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.

VA Funding Fees…what briefly goes down, must quickly come back up.

Well the lower funding fees we thought we had were officially taken away when the President signed HR 674 raising the funding fees effective for VA loans closed November 22, 2011 through September 30, 2016.  The following is per Circular 26-11-19.

VA Funding Fees for Veterans 

First Time Use

Downpayment:

  • Less than 5%*:  2.15%
  • 5% but less than 10%:  1.50%
  • 10% or more:  1.25%    

Second and Subsequent Use

Downpayment:

  • Less than 5%*:  3.30%
  • 5% but less than 10%:  1.50%
  • 10% or more:  1.25%

VA Funding Fees for Reservist/National Guard 

First Time Use

Downpayment:

  • Less than 5%*:  2.40%
  • 5% but less than 10%:  1.75%
  • 10% or more:  1.50%    

Second and Subsequent Use

Downpayment:

  • Less than 5%*:  3.30%
  • 5% but less than 10%:  1.75%
  • 10% or more:  1.50%

Interest Rate Reductions (IRRL) are remaining at 0.50%.

I am happy to help you with your VA loan for your home located anywhere in Washington State.  A heartfelt thank you to those who have served our country.

Refinancing Your Seattle Area “High Balance” Mortgage Over $506,000

If you obtained a high balance mortgage over the current limit ($506,000 in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties) and missed the opportunity to refinance before the loan amounts were reduced, you may still have some options worth checking out. Especially with Fannie Mae hinting that loan limits may be reduced further in just a few months, effective January 1, 2012. FHA loan limits may be further reduced in 2012 as well. We typically learn what 2012 limits will be in November.  The gap between yesterday's higher loan limits and conforming/FHA loan limits may actually widen in a few months making most of these scenarios tougher to obtain in 2012.

Conventional Financing

Consider a Jumbo/Non-Conforming Mortgage. Fixed rates or adjustable rate mortgages may be worth your consideration depending on your financial plans. Non-conforming mortgages are for well qualified borrowers and require a minimum credit score of 720 and a maximum loan to value of 80%. Loan amounts of $506,001 and higher are now considered a jumbo in King County as well as Snohomish and Pierce.

Cash In Refinance. Not happy with how your investments are doing in the stock market? Some home owners are electing to use their savings or investments in to bring their principal balance down to the conforming loan limit.

Piggy Back Second Mortgage.  We currently are able to go up to 85% of the appraised value with a second mortgage.  The loan amounts can be structured to keep the first mortgage at 80% of the loan to value and/or at the county high balance conforming limit. Home owners need to be well qualified with credit scores of 720 or higher.  HELOCs and amortized fixed rates are available.

FHA Loans. If your existing mortgage is an FHA loan, you may be in luck. Although FHA loan limits were reduced on October 1, they are allowing streamline refinances of the former temporary higher loan limits.  UPDATE: FHA LOAN LIMITS FROM NOV 18, 2011 – DECEMBER 2012 ARE $567,500 IN KING, PIERCE AND SNOHOMISH COUNTY.

VA Mortgage Loans. Unlike conforming and FHA loans, VA elected to not reduce their loan limits (technically the guarantee) for the remainder of 2011.  

With mortgage rates at a historic lows, it may be worth your time to contact a licensed mortgage originator to review your options. Whether or not you should refinance depends on your personal goals and financial scenario.  If your home is located anywhere in Washington, I'm happy to provide you detailed written rate quotes with no obligation.

How much can Sellers contribute towards Closing Cost?

If negotiated in your purchase and sales agreement, a Seller may agree to chip in towards some or all of your bona fide closing costs, prepaids and reserves.  They cannot contribute towards your down payment.  The amount the seller can contribute varies depending on the program type and the amount of home buyer’s down payment. The percentage is based on the sales price and if the credit exceeds the closing cost, the mortgage originator can often use it towards discount points to buy down the interest rate.

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