VA Loan Closing Costs: How Much to Expect

There are a lot of things that factor into closing costs, and these can be extremely confusing – but don’t worry!  Here’s a quick reference to give you a basic overview of possible charges that are exempt by the VA. With VA home loans, there are regulations on how much a lender can charge on certain fees, and there are some fees that don’t ever get charged. Find out what fees to expect, and which ones to watch out for!

Closing Costs You Don’t Pay…

Because of your service in the military, there are some fees that you don’t have to pay on your VA home loan no
Closing Costs You Pay for a VA Mortgage or Refinancematter what. The VA does not allow lenders to charge fees for documentation, notary, the transaction coordinator, or for the broker. Although you do have to pay the recording fee, the VA does not allow lenders to charge more than $17 for this. Depending upon the state you live in, you won’t have to pay termite and pest inspection fees either. Only nine states require you to pay inspection fees regardless of how you’re financing your home: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas.

VA Fees You Might Pay . . .

Possible costs you might pay at closing include those for escrow, title exams, insurance, survey, VA funding, and Homeowners Association. Escrow is a portion of the mortgage payment that goes towards paying property taxes and insurance costs, also called TI. The escrow expense can vary over time because it is charged based on property taxes, which also change over time.

Survey fees include the cost of a survey company inspecting and confirming property lines. This expense isn’t required in all states, so it’s important to check if your state exempts those financing their homes with VA loans from paying survey fees.

Funding fees are required by the VA whenever you are purchasing or refinancing with a VA loan. This fee is applied to all loans and refinances, and the amount charged depends on a number of factors, including what the loan will be used for and if the borrower has used a VA loan previously. You can be exempt from paying the VA funding fee if you have been disabled due to military service. Members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard pay lower VA funding fees than members of the National Guard and the National Reserves.

Your Closing Costs Total Comes To…

The list of closing costs you could possibly be charged may seem lengthy and overwhelming, but don’t worry; the Department of Veterans Affairs has placed restrictions on how much lenders can charge you for closing, and there are two ways that lenders can collect closing costs. The first is by charging an origination fee that is no more than 1 percent of the loan amount. For example, if your loan is $200,000, your origination cost can be $2,000. The 1 percent origination fee will cover all closing expenses.

Fees for Your VA Home Loan Closing CostsIf your lender chooses not to charge the 1 percent origination fee, he or she might choose to charge any combination of the costs listed above. However, if your lender chooses this option, they cannot charge you more than the 1 percent you’d be paying if they charged the origination fee. Some home sellers are willing to help cover closing costs too, and the VA does not have regulations on how many of those fees can be paid for by the seller. Ask your home seller if they are willing to negotiate covering some of the closing costs.
Here at Low VA Rates, we strive to make the loan process and closing costs easy to understand. To speak to one of our qualified loan officers, or to learn more about the services we offer, visit us online at www.lowvarates.com.

The VA Funding Fee Demystified and Explained Part 2

Deciphering the VA Lender’s Handbook Chapter 8 Part 6

How the VA Funding Fee worksIn the last article we covered how you and the lender work together to determine whether you are exempt from the funding fee, as well as what to do in the event that you could be exempt but aren’t able to have your exempt status confirmed until after the fact. If you’re looking for information on how the funding fee works and the process you’ll go through in relation to the funding fee, you’ll want to read that article. This article is going to be all about numbers; how much will the funding fee cost, what number is the percentage calculated off of, and how many days the lender has to remit payment of the funding fee to the VA.

 

For all VA loans except for IRRRLs (streamline refinances), a certain percentage calculated from the tables in Chapter 8 of the VA Lender’s Handbook is applied to the loan amount. Some good news for those who are planning to use loan proceeds to pay for the Funding Fee: the percentage is calculated off the loan amount before the cost of the funding fee is added to it (if you think about it for a bit, it becomes clear why). IRRRLs are different; to calculate the funding fee on an IRRRL, the lender completes the VA Form 26-8923. For most loans, however, the lender will be using the tables in Chapter 8, which I have included in this article. Quick note – for joint loans there are some special instructions for calculating the Funding Fee. We went over those in Chapter 7.

