2014 VA Loan Limits for Washington State

2014 VA loan guarantee limits for Washington State have been released.  VA loans do not have “limits” like conforming or FHA loans. They do have limits as to the amount VA loans will guarantee. The loan amounts below reflect what VA will lend up to 100% loan to value. Loan amounts above the limits below have reduced down payments for Veterans who qualify for this benefit.

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VA Loans are a benefit our Veterans have earned

VA loans offer eligible Veterans very competitive financing with little to no down payment. Veterans who have served a specific amount of time may earn of Certificate of Eligibility which allows them to apply for a VA mortgage loan.

In the Seattle – King County area, the VA “loan limit” is currently $500,000. I have quotes around “loan limit” because technically VA does not have loan limits – this is the limit to the amount VA will lend up to 100% loan to value ie a VA home buyer can buy a $500,000 home with zero down payment.

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Reader Question: Can Closing Cost be financed with a VA Loan?

I received this email from one of our subscribers:

 ”…with a VA mortgage,  can you finance buyer closing costs in excess of the purchase price (e.g. not ask for seller financing contributions, but just borrow them in excess of the purchase price)”

With a VA mortgage, the buyers closing cost cannot be financed, with exception to the VA funding fee, regardless of the appraised value.

The VA loan amount is limited to the purchase price, appraised value or VA county loan limit (or VA jumbo loan amount)*, whichever is less.

*NOTE: VA does not set actual loan limits on counties. They do set a limit as to their maximum guarantee (meaning zero down financing). In the greater Seattle/King-County area, the loan limit for zero down financing is currently $500,000. Click here for a complete list of VA loan amounts per county.  VA loan amounts exceeding $500,000 in the Seattle/King County area are considered VA Jumbos and will require some down payment depending on the difference between the sales price and county loan limit. 

USDA loans, on the other hand, will allow for buyers closing cost to be financed IF the appraised value is higher than the sales price. The loan amount is limited to the appraised value and must be applied to bona fide closing cost.

USDA loans are also zero down programs and are only eligible in specific designated rural areas, like Snoqualmie, Carnation or Duvall, and to borrowers who meet certain household income limits. 

Sellers can contribute towards closing cost for both of these mortgage programs and currently, low mortgage rates are often paired with enough rebate pricing to cover a majority of the closing cost.

Thanks for your question!

How much home do I qualify for with a $70,000 down payment?

I’m working with a couple in Seattle who would like to buy a home. They have excellent credit (scores of 740 or higher) and are planning on using $70,000 for their down payment and closing cost. They want to know how much home they can buy based on their down payment.

The following rate quotes are effective as of January 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm. Rates change constantly, for your personal rate quote for a home located in Washington state, click here.

Conforming High Balance allows them to buy a home priced at $576,000.

The conforming loan limit in Seattle/King-County is currently $506,000. Using a conventional mortgage, they could buy a home priced at $576,000. 

Current mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed conforming high balance ($417,001 – $506,000) based on this scenario is 3.750% (apr 4.094).  

3.750% is priced as close to “par” as possible meaning there is as little rebate credit or discount points priced with the interest rate. We could adjust the rate slightly higher to create more rebate credit to help pay for closing cost or we could reduce the rate by paying more in discount points. 

The loan to value based on a sales price of $576,000 and loan amount of $506,000 is 87.874% which means the Seattle home buyers will have private mortgage insurance (pmi). For this client, we’re opting to include the pmi in their mortgage payment instead of paying it as an upfront additional closing cost or doing “split premium” mortgage insurance.  

The principal and interest payment is $2,343.36 plus private mortgage insurance of $282.52 gives us a “PIMI” payment of $2,625.88. Property taxes and home owners insurance are additional.

The Seattle home buyers will negotiate the seller paying for remaining closing cost and prepaids/reserves estimated at $7900, leaving their amount due at closing very close to $70,000.  If the sellers opt to not pay for closing cost and prepaids, the buyers can use rebate pricing (slightly increasing the mortgage rate) to offset the cost.

FHA allows them to buy a home priced up to $637,500.

