land, or quite large are not typically within the reach of first-time buyers. Luxury homes symbolize years of hard work and determination, but as home prices continue to skyrocket, that buying a dream home has become a more difficult goal to achieve.
According to Zillow, as of January 2023, the median home value in the US is$357,544. A luxury home is defined as being in the top 5% of the market. Even for homes that fall short of that benchmark, prices can be significant. Those who have great incomes and can afford a large mortgage payment, but can’t afford to purchase the home outright, will likely need to take out a jumbo loan. Unfortunately, jumbo loans can be time-consuming, costly, and difficult to receive approval for.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that VA loans are only useful for first-time buyers or on more economical homes. VA loans are equally beneficial for eligible veterans looking to purchase an expensive home or veterans looking to renovate with the VA renovation loan. Eligible veterans may apply for VA jumbo loans, which offer significant advantages over their conventional counterparts.
Best of all, VA loan benefits are not a one-and-done situation. Even those who have used VA loan eligibility previously may be entitled to obtain subsequent VA loans, enabling them to continually trade up in terms of home size and value.
What is a VA Jumbo Loan?
A VA jumbo loan is a mortgage that exceeds the standard loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). These limits vary by region, but generally range from $548,250 to $822,375. Any loan amount above these limits is considered a jumbo loan, and requires a higher down payment and stricter credit and income requirements.
Despite these added challenges, VA jumbo loans offer several benefits to eligible borrowers. First and foremost, these loans do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can add thousands of dollars to the cost of a loan. Additionally, VA jumbo loan rates are often lower than those for conventional jumbo loans, making them a cost-effective option for veterans and active military members.
These loans are available to veterans and active duty military personnel who are eligible for VA home loan benefits. Click here to view the 2023 conforming loan limits by state and county.
To be eligible for a VA jumbo loan, borrowers must meet certain criteria. First, they must be veterans, active military members, or eligible surviving spouses. Additionally, they must have a valid VA home loan certificate of eligibility (COE).
Borrowers must also meet credit and income requirements. While these vary depending on the lender, most require a credit score of at least 620 and a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 41%. Additionally, borrowers must have a stable income and a history of paying their bills on time.
Disadvantages of a Conventional Jumbo Loan
Loans that exceed conforming limits are deemed too risky and expensive to be guaranteed by or sold to entities such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. This places the lender at a much greater financial risk should the borrower default on the loan. Therefore, jumbo loans have much stricter criteria and can be more difficult to qualify for. Borrowers may need:
· Excellent credit scores
· Very low debt-to-income ratios
· Cash for large down payments
· To pay increased closing costs
· Additional documentation, paperwork, and time to complete the process
· Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Advantages of a VA Jumbo Loan
The VA jumbo loan works a little differently from conventional jumbo loans.
For conventional jumbo loans, there is no Government-sponsored enterprise providing financial guarantees for the loans. Therefore, the financial risk lies solely with the lender.
In the case of VA loans, the VA will guarantee up to 25% of the value of the loan so long as it falls within conforming loan limits. Because the VA provides such a large guarantee on the loan, there is less risk for the lender. The guarantee also allows eligible veteran borrowers to purchase homes without having to worry about coming up with enough cash for a down payment.
Unfortunately, for loans above the conforming limit, the VA will not guarantee 25% of the total loan. The good news is that unlike conventional jumbo loans, veterans still have an option to use their VA loan eligibility to at least have a portion of their VA jumbo loan guaranteed.
Conforming VA Loan Example
Let’s say that a veteran obtains a loan that exactly matches the current conforming loan limit of $484,350. The amount of the loan guaranteed by the VA will be 25% of that amount.
$484,350 (loan amount) x 25% = $121,087.50 (VA guarantee amount)
In this case, the veteran will not be required to make a down payment as the loan meets conforming limits and a full 25% has been guaranteed.
