One of the most common questions VA loan officers hear is, “Can I get a VA loan with my girlfriend (or boyfriend)?” And the unsatisfying answer is “it depends.”
VA loans come with lots of benefits, including 0% down payment options and the ability to purchase multi-family residential buildings with up to four units (as long as you personally reside in one of the units). But these benefits are reserved for qualified military service members, veterans, and their spouses. If you’re not legally married, your partner doesn’t qualify for your VA benefits. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t buy a home together. It just means you may need to think outside the box to make VA loan requirements work for you.
So let’s take a deeper look and explain the answer to the question, “Can an unmarried couple get a VA Loan?”
What is a VA loan?
First things first: we need to know what a VA loan is. A VA loan is a qualified mortgage backed by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. This means the federal government is guaranteeing your loan, which allows lenders to offer more favorable terms (like low interest rates and low-to-no down payments).
But the VA won’t guarantee a loan for just anyone. They reserve these loans for military service members, veterans, and their spouses, based on strict VA loan requirements.
So how can you get a VA loan with your partner if you’re not married?
VA Loan Options for Unmarried Couples
Let’s consider a few options for unmarried couples who want to use the VA loan program.
Option 1: If You’re Both Military, You Can Get a Joint VA Loan
If both parties qualify for VA loan benefits, the process is similar to getting a VA loan as spouses. Your combined income would be used to ensure that you can cover all your existing debts plus this new mortgage. And both your credit scores would be factors in determining the interest rate you could get.
Option 2: You Can Be the Sole Borrower
If you qualify for a VA loan on your own, you can be the sole borrower on the mortgage. This means you would be fully responsible for making prompt mortgage payments. Any payment default would negatively affect you, but not your partner.
While it’s legally possible to have a partner listed on the deed even if they are not listed on the mortgage, most lenders won’t allow this because they do not want your partner to have an ownership claim without also having to share in the mortgage debt responsibility.
Option 3: Your Partner Can Be a Co-Borrower (With Lender Approval)
You can purchase a home with a non-military boyfriend or girlfriend, but the VA will only secure the portion of the mortgage belonging to the qualified military member or vet (typically 50%). This means that the non-military boyfriend or girlfriend would need to come up with a down payment to cover their half of the purchase.
Where to Get Help with VA Loans
VA loans offer exceptional benefits, but they can be difficult to navigate, particularly if you’re looking to qualify for a mortgage as an unmarried couple. At OVM Financial, we have experience with creative financing solutions, and we’re happy to discuss your options with you and help you find the best solution for your unique situation.
You can contact us at 757-296-2148 with any VA loan questions. And when you’re ready to apply for a mortgage, you can start your loan application online.
If you’d like to continue learning more about VA loans, check out this post that explains what makes a VA loan a qualified mortgage.