FHA mortgages in the Seattle/King County area have a loan limit of $567,500. With a down payment of $70,000 they could buy a home priced up to $637,500. The big difference between FHA and conventional financing is the mortgage insurance. FHA has both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance. 

The current mortgage rate I’m quoting for their FHA scenario is 3.375% (apr 4.059%).

This rate is priced with a little more rebate to help reduce closing cost. If the Seattle home buyers want a lower rate with less rebate credit, they certainly can opt for that. Mortgage rates are not locked until we have a bona fide contract and the rates will be “floating” while they shop for a home.

The principal and interest on this rate and loan amount is $2,552.80 with mortgage insurance at $562.43 providing a PIMI payment of $3,115.23. Property taxes and home owners insurance are additional.

After the rebate credit, if the buyers negotiate the seller paying the remaining balance of their closing cost, prepaids and reserves in the amount of $4,000, the buyers will need around $70,000 for funds due at closing.

VA loans allow them to purchase up to $780,000 with a “VA Jumbo” loan.

The VA zero down loan limit in Seattle is $500,000. When a loan amount exceeds the limit, eligible Veterans can have a down payment based 25% off the difference between the sales price and loan amount.  

For example, a sales price of $780,000 less $500,000 loan limit = $280,000. $280,000 x 25% = $70,000 down payment.

The current rate I’m quoting for this VA Jumbo 30 year fixed loan is 3.250% (apr 3.379).

The principal and interest payment on this loan is $3,136.31. There is no mortgage insurance on a VA loan. Property taxes and home owners insurance are additional. 

If the seller pays for $4500 of the Veteran’s closing cost and prepaids, then the amount due at closing will be around $70,000.

USDA loans are not eligible in the Seattle area because it’s not a rural area.

If you are interested in buying a refinancing a home located anywhere in Washington state, I’m happy to help you. I’ve been originating residential mortgages at Mortgage Master Service Corporation since April 2000. 

Reader Question: Do I Qualify for a VA Loan?

I received this question on a comment and thought I’d share my response via a post.

Happy New Year,
I am contemplating a return to the Tri Cities and would like to utilize my VA 0 down loan in the amount of $250,000 or less. My income is based of a civil service pension, social security and VA disability.  The total gross amount I currently receive is $4,400 monthly.   Am i going to be able to qualify for the VA  (or any other)loan?

Thanks in advance,
Greg

VA’s standard guidelines allow for a debt to income ratio of 41%.  This means that Greg’s total monthly mortgage payment and monthly debts should not exceed 41%. 

41% of $4400 is $1804. VA guidelines would probably allow $1804 for total proposed mortgage payment and monthly debts.

The current mortgage payment for a $250,000 zero down VA purchase would be roughly $1422 (including taxes estimated at $260.50 and insurance at $50 per month).  

This is based on rates as of 3:00 pm on January 3, 2012 of 3.250% (apr 3.430) for a 30 year fixed VA loan based on credit scores of 720 or higher. 

The proposed mortgage payment of $1422 less the $1804 allowed monthly debt (for the 41% debt to income ratio) leaves around $382 per month for other possible monthly debts (car loans, student loans,  credit cards, child support, etc.).

So if Greg has less than $382 per month in other debts, he would qualify for a $250,000 home (also assuming taxes and insurance are around what I’ve estimated).

BUT WAIT… there’s more…

If Greg’s social security income may be able to be grossed up by 15%, which would allow him to have a little more “wiggle room” with the amount of monthly debt.

In addition, if he is a disabled veteran, he may qualify to be exempt from the VA funding fee which would  also reduce his payment by about $23.00 (apr 3.261).  This would allow for $400 in monthly debt (not including if the social security income is able to be grossed up) with Greg qualifying for a $250,000 home in the Tri Cities.

If you are interested in applying for a VA, FHA or conventional loan for a home anywhere in Washington state, please click here.

2013 VA Loan Limits for homes in Washington State

VA has published the loan limits for 2013.  The loan limits listed below are not the maximum loan amounts that an eligible veteran may borrower; the loan amounts below are used to calculate the VA’s maximum guaranty amount in a specific county.  