 

So, when the lender is calculating the Funding Fee, he or she will look a lot at your Certificate of Eligibility. The first thing they will look for is whether you are eligible for benefits because of service in the regular military or through the Reserve/Guard. For a Reservist/Guard, the COE will be buff-colored rather than green, and will have the following notation, “RESERVES/NATIONAL GUARD – INCREASED FUNDING FEE”. The second thing the lender needs to know is whether this is a first-time use of the veteran’s VA loan benefits or a subsequent use. The entitlement code on the COE tells the lender this. A “5” indicates a subsequent use. Next, the lender needs to apply what kind of loan is being taken out: new purchase, refinance, or streamline refinance. Last, the lender needs to take into account whether the veteran is making a down payment, and how much of one is being made. With that information, the lender can locate the correct percentage using the below tables.

 

For New purchase and Construction loans:

Type of Veteran Downpayment Percentage for First time Use Percentage for Subsequent use
Regular

Military

None

5% or more

10% or more

2.15%

1.50%

1.25%

3.3%

1.50%

1.25%

Reserves/National Guard None

5% or more

10% or more

2.4%

1.75%

1.5%

3.3%

1.75%

1.5%

For Cash-out Refinancing Loans:

Type of Veteran Percentage for First Time Use Percentage for Subsequent Use
Regular Military 2.15% 3.3%
Reserves/National Guard 2.4% 3.3%

Calculation VA Loan RatesAs you can see, making a down payment makes a big difference in the amount of funding fee you are charged, regardless of whether you served in the regular military or the Reserve/Guard. Considering that making a down payment also lowers your principal and saves you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan, making a down payment is the best financial decision if you are able to afford it. Even if you don’t make a down payment, the Funding Fee is very low compared to the mortgage insurance premiums you would be paying through any other loan program for paying little or no down payment.

 

Lenders must get the Funding Fee payment to the VA within 15 calendar days of loan closing. If you are paying the funding fee out-of-pocket, you’ll be asked for a cashier’s check at the time of closing. If you are paying the funding fee out of loan proceeds, your lender will explain how it will work. In the event that a refund is due to the veteran (either the veteran was exempt or was overcharged due to a miscalculation), the lender will either send you a check (if you paid the Funding Fee upfront) or apply the refund to your loan balance (if you paid it out of loan proceeds).

 

The VA Funding Fee Demystified and Explained Part 1

Deciphering the VA Lender’s Handbook Chapter 8 Part 5

 

Explaining the VA Funding FeeThis article and the one following it will both be dedicated to explaining the VA funding fee in detail so that you as a borrower will know what it is, what it’s for, why it exists, and most importantly, how and when you will pay it and what the lender’s role in facilitating that payment is. The lender is required to verify your veteran status to see whether you are exempt from the funding fee, determine what amount you are required to pay (if not exempt), collect the required fee from you at closing, send the fee to the VA in a timely manner, get a hard-copy of proof that the funding fee has been paid, and submit that proof to the VA along with the packet containing the information on the newly-closed loan. If the borrower has elected to pay the funding fee from loan proceeds, the cash will not be due from the borrower upfront, but will still be paid by the lender.

 

We’re going to go through all the steps that the lender is required to take, and talk about how they relate to you as the borrower. First is determining who is exempt from the funding fee and who is not. A general rule of thumb is that those currently receiving or eligible to receive disability compensation of at least 10% are exempt from the funding fee along with surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or due to service-connected disabilities. The Lender’s Handbook gives us the specifics:

 

• Veterans receiving VA compensation for service-connected disabilities.

• Veterans who would be entitled to receive compensation for service connected

disabilities if they did not receive retirement pay.

• Veterans who are rated by VA as eligible to receive compensation as a

result of pre-discharge disability examination and rating or on the basis of a

pre-discharge review of existing medical evidence (including service

medical and treatment records) that results in issuance of a memorandum

• Veterans entitled to receive compensation, but who are not presently in

receipt because they are on active duty.

• Surviving spouses of veterans who died in service or from service connected

disabilities (whether or not such surviving spouses are veterans

with their own entitlement and whether or not they are using their own

entitlement on the loan).

