For those who want to take advantage of their VA home loan benefits for the first time, there are plenty of options to know about. Some might assume that a VA loan requires you to be a first time home buyer in order to use the benefit, but this is not true.

In fact, the first time you use a VA mortgage loan doesn’t have to be to purchase a new home. Eligible borrowers who want to refinance a conventional mortgage or FHA home loan can use their VA loan benefits in this way, too.

VA loan refinancing options include cash-out for non-VA and VA loans, and Streamline Refinancing for existing VA mortgage loans only.

Borrowers have the option to refinance with something called the Energy Efficient Mortgage, where you can include as much as six thousand dollars in approved energy efficient improvements into the loan amount. Doing so will increase the amount of your monthly mortgage payments so it’s good to do all the math on the add-ons to the loan before you commit to a VA EEM.

For borrowers who want to purchase a new home rather than refinance, there are some options to be aware of--did you know you can buy properties beyond a typical home in the suburbs?

Borrowers can buy condos with a VA mortgage, as well as town homes, multi-family properties up to four units in size, and even a building with mixed use zoning as long as the non residential nature of the property doesn’t exceed a certain percentage of the floor space and the residential purpose of the property is the primary function.

Borrowers are permitted to use VA loans to buy multi-unit homes, and rent out the unused units as long as the borrower lives on-site. VA occupancy rules are clear--the borrower must use the property as his/her personal residence.

As you can see there are many options for VA loans regardless of whether you want to buy or refinance. Work with a lender to explore your options depending on your financial needs and goals. You’ll be surprised to learn how many possibilities exist with a VA mortgage.