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An essential step in shopping for a VA home loan is figuring out how much your monthly mortgage payment will be.
NerdWallet's VA loan calculator factors in the amount you're borrowing, interest rate and other costs to estimate how much you'll pay each month and over the course of the loan.
How to use NerdWallet's VA mortgage calculator
Enter the price you expect to pay for a home and your down payment. VA loans typically don't require a down payment, but paying a chunk of money upfront will lower your monthly mortgage payment and make you a more competitive buyer in a hot real estate market.
Enter an estimated interest rate. Unsure? Check current VA mortgage rates to see what lenders are offering.
Choose a loan term of 15 or 30 years. You'll pay less interest over the life of the loan with a 15-year term. Your monthly payment will be lower with a 30-year term because the repayment of the loan is stretched over a longer period.
Select whether this is your first VA mortgage. Your answer will affect the amount of your VA funding fee, a one-time charge most borrowers must pay.
Check the results. The "total monthly cost" estimates your monthly VA mortgage payment, including estimated costs for property taxes and home insurance. The "total cost" is how much you'll pay over the life of the loan, including the VA funding fee.
For more detail, select the "Monthly" or "Total" box under "Breakdown of costs." Some VA borrowers roll their funding fee into the total loan amount. If that’s your plan, take the funding fee amount, found under the "Total cost breakdown," and add it to the amount you expect to spend on a home under "Mortgage details." That will adjust your monthly payment to include the financed VA funding fee.
VA funding fee: How much you'll pay
The VA loan calculator automatically factors in your VA funding fee. The fee is a percentage of the loan amount and varies according to the amount of your down payment and whether this is your first VA mortgage. If you've had a VA loan before, then the next loan is considered "subsequent use."
Fees for a first-time VA purchase loan are 2.3% with a zero to 4.9% down payment, 1.65% with a down payment of 5% to 9.9%, and 1.4% with a down payment of 10% or more.
Funding fee for first use
Funding fee for subsequent use
10% or more
» MORE: Learn about the VA funding fee
Other VA loan costs to consider
You may pay some closing costs that the VA mortgage calculator does not include, such as fees for the credit report, title insurance, VA appraisal and other services.
But there are some fees you'll avoid with a VA loan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which backs VA mortgages, prohibits certain charges, including a lender's fee for attorney services, settlement charges and mortgage broker commissions. The VA also limits the origination fee a lender charges to no more than 1% of the loan amount.
How to lower your VA mortgage payment
If the calculator estimates a higher monthly VA mortgage payment than you would like, you can:
Extend the loan term. If you selected a 15-year term at first, try a 30-year term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will have a lower monthly payment than a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, but you'll pay more interest over the life of the loan.
Downsize your wish list. Buying a smaller house with fewer amenities means less money borrowed — and a lower monthly payment.
Put money down. While a VA loan typically requires no down payment, making one will reduce the size of your mortgage and reduce the VA funding fee, too. And this results in a lower monthly payment.
Look for a better interest rate. Shop at least three VA-approved lenders to ensure you're getting the lowest possible interest rate.
VA loan pros and cons
VA loans have strong benefits:
A down payment is generally not required.
Average VA mortgages rates are typically lower than average rates for FHA and conventional mortgages.
VA loans don't require mortgage insurance.
VA loans may be easier to qualify for than conventional loans when it comes to credit scores and debt-to-income ratios.
Here are the drawbacks:
Most borrowers must pay a VA funding fee.
Not all lenders offer VA loans.
You cannot use VA loans to purchase investment property.
More calculators to help you shop for mortgages
Calculate your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. Lenders consider your DTI to help determine whether you qualify for a loan and the interest rate to offer you.
Not sure if a VA loan is right for you? Learn the best mortgage type for you.
See how much of your mortgage payment goes toward principal and interest with a mortgage amortization calculator.