What is the best rate reduction refinance program for Veterans that have an existing VA loan?

Hands down, it’s the IRRRL. IRRRL stands for Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan. You may see it referred to as a “Streamline” or a “VA to VA.” Except when refinancing an existing VA guaranteed adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed rate, it must result in a lower interest rate. When refinancing from an existing VA ARM loan to a fixed rate, the interest rate may increase.

The best part of this refinance is that no appraisal or credit underwriting package is required by the VA. You should be aware, however, that some lenders may require an appraisal and credit report anyway.

A certificate of eligibility is not required. Your lender can use the VA’s e-mail confirmation procedure for interest rate reduction refinance in lieu of a certificate of eligibility.

An IRRRL may be done with “no money out of pocket” by including all costs in the new loan or by making the new loan at an interest rate high enough to enable the lender to pay the costs. (Remember: The interest rate on the new loan must be lower than the rate on the old loan unless you refinance an ARM to a fixed rate mortgage).

Some lenders may say that VA requires certain closing costs to be charged and included in the loan. Remember – The only cost required by VA is a funding fee of one-half of one percent of the loan amount which may be paid in cash or included in the loan.

You may NOT receive any cash from the loan proceeds; however, the VA offers the best “Cash Out “ refinance program in the mortgage industry. The VA allows you to borrow up to 100% of your home’s market value; whereas, most other loan programs max out at 85% Loan to Value.

An IRRRL can be done only if you have already used your eligibility for a VA loan on the property you intend to refinance. It must be a VA to VA refinance, and it will reuse the entitlement you originally used. You may have used your entitlement by obtaining a VA loan when you bought your house, or by substituting your eligibility for that of the seller, if you assumed the loan. If you have your Certificate of Eligibility, take it to the lender to show the prior use of your entitlement.

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