VA Loan Refinance: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re a veteran or active-duty service member with a VA loan, you may be considering refinancing your loan to take advantage of lower interest rates or to access your home’s equity. In this VA loan refinancing guide, we’ll walk you through the process step by step so you can make an informed decision about whether refinancing is right for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Refinancing your VA loan can save you money on your monthly mortgage payments and reduce your interest rate.
  • Before you refinance, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and understand the documentation requirements.
  • Explore your refinancing options, including the Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and cash-out refinancing.
  • Compare VA loan refinance rates to find the best deal for your financial situation.
  • Follow our step-by-step guide to refinancing your VA loan to ensure a smooth and successful process.
  • Remember to practice caution and do your research to avoid common refinancing pitfalls.

Understanding VA Loan Refinancing

As a homeowner with a VA loan, you may have heard about refinancing your mortgage. Refinancing replaces your current loan with a new one, allowing you to potentially save money on interest rates, lower your monthly payments, or cash out your home equity.

The VA loan refinancing process is similar to applying for a VA loan, requiring detailed documentation and careful consideration. Here’s a step-by-step overview of the process:

  1. Research your options for VA loan refinancing, including Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and cash-out refinancing.
  2. Check your eligibility requirements, including credit score, income, and other criteria.
  3. Find a reputable lender and submit your application.
  4. Provide all necessary documentation, including proof of income and property appraisal.
  5. Wait for underwriting to approve your application.
  6. Closing the loan and signing the necessary documents.

Keep in mind that VA loan refinancing may not always be the best option for every homeowner. Before making a decision, it’s important to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of VA Loan Refinancing

One of the primary benefits of VA loan refinancing is the potential to save money on interest rates and monthly payments. By refinancing your current loan, you may be able to secure a lower interest rate, which will result in lower monthly payments and significant savings over time.

Cash-out refinancing, which allows homeowners to access their home equity, can also be a useful tool for consolidating debt, financing home renovations, or covering unexpected expenses.

Another benefit of VA loan refinancing is the ability to switch from an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate mortgage. Fixed-rate mortgages offer stability and certainty, allowing homeowners to plan their budget and avoid surprises when interest rates fluctuate.

Drawbacks of VA Loan Refinancing

Refinancing your VA loan may involve closing costs, which can add up to thousands of dollars. Make sure to weigh the potential savings against the costs of refinancing to determine if it’s the right choice for you.

Additionally, refinancing extends the term of your loan, which means that you will take longer to pay off your mortgage. If you’re close to paying off your current loan, refinancing may not make sense and could lead to paying more in interest over time.

It’s important to carefully evaluate your financial situation and goals before deciding whether to refinance your VA loan.

Eligibility Criteria for VA Loan Refinancing

If you’re a veteran or servicemember and considering refinancing your VA loan, it’s important to know the eligibility criteria for VA loan refinancing. While the VA doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement for VA loans, individual lenders may have their own credit score requirements. Generally, lenders prefer to see a credit score of at least 620.

In addition to credit score, lenders also consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which is the percentage of your monthly income that goes towards debt payments, including your mortgage. Typically, lenders prefer a DTI of no more than 41%, but some may accept a higher DTI depending on other factors, such as your credit score and job stability.

Another important eligibility requirement is that the VA loan being refinanced must be current and paid on time for the previous 12 months. If you have missed payments on your current VA loan, you may need to wait until you have made on-time payments for at least 12 consecutive months before refinancing.

Additionally, you must meet the VA’s occupancy requirements. This means that the property being refinanced must have been your primary residence at some point, and you must intend to continue living in the property after refinancing.

Finally, it’s important to note that there may be additional eligibility requirements depending on the type of VA loan refinancing you choose. For example, cash-out refinancing may have additional credit score, DTI, and equity requirements.

Options for VA Loan Refinancing

When it comes to VA loan refinancing, borrowers have a range of options to choose from. Whether you’re seeking a lower monthly payment or access to cash, there is an option that can best fit your needs.

Option Description
Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) This option, also known as a streamline refinance, allows borrowers to refinance their existing VA loan to a new one with a lower interest rate. The IRRRL doesn’t require a new Certificate of Eligibility or an appraisal and typically requires minimal documentation.
Cash-out refinancing This option allows borrowers to refinance their existing VA loan for more than what they currently owe, essentially turning their home equity into cash. This option can be used for a range of purposes, including home renovations or paying off debt, but typically requires more documentation than an IRRRL.
Cashback This option allows borrowers to receive a cash payment when they close their refinanced VA loan. While this option can provide immediate cash, it can also increase the overall cost of the loan and is not offered by all lenders.

It’s important to carefully consider each option and discuss them with a lender to determine which one is the best fit for your financial goals. Keep in mind that each option has its own requirements and potential benefits and drawbacks.

Finding the Best VA Loan Refinance Rates

When refinancing your VA loan, finding the best interest rates is crucial to saving money in the long run. Here are some tips to help you secure the most competitive VA loan refinancing rates:

  1. Shop around: Don’t settle for the first lender you come across. Instead, obtain quotes from multiple lenders and compare their rates and fees to determine the best deal.
  2. Improve your credit score: A higher credit score can lead to better interest rates. Make sure you are paying your bills on time, paying down debts, and disputing any errors on your credit report.
  3. Consider an IRRRL: Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL) typically have lower interest rates and fewer fees. If you’re eligible for an IRRRL, it may be worth considering.
  4. Pay attention to fees: A lower interest rate may be tempting, but it’s important to also consider the fees associated with refinancing. Make sure the fees don’t outweigh the savings from a lower interest rate.
  5. Lock in your rate: Once you’ve found a lender and rate you’re comfortable with, ask to lock in the rate. This will protect you from potential rate increases while you complete the refinancing process.

