VA guidelines

VA Loan Credit Requirements: Loans With Your Spouse

January 23, 2013

VA Loan Credit Requirements: Loans With Your Spouse

A reader asks, “I would like to know if i can apply for a VA loan as a spouse jointly with my husband. He is in the reserve but he does not have the credit score required for VA loan and I do.”

VA loan rules have a lot to say about these situations. To begin, VA loan rules allow the military member/veteran and spouse to apply for a VA loan together. This is not considered a “joint loan” situation where two borrowers qualify for their portion of the VA loan responsibility, but rather a single application with information from both spouses considered as part of the borrower’s total income and debt-to-income ratio, etc.

Both parties to be obligated on the VA home loan must qualify in terms of credit. The VA Lender’s Handbook, Chapter Seven, states clearly:

“The applicant’s past repayment practices on obligations are the best indicator of his or her willingness to repay future obligations.  Emphasis should be on the applicant’s overall payment patterns rather than isolated occurrences of unsatisfactory repayment.  Determine whether the applicant (and spouse, if applicable) is a satisfactory credit risk based on a careful analysis of the credit report and other credit data.”

While a spouse may be obligated on a VA home loan along with the veteran, the spouse can’t make up for deficiencies in the veteran’s credit. That’s not to say the lender won’t consider what are known in the lending industry as “compensating factors” including a year’s worth of satisfactory payments and other factors, but the financial institution’s credit standards do play a large role in loan approval.

VA loans are issued by participating lenders. The VA cannot force a bank to issue credit to an applicant that doesn’t meet the bank’s minimum standards even if technically speaking, the borrower  meets VA loan program minimums. This is an important factor to remember–the bank’s requirements can and often do go above VA minimums. (It should be pointed out the the VA itself does not give a minimum credit score in its VA loan rules.)

Borrowers who want a loan but have past credit issues should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs and ask what options might be available for credit counseling, mortgage counseling and related issues. Don’t waste time and money paying a third party company that offers to “repair your credit” on your behalf–borrowers can work on their credit issues for free without paying a third party. But the issues must be dealt with in cases where low credit scores jeopardize a VA loan application.

Do you have questions about VA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.


  1. Joe

    Hi, I had seved in the Nation Guard for 6 years. I had a short sale in December 2010. Wold I qalify for a va loan? Thank you, joe

    • Joe Wallace

      Certain companies have different overlays. If you were current on your mortgage payments up to the date of the short sale and for the preceding 12 months, then that aspect of your credit would not prohibit you from obtaining a VA loan from us. If you were delinquent on the mortgage payments you will need to wait 12 months from the date of the last delinquency. This is, of course, subject to review of the pay record of your other credit obligations. We ask that all of our applicants go to our website at and apply online. We speak with many veterans on a daily basis and prefer to give each one of them the attention and respect they deserve. Once we have all of the information in front of us, we can make a well informed decision. We will then contact you shortly. As a reminder, our site is secure. Staff Apply Online: America’s Military Mortgage Lender

  2. danny kirkendall

    I have a previos VA LOAN ;Can I Qualify for a loan to purchase a mobile home ?

    • Joe Wallace

      That would depend on your credit history and the availability of a participating VA lender willing to offer a loan on the mobile home--there aren't many willing to do so at the time of this writing, unfortunately.

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