King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties went up a little while San Juan County was adjusted slightly lower. VA loan limits are based on the county’s median home values as estimated by FHA (Federal Housing Adminstration).


King County: $500,000

Pierce County: $500,000

San Juan County: $468,750

Snohomish County: $500,000

All other counties remain at $417,000

This means that in King County, a qualified Veteran can finance a home with zero down with a sales price up to $500,000.   

Any sales price/loan amount above this amount is considered a “VA Jumbo”.  VA does not have a loan limit for VA jumbos, however most lenders have “overlays” limiting loan amounts for VA Jumbos.  VA Jumbos allow the Vet to buy a home with reduced down payment. A simple formula to estimate the minimum down payment required is sales price minus loan amount x 25% = minimum down payment.

For example, home in Seattle with a sales price of $600,000 would have a down payment requirement of $25,000 for an eligible veteran.  $600,000 sales price less the $500,000 loan limit = $100,000. $100,000 x 25% = $25,000.

If you’re considering a VA mortgage loan to buy or refinance a home located anywhere in Washington state, I’m honored to help you.

Related post on VA Funding Fees

VA Loan Limits from August 6, 2012 to December 31, 2012

VA has issued Circular 26-12-7 increasing loan limits for VA loans closed through the end of the year in the following Washington state counties:

King, Pierce and Snohomish: $498,750

San Juan: $470,000

All other counties remain at $417,000

This means that in King County, a qualified Veteran can finance a home with zero down with a sales price up to $498,750.  With that said, some lenders are still reviewing this recent change and are evaluating whether or not they will recognize the new increase or keep loan limits are their current level. 

Any sales price/loan amount above this amount is considered a “VA Jumbo”.  VA does not have a loan limit for VA jumbos, however most lenders have “overlays” limiting loan amounts for VA Jumbos.  VA Jumbos allow the Vet to buy a home with reduced down payment. A simple formula to estimate the minimum down payment required is sales price minus loan amount x 25% = minimum down payment.

Right now, as of publishing this post, I’m quoting 3.375% for a sales price of $400,000 (apr 3.557) with zero down payment. The seller can pay closing cost and prepaids up to 4% of the sales price. There is no mortgage insurance, however VA loans do have a funding fee which can be financed.

If you are selling a home, please consider buyers who are preapproved for VA financing. It’s a great program benefiting those who have served our country.

Where will mortgage rates be in December?

I recently met with a couple who are getting ready to buy their first home. I love that they are meeting with me several months in advance to work on their preapproval and address any questions or concerns they may have.  They qualify to use VA financing and are considering a home priced around $400,000 and will do zero down payment.

Right now, mortgage rates are very low. With credit scores over 720, I’m quoting a rate of 3.250% (apr 3.437) for a VA 30 year fixed mortgage which has a principal and interest payment of $1778.25.

Since their plans are to close in December after their current lease is up, they asked me if I had any idea where rates will be. Honestly, it’s not an easy question to answer. Rates have low for such a long period of time that it’s mind boggling. Between now and December, we will have our Presidential election – it’s hard to say how that may impact mortgage rates. Another factor to watch for is inflation, which will drive mortgage rates higher. The economy’s recovery will also impact mortgage rates.

It’s anticipated that mortgage rates will remain low for a while. In my opinion, “low” mortgage rates is under 5%. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to rule out rates at 4 or 4.5% by December. Higher mortgage rates could be a result of an improving economy.

Let’s assume rates for this scenario trend to 4.000%. The principal and interest payment increases $172 to $1950.72. If the borrower is limited to the $1778.25 payment and rates are 4.000%, it reduces their buying power by $36,000 to a sales price of $364,000 (assuming VA zero down scenario).  

Housing prices could go either way as well. We are already experiencing bidding wars in the greater Seattle area for non-distressed homes. 

There is no way to truly predict where rates will be months from now or what housing inventory will be available. We do know that mortgage rates are extremely low now. 

If you’re interested in getting preapproved to buy a home located anywhere in Washington state, please contact me.