However, when a VA jumbo loan is needed, the veteran borrower will be required to make up the difference between how much the VA guarantees and what would be equal to 25% of the loan’s value.
VA Jumbo Loan Example
If the jumbo loan amount is $584,350, that is exactly $100,000 more than the conforming limit. The VA will still provide a guarantee up to the maximum conforming loan limit, or $121,087.50, and nothing for the additional $100,000.
$584,350 (loan amount) x 25% = $146,987.50 (25% of loan)
$146,987.50 (25% of loan) – $121,087.50 (VA guarantee) =
In the jumbo VA loan example, the veteran borrower must make a down payment equal to 25% the $100,000 that is over the conforming limit.
Although a down payment is required with a VA jumbo loan, it is likely to be a much lower down payment than what is required with a traditional jumbo loan.
Conventional Jumbo Loan Example
A conventional jumbo loan may require a down payment equal to 20% of the total loan.
$584,350 (loan amount) x 20% = $116,870 (down payment)
Using the above example for a 20% down payment, $116,870 would be required, $91,870 higher than a VA jumbo loan.
The effective down payment on the VA jumbo loan in this scenario would be just 4.28%
Some lenders have come to the realization that borrowers in a financial position to qualify for jumbo loans may actually be less of risk than conforming loan borrowers. In some cases, a 20% down payment may not be required, but that’s when private mortgage insurance might come into play.
Private Mortgage Insurance
When home loan borrowers aren’t able to come up with enough funds to make a 20% down payment on their home, lenders generally require they purchase Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI. This insurance helps the lender recover losses incurred should the property go into foreclosure. Whether or not PMI will be required for a conventional jumbo loan is at the discretion of the lender.
PMI does nothing for the borrower except add additional cost to the loan. PMI premiums typically cost between 0.5-1.5% of the loan. Lenders usually require PMI until the amount of the mortgage has been paid down to 78% of the initial appraised value. PMI costs over the life of the loan can be significant.
Yet another advantage with VA jumbo loans is that PMI is not required. Even with the above example where the effective down payment for a VA jumbo loan is a low 4.28%, no PMI premiums will be added to the monthly payment.
VA Funding Fees
The VA does charge borrowers a funding fee. This fee is a varying percentage of the loan amount. How much the fee will be is based on the loan type and category of the eligible member and can be found on the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
While this is a significant amount, certain categories of veterans may be exempt. The VA states that the following veterans do not have to pay the funding fee:
· Veterans receiving VA compensation for a service-connected disability
· Veterans who would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability if they did not receive retirement or active duty pay
· Surviving spouses of Veterans who died in service or from a service-connected disability
Funding fees can range from .5% for an Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) to 3.3% when using VA eligibility a second time on a zero-down home loan. Veterans who qualify for an exemption will save considerably with a VA jumbo loan.
Only reasonable closing costs can be charged by the lender when obtaining any VA loan. The VA stipulates which fees are and are not allowed, helping to reduce closing costs incurred by the borrower. Some allowable fees include:
· Loan origination fees
· Appraisal fees
· Credit reports
· Discount points
· Title search and insurance
· Recording fees
The VA also allows closing costs to be paid by the seller.
Non-allowed fees include:
· Loan application fees
· Notary charges
· Document preparation fees
· Escrow fees
· Settlement Fees
· Interest rate lock fees
Lenders may not penalize VA borrowers for paying loans off early.
VA Jumbo Loan Rates
The VA does not set VA loan interest rates. Rates and points are determined by the lender. However, because the Veterans Administration guarantees VA loans, VA jumbo loan rates are generally lower than rates for conventional jumbo loans.
How to Apply for a VA Jumbo Loan
Applying for a VA jumbo loan is similar to applying for any other mortgage. If you are ready to start the application process call us now at (855) 956-4040 or click here to fill out an application online. This will typically involve completing a loan application, providing documentation such as pay stubs and tax returns, and undergoing a credit check.