Purchasing a home is an exciting milestone that comes with many upfront expenses. If you’re an eligible veteran or service member, a VA loan can help you buy a home with no down payment required. However, closing costs are still a factor you’ll need to plan for. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about closing costs with a VA mortgage, including standard fees, how VA loans compare to conventional loans, ways to reduce closing costs, and tips for calculating the cash needed to close.
Closing costs refer to the fees lenders and third-party providers charge for processing, underwriting, and finalizing a mortgage loan. These costs are generally 2-5% of the total loan amount. Closing costs are typically divided into two categories:
Origination Fees - Charges from the lender for processing the loan application, such as application fees, underwriting fees, and origination charges.
Third-Party Fees - Charges from outside service providers, such as appraisal fees, credit report fees, taxes, title insurance, legal fees, and more.
While closing costs seem high, they cover essential services related to taking out a mortgage, such as verifying your eligibility, assessing the home’s value, ensuring a clear title, and legally recording the transaction. Awareness of standard closing costs will help you budget and prepare for the total cash needed to close.
VA loans offer significant benefits and cost savings compared to conventional mortgages. Here are some key differences:
One of the most impactful closing cost perks of VA loans is that the VA allows either the seller or lender to pay many of the costs that borrowers would otherwise have to pay out of pocket. Here are some fees the VA lets other parties cover:
VA funding fee
Credit report fee
Prepaid taxes and insurance
HOA application fees
This flexibility helps significantly reduce the closing costs VA borrowers must pay themselves. Typically, borrowers only need to pay prepaid interest, pro-rated taxes, and escrows for property taxes and insurance. Confirm with your lender which fees you’ll be responsible for based on your situation.
Knowing the cash needed to close a VA loan is essential for being fully prepared at closing. Here are the key factors that determine your cash to close:
Allowable closing costs - As discussed above, the seller, the Realtor, or lender can pay many closing costs. The remaining costs are what you’ll need to pay. Get a complete closing cost estimate from your lender early in the process.
Down payment amount - Since VA loans don’t require a down payment, this cost is $0. However, you may make a down payment if you have the funds.
Prepaid costs - Closing costs include upfront payment of recurring expenses like property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues. Your first year is often required at closing.
Origination fees - Any origination fees your lender charges must be paid upfront. Shop lenders to minimize these costs.
Credits - If the seller agrees to credit you a portion of closing costs, this will reduce the cash needed.
Your lender will provide a Loan Estimate within three days of your application that shows an itemized estimate of your closing expenses and total cash required based on your specific loan amount, location, credit, and other factors. The Loan Estimates help you plan and budget.
While VA loans offer closing cost savings, here are some pro tips for minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses even further:
As you can see, closing costs are an essential piece of the puzzle regarding securing your VA loan. Now that you understand the typical fees involved, how to calculate your cash to close, and ways to reduce costs, you can move forward confidently. Be sure to communicate with your lender early and often to clarify remaining out-of-pocket expenses and optimize your VA home loan. Soon, you’ll have the keys to your new home!
The Veteran Lending Team
1267 Eagles View Dr
Clarksville, TN 37040
Programs, rates, terms and conditions are subject to change at any time without notice. All approvals are subject to underwriting guidelines.
Restrictions apply depending on program selected.
No official U.S. military or other government agency endorsement is implied.