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How Many Times Can You Use the VA Home Loan?
Six Minute Read
Written by Ed Andrews III on July 29th, 2020
So how many times can you use the VA home loan?

The short answer is infinity. The better question is, how do you go about reusing the program?

So the most annoying thing I hear some of my fellow veterans say is, “I’m saving my VA loan”. What the hell are you saving it for? It’s like trying to conserve oxygen. There’s no need, it’s always there when you need it.

In order to reuse your VA home loan benefit, you merely need to just payoff your existing loan and sell the property. That will restore your entitlement (more on entitlement later). The other two options are to assign your loan to a qualifying veteran (which is far more difficult to accomplish today), or have enough leftover entitlement to purchase another property.

It’s probably best that we unpack how and why the benefit works, to help you understand how you go about coming back for another helping.

VA loans are made possible because the federal government guarantees 25%. When people use other types of mortgages to buy homes ideally the bank wants them to put 20% down. The reason for this is to insulate the lender from risk if the homeowner were to stop paying the mortgage, and the bank was forced to foreclose on the property.

The foreclosure process can actually costs banks money. There’s attorney fees, lost earnings from interest payments that are unpaid, and it’s not uncommon for angry homeowners to damage properties in the process of being forced to leave them. The mortgage company then must hire an asset management company to help them find a real estate agent to list the property and get it sold to someone else.

So you can see how if the lender put up 100% of the money for the buyer to purchase the home, and the buyer defaulted on the mortgage shortly after; the mortgage company could lose tens of thousands of dollars in the transaction.

Hence the desire for homeowners to put 20% down to buy a home. That way even if the bank has to absorb the costs of foreclosing and selling the property, they should still be able to recuperate their investment.

When people don’t have enough money to put 20% down, they are required to pay private mortgage insurance. You may have even heard the acronym “PMI” thrown around. This stands for “private mortgage insurance”. This is an insurance that the lender can file a claim against if they have to foreclose on a home where the homeowner originally put down less than 20% in down payment.

PMI helps lenders recuperate some of the costs of foreclosure and subsequent sale of a property, so they don’t lose money on the transaction. This insurance is purely for the benefit of the lender, but the homeowner pays for the monthly premium as it’s added to their mortgage payment every month (there’s other ways to pay PMI, but that’s not important here).  

VA Loans Don't Require a Down Payment or PMI

Hence the beauty of the VA home loan for us veterans. We don’t have to put anything down, because the VA guarantees 25% of the loan. Which to the bank that’s even better than putting 20% down. In addition, because they are insulated from risk by the VA’s guarantee; they don’t require us to pay mortgage insurance.

As long as you have full entitlement, there’s no limit to how much house you can buy with a VA loan. However, if you don’t have full entitlement there’s limitations to how much loan the VA will guarantee.  

Years ago $144,000 was considered adequate amount for a veteran to buy a home. Therefore every veterans “entitlement” was set at $36,000 (25% of $144,000). Entitlement is the term for the amount of a loan the VA will guarantee on our behalf. 

However, over the years that purchase price of $144,000 has long since proved to be inadequate. Thus we’ve all been extended “bonus eligibility”. The amount of this eligibility changes each year. But it’s not hard to keep track of.

The most commonly used loan product in the country is the conventional mortgage loan (sometimes referred to as “Fannie Mae” or “Freddie Mac” loans).These two organizations set the maximum loan limits for conventional loans. They generally increase this every year, as the cost of homes will typically increase. This amount is referred to as the conforming loan limit.

As of 2021, the conforming loan limit is $548,250 (this is larger in more expensive pockets of the US, and for multi-family properties). The VA merely adopts what the conforming limit is each year. If we are currently using some of our entitlement, our bonus entitlement is equal to whatever it would take to guarantee a loan equal to that of the conforming loan limit.


• Conforming Loan Limit: $548,250 
• Amount Needed to Guarantee 25%: $137,062.50 ($548,250 x .25)
• Veteran Standard Entitlement: $36,000
• Veteran Bonus Entitlement for 2021: $101,062.50 ($137,062.50 - $36,000)

*bonus entitlement is only limited if the veteran is currently using a portion of their entitlement towards another property

But what if I don’t have enough entitlement remaining to cover 25% of the price of the home I want to buy? Easy….you just have to put down what the VA won’t guarantee.


• Entitlement Currently Being Used: $36,000 
• Conforming Loan Limit: $548,250
• Purchase Price: $650,000
• Amount Needed to Guarantee 25%: $162,500 ($650,000 x .25)
• Total Remaining Entitlement: $101,062.50
• Down Payment Required: $61,437.50 ($162,500 - $101,062.50)

It’s really that simple. VA does not care how many times you use the loan benefit. You can get a VA loan as long as you have entitlement. Whenever you have a VA loan, that means you are using a portion of your entitlement (if not all of it).

To restore the entitlement you’ve used, you must do one of the following:

1. Payoff the loan and Apply for a one-time restore of eligibility (stipulations will apply) 
2. Sell the house (thus paying of the loan through the sale of the property)
3. Assign the loan to another veteran. This is when your loan is transferred to another qualifying veteran and it now consumes his/her entitlement instead of yours. This is far less common, and much more difficult to do these days.

So this leads to the next obvious question I get all the time. “Ed, I’m only using a small portion of my entitlement. I have plenty left over. So can I get another VA home loan, and keep my existing home?”

Be sure to watch my video, “Can I have two VA loans at the same time”, and I’ll answer that question and unpack all the details.
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VA Loans With Ed was created by a veteran for veterans. This is the premier source for veterans to learn everything they need to know about the VA loan, and get the most out of the benefit they earned.

About the Author:
Ed Andrews III

Ed Andrews III is a mortgage loan officer, and U.S. veteran of the Iraq & Afghanistan Wars. He is an expert on VA home loans, and dedicated to helping veterans achieve home-ownership.
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