How Many Times Can You Use a VA Loan?
You’re a veteran who’s ready to take out a home loan and it’s not your first rodeo. Wait, are you allowed to use your VA loan for a second rodeo?
The short answer: Yes! You can use your VA loan as many times as you want.
The (not too) long answer: We’re about to break it down. It all depends on your entitlement.
What’s my entitlement?
Your entitlement determines the amount of VA mortgage loan you have access to. So it’s actually not about how many times you can use a VA loan, but about how much entitlement you have available.
Specifically, your entitlement is how much money the VA will repay on your behalf if you default on your loan with a private lender. The VA offers a basic entitlement of $36,000 and your private lender will typically offer up to four times that entitlement. That means your VA mortgage likely covers a $144,000 loan.
What if I need more than my basic entitlement?
Say you’ve got your eye on a home that exceeds the $144,000 amount covered by your lender. That’s where bonus entitlement comes in. Bonus entitlement increases the amount you can borrow, freeing you up to find your dream home in more expensive housing markets.
A bonus entitlement can even exceed the conforming loan limit (the legal maximum dollar amount of a standard loan) giving you an edge over other buyers. This is called a jumbo loan. Keep in mind that to qualify for a jumbo loan with a bonus entitlement, you’ll need to pay off your current VA loan in full to restore your entitlement.
You’ve probably already used some (or all) of your entitlement on your current home loan, but there are a few ways you can restore it and increase your borrowing eligibility. This allows you to keep taking out VA loans as many times as you need to, forever.*
*When you reuse your entitlement, your VA funding fee may increase. Your funding fee varies based on your military status, down payment, and the number of times you’ve used your entitlement.
Sounds good! How do I restore my entitlement?
There are three key ways to restore your entitlement:
- Sell your home and use that money to pay the loan in full, closing the mortgage.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to apply for entitlement restoration after you’ve completed payment.
- Get another veteran to take over your current home loan. When they purchase your home and assume the mortgage, the entitlement tied to the loan will transfer to the new owner and free yours up for your new home.
Pro tip: If a non-veteran buys your home and assumes the mortgage (instead of taking out their own), your entitlement will still be tied to the loan. In other words, it won’t work.
- Pay your current loan in full. If you’re planning to retain your home but still want to restore your entitlement, this approach fits the bill.
Pro tip: You can only use this option once.
To officially restore your entitlement after using one of these methods, you’ll need to submit VA Form 26-1880. This is the same form you used to get your initial COE (Certificate of Eligibility) when you applied for your first VA loan.
How many VA loans can I have at once?
Your entitlement never expires, so as long as your full entitlement amount isn’t already being used for an existing loan, you can use it as many times as you want—even for two loans at once.
Your VA loan has to be used for your primary residence, but good news! The VA understands that military personnel may have to relocate frequently, so they offer a bit of flexibility.
Say you’re relocating for a new duty station but don’t want to sell your current home. You can use your remaining entitlement to take out a loan for your new home while keeping the mortgage for your former residence.
While you’re relocated, you can rent out your former residence as needed. As with any VA loan, you can’t use your entitlement to buy a second property solely as an investment or vacation home.
So, with all that in mind, how many times can you use a VA loan?
We’re almost done! To recap:
- You can refinance a VA loan as many times as you need to.
- Entitlement is the portion of your home loan backed by the VA.
- There are three key ways you can restore your entitlement.
- Your entitlement never expires.
- If you have enough entitlement available, you can take out two VA loans at once.
- If you take out a second VA loan, it can’t be used as an investment property or vacation home.
When you’re ready to get started, reach out to our team and find out how your VA loan can serve you — again and again.
Your entitlement never expires, so you can use it as many times as you want—even for two VA loans at once.