Getting A VA Loan? You May Still Want To Make A Down Payment
Buying a house with a VA loan has many advantages, the biggest of which may be the fact that you don't need thousands and thousands of dollars for a down payment. However, you may want to make a down payment anyway. While that can make a deep dent in your savings right now, it can save you more down the road as well as allowing you to look at houses that cost a lot more.
Lower Total Interest, Smaller Payments
As with most other home loans, putting a down payment on a home for which you're getting a VA loan can reduce the size of your monthly payments and the overall amount of interest you pay on the house. This is more than just a nice side effect. If something happens to the economy later on, if you have to take a pay cut at your current or future job, having a lower payment will make it a lot easier to coast through those leaner times. And paying less interest overall of course means you get to keep more of your income.
Lower Initial Fees
If you get a VA loan without a down payment, you could end up paying higher initial fees when you buy the home. The percentage of the cost of the loan for no-down-payment borrowers is already fairly low (though it can vary), but by putting a down payment on the house, you can reduce that rate even further. That can make a big difference if you're buying in a more expensive area such as Hawaii.
Helps With Loan Limits
VA loans aren't bottomless, and you can borrow only so much. By putting a down payment on the house, you have more room to breathe regarding that loan limit, which is very important if you are buying in an area where prices are rising quickly. Sometimes the prices of houses can go up so frequently that it seems like prices won't stop rising, and that can be a difficult situation if the cost of the house is already near the VA loan limit. But with a down payment, you get that extra space that you need to be able to get a loan for the rest of the house.
Everyone's situation is different, so talk to a VA loan broker and your real estate agent to find out what down payment level would work best for your savings now and later on.