 

When a lender is working to verify whether you are exempt, they have a few options for things they can do. The lender can retrieve a completed and signed VA Form 26-8937 which indicates the borrower’s exempt status (this is the most common), or for veterans who elected retirement pay instead of VA compensation, a copy of the original VA notification of disability rating and proof of the retirement income the veteran is receiving will provide sufficient verification. For surviving spouses, the Certificate of Eligibility he or she receives will denote their status as an unmarried surviving spouse, who are exempt from the funding fee. If the lender is still unable to properly verify that the borrower is exempt after reviewing the appropriate documents, they must work directly with the VA on verification.
As a borrower, if you might be eligible for disability but have not been examined or applied for it, you can make life on yourself and your lender much easier by applying for it beforehand. Even if you decline the payments, being eligible for disability saves you thousands of dollars by exempting you from the funding fee. The lender is required to submit the documentation used to verify exempt status along with the loan packet, so be prepared to provide the lender a copy of anything they need. In cases where verification of exempt status cannot be done before loan closing, the funding fee must be charged as if the borrower was not exempt. If you are claiming exempt status but not able to verify it, the lender is required to include that information in the packet. The VA will make the final decision, and theoretically they will notify you either way. However, you should be prepared to follow-up with the VA, especially if your disability claim is still pending at the time of loan closing. You will want to contact your VA RLC to request a refund of the funding fee if they determine that you are eligible for disability compensation after-the-fact.

Seller Concessions – What’s allowed?

Deciphering the VA Lender’s Handbook Chapter 8 Part 3

 

Believe it or not, the VA puts a limit on just how generous the seller can be with handing out value to the borrower. Why? Because sellers will sometimes use excessive concessions to entice a borrower to an unfavorable mortgage or one that the borrower can’t really afford. While we all understand what seller concessions are, to clarify exactly what the VA means by ‘seller concessions’, we’ll use the following definition from the VA Lender’s Handbook: “ a seller concession is anything of value added to the transaction by the builder What gifts are there at closing.or seller for which the buyer pays nothing additional and which the seller is not customarily expected or required to pay or provide.” This definition will become important as we talk about what is allowed and what is not.

 

Common seller concessions include (but are certainly not limited to) payment of the buyer’s VA funding fee, prepayment of the buyer’s property taxes and insurance, gifts such as a television set or microwave oven, payment of extra points to provide permanent interest rate buydowns, provision of escrowed funds to provide temporary interest rate buydowns, and payoff of credit balances or judgments on behalf of the buyer. According to the VA, a seller paying the buyer’s closing costs or discount points appropriate to the market are not considered a seller concession (this is a good thing, because these things are not factored into the overall value of seller concessions).

 

As mentioned above, issues with builders or sellers offering too much in the way of concessions can cause a veteran to get into a home mortgage that they can’t actually afford; their inability to qualify for the loan can be disguised by the excessive seller concessions, which act as ‘compensating factors’ throughout the underwriting process. Since such a situation would completely defeat the purpose of the VA loan program, the VA places a limit on the overall value that seller concessions can reach. Builders and sellers can still use these concessions as a competitive tool, but for VA borrower they cannot be used to the extreme that can put an unqualified veteran into a mortgage that they cannot afford.

 

The limit that the VA places on seller concessions is very reasonable. The combined value of all the seller concessions on the loan cannot exceed 4% of the reasonable value of the property. From the VA lender’s handbook: “Any seller concession or combination of concessions which exceeds four percent of the established reasonable value of the property is considered excessive, and unacceptable for VA-guaranteed loans.” For example, if the home you are buying is valued at $200k, the builder or seller cannot offer you concessions that are worth more than $8,000. While that may seem like a small amount, you’d be surprised how far $8,000 can go towards seller concessions such as a temporary interest rate buydown or paying the VA funding fee. With the VA funding fee sitting at 2.15% for most borrowers, that leaves quite a bit of leeway for more concessions on the part of the seller should they wish to offer them.

 

This is also where the omission of paying for closing costs and normal discount points as part of seller concessions becomes really important. In the example above, $8,000 is in addition to how much the seller wanted to contribute towards the buyer’s closing costs or normal discount points. For example, right now ‘normal’ discount points could be considered two points on most mortgages. On a $200k home, those two discount points would probably be around $2,000 apiece, with closing costs for the borrower in the several-thousand dollar range as well. The seller could hit $13,000 in value to the buyer without breaking a sweat. Of course, this is just an enumeration of what the VA allows; what a seller is willing to offer is another story entirely. Find out what the seller or builder of a home is willing to offer in the way of concessions, and you might be able to get more money out of them than you originally thought, or than they originally offered. If you have any questions about seller concessions, feel free to contact us here at Low VA Rates.

FAQ; Getting Cash back on a streamline

Can I Get Cash Back at Closing of a Streamline?