Keep in mind that VA loan refinancing rates can vary based on factors such as your credit score, loan amount, and property value. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of securing a competitive rate and saving money on your new loan.

Benefits of VA Loan Refinancing

Refinancing your VA loan can offer several benefits for borrowers, including:

  • Lowering monthly payments: By refinancing your VA loan, you may be able to secure a lower interest rate, which can reduce your monthly mortgage payments.
  • Reducing interest rates: Refinancing can also help you switch from an adjustable-rate loan to a fixed-rate loan, locking in a lower interest rate and providing more stability in your mortgage payments.
  • Accessing equity: If you have built up equity in your home, refinancing can allow you to tap into that equity to pay for renovations, college tuition, or other expenses.
  • Consolidating debt: Refinancing your VA loan can also allow you to consolidate high-interest debt, such as credit cards or personal loans, into your mortgage payment with a lower interest rate.

Overall, refinancing your VA loan can provide financial flexibility and help you achieve your financial goals. However, it’s important to carefully consider the costs and benefits of refinancing to ensure it’s the right choice for you.

VA Loan Refinancing Requirements

Before refinancing your VA loan, you must meet certain requirements set by the Department of Veterans Affairs. These requirements ensure that you are eligible for refinancing and that the process goes smoothly.

Note: Depending on the lender, additional requirements may apply.

Requirements Details
Credit score Most lenders require a credit score of at least 620. However, some lenders may accept a lower credit score.
Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) Lenders typically look for a DTI of 41% or less, although some may accept a higher DTI if the borrower has a strong credit history.
Occupancy The property being refinanced must be the borrower’s primary residence.
Loan seasoning The original VA loan must have been seasoned for at least 210 days (approximately 7 months) before it can be refinanced.
Property appraisal The property must meet the VA’s minimum property requirements and be appraised by a VA-approved appraiser.

Additionally, you will need to provide documentation such as proof of income, bank statements, tax returns, and other financial information. It is important to have all of your paperwork in order to expedite the refinancing process.

By meeting these requirements and having all necessary documentation prepared, you can ensure a successful VA loan refinancing experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Refinancing Your VA Loan

If you’re looking to refinance your VA loan, here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process.

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility for Refinancing

Before you begin the refinancing process, you need to make sure you are eligible. Check the VA loan refinancing eligibility criteria to ensure you meet the requirements for refinancing. Verify that you have a good credit score, stable income, and that your property meets the VA’s appraisal requirements.

Step 2: Choose the Best Refinancing Option for You

There are two main refinancing options for VA loans – Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and cash-out refinancing. Deciding which option to select will depend on your financial goals. Confirm which option will best suit your needs.

Step 3: Find a VA-Approved Lender

Next, you need to find a VA-approved lender. Contact with multiple lenders to compare rates and terms carefully. It is always recommended that you choose a reputable lender. Check their reviews and credentials to ensure that your experience is smooth and secure.

Step 4: Complete the Application Process

Once you’ve chosen a VA-approved lender, you’ll need to complete the application process. You’ll need to submit documentation and complete an application form. You may also be required to provide additional information such as employment verification, tax returns, and proof of insurance.

Step 5: Close the Loan

Once the application is complete and all requirements have been met, the lender will provide a final loan estimate. Review the terms and costs and ensure that they align with your financial goals. Then, sign the loan documents and wait for the loan to close. The lender will pay off your old loan, and you will begin making payments on your new VA refinanced loan.

Following these steps will help you refinance your VA loan successfully. Remember to thoroughly research your options and choose a reputable, VA-approved lender to ensure you get the best rates and terms.

Best Practices for VA Loan Refinancing

If you’re considering refinancing your VA loan, there are a few best practices you should keep in mind to ensure a successful outcome. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Shop around for lenders: Don’t settle for the first offer you receive. Shop around and compare rates from multiple lenders to find the best deal.
  • Understand the loan terms: Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the loan before signing on the dotted line. Ask questions and clarify any doubts you may have.
  • Beware of scams: Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous lenders out there who may try to take advantage of you. Do your research and make sure the lender you choose is reputable and trustworthy.
  • Keep an eye on interest rates: Interest rates can fluctuate, so keep an eye on them and consider refinancing again if rates drop significantly.
  • Avoid cash-out refinancing unless necessary: While cash-out refinancing can be a tempting option, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Only consider it if you truly need the extra cash and can afford the higher monthly payments.
  • Be prepared to provide documentation: You’ll need to provide proof of income, credit history, and other documents in order to qualify for VA loan refinancing. Make sure you have everything in order before starting the process.
  • Don’t overlook closing costs: Refinancing your VA loan will come with closing costs, just like your original loan did. Make sure you factor these costs into your calculations before deciding whether to refinance.

By following these best practices, you can ensure a smooth and successful VA loan refinancing experience. Remember to do your research, ask questions, and take your time to find the best deal for your needs.


Refinancing a VA loan can be a smart financial move for eligible borrowers. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can make the refinancing process smooth and stress-free. Remember to research your options, shop around for rates, and have your documentation ready to go.

Some of the benefits of VA loan refinancing include lower monthly payments, access to equity, and reduced interest rates. It’s important to note that there are eligibility requirements and documentation needed for VA loan refinancing, so make sure you meet those before starting the process.

To succeed with VA loan refinancing, it’s essential to follow best practices. Work with reputable lenders, understand loan terms, and avoid common pitfalls. With these tips and guidance, you can save money and improve your financial outlook.