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  3. VA Loan Calculator

va loan calculator

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How to use Credit Karma’s mortgage calculator for a VA loan

If you’re in the market for a new home, Credit Karma’s VA mortgage calculator can help you estimate your monthly mortgage payments. Below is a list of the information you must provide to get an estimate.

Keep in mind these may not be all the costs you have to pay when buying a home. You may be responsible for additional expenses, including discount points, origination and lender fees, and closing costs for things like appraisals and title insurance.

Purchase price of the home

If you already know the purchase price of the home you want to buy, enter it. To get an accurate estimate of your monthly payment, you’ll need to have either the purchase price of the home or an idea of the amount you’ll pay for your desired house.

Down payment

Enter the down payment you plan to make as a dollar amount. Unlike some other government-backed home loans such as FHA mortgages, VA loans don’t require a down payment in most cases. But making a down payment may help you qualify for a lower interest rate and reduce your VA loan funding fee.

Desired loan amount

Enter the amount of money you want to borrow. This field will populate when you enter the cost of the home you want to buy and your down payment amount, and the calculator will automatically fill in the loan amount for you.

Estimated interest rate

Your interest rate is the cost you pay for borrowing money. It’s different from an annual percentage rate, which includes your interest rate plus fees and other charges.

Lenders consider multiple factors when determining your rate, including your credit scores, loan amount, down payment, home price, location and the duration of the loan. Typically, the higher your credit scores, the lower your rate.

Loan term

The loan term, or the life of the loan, is how long you have to repay the money you borrow. Loans with shorter terms typically have higher monthly payments but lower interest rates. You can get a lower monthly payment with a longer term, but you’ll generally pay more in interest over the life of the loan.

Military type

Service members currently on active duty, veterans, retirees, National Guard and Reserve members and certain qualifying surviving spouses of deceased veterans may be eligible for a VA loan. Choose the category that accurately describes you.

What is your VA eligibility type?

If you buy a home using a VA loan, you may be required to pay a VA loan funding fee. If you receive, or are eligible to receive VA compensation for a service-related disability, you’re exempt from paying this funding fee, which could save you thousands of dollars. For example, some individuals receiving VA disability income for a service-related disability are exempt from paying the VA funding fee. See this page on the VA website for details.

Have you used a VA loan before?

Your VA loan funding fee for first-time use of the VA loan benefit is lower than for those who’ve had a VA mortgage in the past. If you make a down payment, you could pay a lower funding fee than those who do not.

Do you plan to pay the VA funding fee upfront or roll it into your loan payments?

Borrowers can either pay the VA funding fee upfront or finance it, which means it will be rolled into your monthly VA loan payments and accrue interest. If you’re exempt from the VA funding fee, select “Exempt from funding fee.”

Property tax amount (annually)

When you buy a home, you have to pay taxes on the property each year. You can often find tax information in a house’s for-sale listing, or you can check with the county tax assessor’s office. Enter the approximate annual dollar amount in this field.

Homeowner’s insurance amount (annually)

Homeowner’s insurance can help pay for repair or rebuilding costs if your home is damaged by a covered event, and lenders generally require it if you have a mortgage. Homeowners insurance costs around $1,250 a year on average, according to 2018 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. But the cost of insurance depends on a variety of factors. Enter the approximate amount of the annual premium.

HOA fees (monthly)

If you buy a condo, co-op or house that’s part of a homeowner’s association, you’ll typically need to pay condo or HOA fees. HOAs make rules governing the appearance of the properties the association oversees. HOAs also maintain common areas in the development. Usually, HOA fees are paid directly to your homeowner’s association. But some loan servicers may be willing to include them in your monthly mortgage payment.

How much VA loan mortgage payment can I afford?

The amount you can afford to pay for your mortgage each month depends on factors such as your income and monthly expenses. You’ll find some lenders that recommend your monthly mortgage payment (including taxes and insurance) make up no more than 28% of your gross income.

For example, let’s say you want to purchase a home that costs $210,000, and you have a $10,000 down payment. You need a $200,000 VA mortgage with a 30-year term, and your interest rate is 4%. On a loan of this amount, the VA Loan funding fee is approximately $4,600. If you don’t pay it upfront, you’ll need to borrow a total of $204,600.

Your monthly mortgage payment would be about $955 per month. If you don’t pay the VA Loan funding fee upfront and roll it into payments, the monthly payment would be about $977, so you need a monthly gross income of $3,489 or an annual gross income of about $41,871.

Keep in mind that the 28% rule is just a guideline. Lower interest rates can make larger loan amounts more affordable.

Before taking out a loan, evaluate your current expenses and overall financial situation to determine what amount is financially comfortable for you.

What is a VA loan amortization schedule?

An amortization schedule shows how your loan balance changes over time. When a loan is amortized, part of the payment is applied to the interest and part is applied to the principal every month.

At the beginning of a loan term, most of the payment is applied to the interest you owe. Over time more of the payment is applied to the principal. Making principal-only payments (in addition to your regular monthly payments), paying off the remaining loan balance early or refinancing your VA loan at a lower rate or for a shorter term may help reduce the amount of interest you pay.

How can I prepare to buy a home with a VA mortgage loan?

  • Check your credit. People with higher credit scores typically qualify for more competitive interest rates than people with lower scores. If your credit needs work, consider improving it before applying for a loan.
  • Calculate your debt-to-income ratio. Your debt-to-income ratio is your total monthly debt payments compared to your gross monthly income.
  • Save for a down payment. Though most VA loans don’t require a down payment, having one can help you qualify for a lower interest rate and reduce the VA Loan funding fee you may have to pay.
  • Create a budget. Buying a home will affect your finances for years. It’s important to create a budget that won’t stretch you too thin — and stick to it when house hunting.