 

VA streamlines, also known as Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans, or IRRRLs, are interesting beasts. They are quite different from a new purchase loan or even a cash-out refinance. The purpose of an IRRRL is to help a veteran get a lower interest rate on their existing VA loan with as little hassle as possible. Since the purpose of an IRRRL has nothing to do with getting cash back, it doesn’t have a whole lot of options for borrowers looking to get cash for something out of their mortgage. That being said, there are a few ways that you can (sort-of) get cash out as a result of your IRRRL. We’ll cover the ways that you can get cash back on an IRRRL, after we go into detail about what the IRRRL is and why it doesn’t offer a straightforward cash-out option.

Cash Back at Closing

In a normal refinance, a borrower is able to get cash out because they have a certain amount of equity in their home. A borrower is limited in how much cash they can get out by how much equity they have. In order to calculate equity, a VA appraisal needs to be done on the home. Since, in an IRRRL, a VA appraisal does not take place, the value of the home and thus the amount of equity the borrower has in the home cannot be calculated, therefore, since the lender has no way of knowing how much cash the borrower would be eligible to receive, no cash can be given to the borrower at closing. Giving the borrower cash-out on the refinance also increases the loan amount above what the borrower still owes on the home, which brings into question whether the borrower has sufficient income and reliable employment to cover the new loan. In order to determine that, income and employment verification must be done. Since the lack of a VA appraisal and income verification are two of the biggest things that make an IRRRL a “streamline” option, it would defeat the purpose of the IRRRL program to offer cash back.

 

Now, hopefully that makes sense and it is clear that the VA isn’t just saying ‘No’ to cash-out on IRRRLs because they want to. The only ‘real’ way to get cash back on an IRRRL is to not get cash back from the IRRRL itself, but to get an EEM (Energy Efficiency Mortgage) on top of the new loan. You can get an EEM with your IRRRL without complicating the process too much, and an EEM can be made for as much as $6,000. The catch? An EEM can only be used for making energy-efficient improvements to the home that is securing the new loan. The second catch? The VA itself (and most lenders) demands very detailed information on the improvements being made. You will need to get quotes from professionals, price out materials at a home improvement store, and come up with a fairly precise estimate of how much money you need to make the improvements. The changes will need to be analyzed (your lender can help with this) and projected savings on monthly utility bills need to be calculated. If the improvements aren’t going to save more money than they cost within a reasonable time frame, they will not be approved.

 

Money Back From EscrowThere are two other ways you could possibly end up with cash in your pocket at the end of an IRRRL: you might get a small refund for any amounts for which you were overcharged due to a miscalculation or error in the loan process. The VA limits this amount to $500 (if a lender makes more than $500 worth of errors, you may want to consider switching lenders). The other way is a possible refund of your existing escrow balance from the old loan. The only way this amounts to actual cash back is if the balance in your existing escrow was higher than it needed to be (you were paying slightly more into the escrow account than was actually needed to pay insurance and property taxes).

 

So getting cash back on an IRRRL is only an option if you want to get an EEM and make energy-efficient improvements to your house, and it’s a lot of homework to get that.

 

Fees and Charges the Veteran-Borrower Cannot Pay

Deciphering the VA Lender’s Handbook Chapter 8 Part 2

 

This article is best read in conjunction with the Chapter 8 Part 1 article, which covers the fees and charges that a veteran-borrower can pay. You’ll remember from that article that the lender is permitted to charge a flat Origination fee of 1% of the loan amount that is intended to cover the large majority of fees that the lender themselves would normally charge. Nearly every other charge aside from the origination fee that the borrower can be charged is one that comes indirectly from a third party. For example, the credit-reporting agency charges the lender for a credit report. The amount the lender paid is then charged to the borrower at closing to reimburse the lender for the expense. Those types of charges are generally the only ones that can be charged in addition to the 1% origination fee.

 

Charges the Borrower Can't PayThe first fees that need be mentioned here are attorney’s fees. The lender is not permitted to charge the borrower for any attorney’s fees. Title examination work and title insurance are exempt from this and can be charged to the borrower, but other attorney’s fees are not able to be put on the borrower. Keep in mind that this does not bar the veteran-borrower to seek legal representation and pay for it themselves. The VA Lender’s Handbook says it quite clearly, “…the veteran can independently retain an attorney and pay a fee for legal services in connection with the purchase of a home. Closing documents should clearly indicate that the attorney’s fee is not being charged by the lender, but is being paid by the veteran as part of an independent arrangement with an attorney.”

