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California - Due to the abundance of military installations in California, many active-duty military personnel as well as veterans make their homes in California. Home prices are high in California, but they have been falling; and the VA loan program can help save you money and help make home ownership a reality.

Down payments and private mortgage insurance (PMI) are not required on VA home loans, making payments lower and more affordable. Generally, VA loans are available with competitive interest rates. In California, loans are guaranteed to over $1 million. If you have poor credit, getting a VA loan is much more likely than getting a conventional loan. Also, disabled veterans have some extra benefits offered by the VA as well. Other benefits available to home buyers with VA loans include a one-year warranty from new-home builders and reimbursement for correcting structural defects.

To qualify, you will need a Certificate of Eligibility. For active-duty service members and some veterans, your lender can get the Certificate of Eligibility for you through the ACE (automated certificate of eligibility) system. If veterans are not on ACE, they can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility by submitting a completed VA Form 26-1880, Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for Home Loan Benefits. This form should be accompanied by proof of military service.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs and its CalVet Home Loan program is committed to helping military personnel with their home loans. If you need assistance, you can call or go to their websites:
  • Get free mortgage counseling, 24/7, from the HOPE hotline, 1-888-995-HOPE
  • Get information on buying a home or information for those in financial difficulty, or
  • Get information for those who are having financial difficulties due to activation or deployment at the CalVet Customer Services Unit, 1-800-952-5626 or 916-503-8362. There are protections given to service members who are deployed, and you can get your payments or interest rate reduced.