 

Another thing that borrowers are not allowed to be charged by lenders for are brokerage fees. To be clear, fees or commissions charged by a real estate agent or broker in regards to the VA loan the borrower is getting can not be paid for by the veteran-borrower. To be frank, the VA considers paying for a real estate agent or broker to be an unnecessary expense, since information on residential property is so widely available through a variety of channels. The VA does not necessarily prohibit veteran-borrowers from using a real estate agent, but the seller would have to be willing to cover the cost of both their real estate agent and the borrower’s agent. Since this is far from a guaranteed scenario, many VA borrowers look for homes on their own and work with a VA-approved lender on getting the paperwork taken care of. Most VA-approved lenders are very used to VA-borrowers not having agents and are great at helping out the borrower with any questions they have.

 

A veteran is also not allowed to pay prepayment penalties, whether on a loan that they are refinancing or on a lien on the seller’s property. Prepayment penalties are nasty beasts, and not allowing veterans to pay them on VA loans is a thumbs-up to the VA. Honestly, even on conventional loans, there are enough lenders out there that do not have prepayment penalties that you should have no problem avoiding them. Sometimes the seller of a home may have a prepayment penalty, but for a VA borrower, the seller will not be able to push it off onto them. In some cases, this may make the seller reluctant to sell to the veteran, but this isn’t usually too much of an issue.

 

The last fee that we’ll cover applies exclusively to construction loans. Borrowers are not allowed to pay for the HUD/FHA inspection fees. The VA Lender’s Handbook explains it this way: “In proposed construction cases in which the dwelling was constructed under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) supervision, the cost of any inspections or re-inspections must be borne by the builder or sponsor and are not chargeable to the veteran-purchaser. This includes:

 

• re-inspections by VA or HUD of onsite or offsite work for which an escrow

agreement was established, and

• any additional re-inspections deemed necessary by VA to assure conformity

with VA regulations.

 

Since most lenders are not currently offering VA construction loans, this is unlikely to come up, but if a VA-approved lender tries to charge you any of the things we’ve discussed in this article, that should be a major red flag and you should definitely seek to understand what is going on. You may want to seek a different lender.

 

As a Borrower, These Are Fees You Shouldn’t Be Asked to Pay

Yes, I know that sounds weird, but there are actually fees that as a borrower you aren’t responsible for. While the borrower certainly has fees he or she is obligated to pay, there are some that the VA does not allow the borrower to pay for. Be prepared to pay for closing costs and insurance, but you should definitely be raising eyebrows if someone asks you to pay for attorney’s fees. The bank, lender, or seller cannot have you pay the fees for their legal representation. If you, the borrower, choose to have an attorney with you, that is, of course, your prerogative and you are responsible for your attorney’s fees.

Another fee that you as a VA borrower are not allowed to be charged is the commission for a real estate agent. The agent is not allowed to charge you for their commission or add on any other charge that serves the purpose of a commission but is under a different name. The VA has plenty of rules that pretty comprehensively cover any sort of loophole that a real estate agent may try to find to charge some sort of commission. It is fine for a buyer to enlist the services of a “buyer broker” in searching for a home, but the brokerage fees and any commissions cannot be paid by the buyer. While it may be difficult to find a home where the seller is willing to cover the brokerage fees and commissions, the VA maintains that information about homes up for sale is public and easily attainable without a buyer broker, so being forbidden to pay brokerage fees and commissions won’t hamper your ability to find a home that suits your needs.

The VA will also prohibit the borrower from paying other fees. If the property to be purchased was built “under the supervision” of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), then the VA borrower is not allowed to pay for the inspection or re-inspection fees of the property. If the property needs to be inspected or re-inspected, it is the builder or sponsor’s responsibility to cover the costs of the inspection. In addition, the VA borrower is not allowed to pay any penalty costs that have to do with liens that are currently on the property. Those penalties are not the responsibility of the buyer when the VA borrower purchases the property.

For the borrower, military.com has a handy acronym to help you remember what costs you’re allowed to pay: ACTORS. A VA borrower is allowed to pay for the Appraisal fees, the cost of the Credit report, the Title insurance cost, the Origination Fee, the Recording fee, and the cost of the Survey. The appraisal fees are all of the costs associated with the official VA appraisal, which is different from an inspection, and has a different purpose. Paying to get a credit report is also the responsibility of the buyer and is something you should expect. Being required to pay for title insurance blindsides some people, especially since title insurance provides no real benefit to the buyer – only to the lender. But it is considered part of the cost of getting a mortgage. The origination fee is a fee charged by the lender to cover the cost of processing the loan. The recording fee is charged by the county clerk to record documents in the public record. It is not something the lender has much control of. Up the alley with the VA appraisal, as a borrower you may also be required to pay for a survey of the property.

With those covered, back to the good news – what the borrower doesn’t have to pay for. We’ve already mentioned that the buyer is not responsible for attorney fees, but the borrower is also not obligated to pay any underwriting fees. The veteran also cannot pay for escrow fees or charges, any processing fees, any document fees, or tax service fees. The question comes, then, if the borrower is not paying these fees, then who is? Well, it depends on which fee, and the circumstances. The seller can pay the fees, an agent might pay them, or the lender might pay for some of the fees. The main takeaway from this is to make sure that you aren’t being asked to cover something that by law they are not able to ask you to cover.

What Kinds of Fees Will I Need to Pay on My VA Loan?

Broker & Real Estate Agent Fees

The VA Lender’s Handbook has guidelines for broker and agent fees. These guidelines are found in Chapter Eight, Section Three, which says, “Fees or commissions charged by a real estate agent or broker in connection with a VA loan may not be charged to or paid by the veteran-purchaser.”

VA mortgage loan guidelines also state “While use of ‘buyer’ brokers is not precluded, veteran-purchasers may not, under any circumstances, be charged a brokerage fee or commission in connection with the services of such individuals. Since information on property available for purchase and financing options is widely available to the public from a variety of sources, VA does not believe that preventing the veteran from paying buyer-broker fees will harm the veteran.”

Similarly, a lender cannot charge a borrower for the lender’s attorney fees. A borrower may pay for and retain his own legal counsel, but the bank’s legal fees are not the applicant’s responsibility according to the VA Lender’s Handbook:

“VA does not intend to prevent the veteran from seeking independent legal representation. Therefore, the veteran can independently retain an attorney and pay a fee for legal services in connection with the purchase of a home. Closing documents should clearly indicate that the attorney’s fee is not being charged by the lender, but is being paid by the veteran as part of an independent arrangement with an attorney. ”

The Funding Fee

The general VA policy is that each veteran must pay a funding fee at closing to cover VA’s cost of administering the veterans mortgage loan program. Congress has oversight to change the funding fee rates to reflect changes in administrative costs, or to assist a certain class of veterans (more on that in little later). You can roll the funding fee into the VA home loan or pay it up front.

The funding fee is a percentage of the loan amount. It varies based on your loan type, your military category, whether you are a first-time or subsequent loan user, and if you make a down payment. National Guardsmen, Reserve veterans, and second-time VA loan users who do not make a down payment pay a slightly higher funding fee percentage.

You do not have to pay the funding fee if you are a veteran:

  • Receiving VA compensation for service-connected disabilities.
  • Entitled to receive compensation for service-connected disabilities if you did not receive retirement pay.
  • Rated by VA as eligible to receive compensation by pre-discharge disability examination.
  • Entitled to receive compensation but not presently in receipt because you are on active duty.
  • Spouse of a veteran AND the veteran died in service or from service-connected disabilities (whether or not such surviving spouses are veterans with their own entitlement and whether or not they are using their own entitlement on the loan).

Other Fees

When working with a lender for a VA loan, be aware that the lender charges interest, closing fees, and other fees. Different lenders have different policies, fees, and expenses. You should shop around carefully to be sure you select a lender that is giving you the best possible deal.

Here are some general rules:

  • The VA DOES NOT set the interest rate, discount points, and closing costs. These rates may vary from lender to lender
  • Closing costs (VA appraisal, credit report, state and local taxes, and recording fees) may be paid by the purchaser, the seller, or shared.
  • The seller can pay some closing costs. (Seller’s “concessions” can’t exceed 4% of the loan.) Payment of discount points is not subject to the 4% limit.
  • Buyer cannot pay for a termite report unless the loan is a refinance.
  • No commissions, brokerage fees, or “buyer broker” fees may be charged to the veteran buyer.
  • The lender is responsible to verify and handle all aspects of the VA funding fee.

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