VA Loan Co-Signers and Co-Borrowers Guide

When it comes to VA loans, co-signing and co-borrowing can not only extend homeownership opportunities to spouses, significant others, and roommates but also promote financial stability. By involving these individuals, Veterans can leverage their combined resources and strengthen their chances of loan approval.

Furthermore, co-signing and co-borrowing allow for the pooling of incomes, increasing the borrowing power and potential loan amount. Veterans can benefit from the flexibility of these options, tailoring their homeownership journey to their unique circumstances.

Can You Have a Co-Signer on a VA Loan?

A co-signer is allowed for VA loans and is responsible for paying back the loan in case the primary borrower defaults on the loan. You may need a co-signer on your VA loan if you cannot qualify based on your credit history or income. Unlike other types of co-signers, VA loan co-signers must also be an occupant of the home.

A VA loan co-signer must be a spouse or unmarried member of the military who is willing to accept the risks associated with co-signing a VA loan. It is crucial that both parties understand the risks and benefits of co-signing a VA loan because there can be serious consequences such as credit score deductions if the primary borrower defaults.

VA Loan Co-Signers Vs. Co-Borrowers: What’s the Difference?

Whether you’ll need a co-signer or co-borrower will depend on the qualifications of both parties. Review the table below to help determine which option will best suit your needs.

Aspect Co-signer Co-borrower
Eligible Individuals A spouse or an unmarried member of the military willing to co-sign the loan Typically a spouse or joint applicant who is a Veteran or active-duty military personnel
Role Provides additional creditworthiness Shares financial responsibility for the loan
Credit Liability Partial liability Full liability
Income Consideration May be considered Included in determining loan qualification
VA Loan Eligibility Not entitled to VA loan benefits Can utilize VA loan benefits
Credit Impact Affects co-signer’s credit if payments missed Affects both borrowers’ credit
Ownership of Property No ownership rights Joint ownership rights
Loan Terms Co-signer doesn’t have to sign all loan docs Co-borrower signs all loan docs
Loan Qualifications Co-signer’s credit may compensate for the lack of credit or income of the primary borrower Co-borrower’s credit and income considered for qualification
Loan Approval Primary borrower’s credit and income primarily considered Both borrowers’ credit and income considered
Loan Default Co-signer may become responsible for the loan if primary borrower defaults Both borrowers are responsible for the loan

VA home loan lenders may have slightly different requirements for co-signers on the loan. While the basic eligibility criteria for co-signers remain consistent, such as good credit history and stable income, individual lenders may have their own specific guidelines and preferences.

Some lenders may have more flexible requirements and be more open to considering a wider range of co-signers, while others may have stricter criteria. For example, one lender may allow a close friend to serve as a co-signer, while another lender may restrict co-signers to immediate family members only. Additionally, lenders may have varying expectations regarding the length and nature of the relationship between the borrower and the co-signer.

To ensure you understand the specific requirements of a particular lender, it is best to contact them directly and speak with a loan officer who can provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information. They will be able to guide you through the lender’s specific policies and help you determine whether your desired co-signer meets their criteria.

VA Loan Co-Signer Requirements

Now that we understand the distinction between co-signers and co-borrowers, let’s focus on the purpose and requirements of a VA loan co-signer. A co-signer is someone who agrees to be responsible for the loan if the primary borrower is unable to fulfill their obligations. Using a co-signer can help strengthen the loan application, especially if the primary borrower’s credit or income falls short.

Several requirements must be met to qualify as a VA loan co-signer:

  • Only a spouse or an unmarried member of the military can co-sign a VA loan
  • Both the borrower and co-signer need to demonstrate good credit history
  • Both the borrower and co-signer should have a stable income to showcase their ability to repay the loan
  • Both the borrower and co-signer should be prepared to provide documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements that may be required during the application process
  • Some lenders may have specific occupation requirements for co-signers.

It’s important for a co-signer to understand the liabilities they assume when co-signing a VA loan. Co-signers become equally responsible for the loan and share the financial obligations with the primary borrower. This means that if the primary borrower fails to make timely payments or defaults on the loan, the co-signer can be held liable and their credit history may be negatively impacted. Co-signers should carefully consider their financial capacity and trust in the primary borrower’s ability to fulfill their obligations before entering into a co-signing arrangement.

It’s recommended for both the primary borrower and the co-signer to have open and honest communication about the responsibilities, expectations, and potential risks involved in a VA loan co-signing arrangement.

VA Loan Co-Borrower Requirements

Let’s shift our focus to co-borrowers and explore how they differ from co-signers. A co-borrower is someone who shares the primary responsibility for the loan with the borrower. Unlike a co-signer who serves as a backup, a co-borrower is an active participant in the loan and has equal rights and responsibilities.

The individual must meet specific financial requirements to qualify as a VA loan co-borrower. This includes having a good credit history, stable income, and meeting the lender’s debt-to-income ratio guidelines. Similar to the primary borrower, the co-borrower shares equal liability for the loan. It’s important to understand that both parties’ credit history and financial stability will be evaluated during the loan application process.

VA-Approved Co-Borrowers

Typically, VA loan co-borrowers are limited to individuals with a direct financial interest in the property or a close family relationship with the primary borrower. Acceptable co-borrowers include:

  • A Veteran and non-veteran spouse
  • Two married Veterans where only one Veteran uses their entitlement
  • Two married Veterans where both Veterans use their entitlement
  • Two non-married Veterans where both Veterans use their entitlement.

The VA also allows what’s known as a joint VA loan, where the Veteran applies with a non-Veteran, non-spouse. It’s essential to consult with your loan officer to determine the specific criteria and documentation needed for co-borrowers.

Joint VA Loan Requirements

When the co-borrower is not a spouse or another Veteran with VA loan entitlement, It is possible to apply for a joint VA loan. For joint VA loans, the VA only guarantees the Veteran’s half of the mortgage. Although the Veteran won’t need to make a down payment, lenders typically require a 12.5% down payment for the portion of the loan that is not backed by the VA.

Joint VA loans involve shared responsibility and ownership between the borrowers. Both parties will have equal rights and liabilities for the loan and equal ownership of the property.


Understanding the roles of co-signers, co-borrowers, and joint VA loans is essential when navigating the world of VA loans. Co-signers provide additional support to borrowers who need help meeting credit or income requirements. Co-borrowers share equal responsibility and benefits and allow multiple eligible borrowers to combine their entitlements for a larger loan amount. On the other hand, joint VA loans allow for non-spouses without VA entitlement to participate as a borrower with equal responsibility.

As you explore your options, remember to thoroughly assess the financial background and qualifications of any potential co-signer or co-borrower. This will help mitigate risks and plan for the future. It’s always a good idea to discuss your specific situation with a knowledgeable loan officer who can guide you through the process and help you determine the best option for your needs.

With a better understanding of co-signers, co-borrowers, and joint VA loans, you can confidently embark on your journey toward homeownership using your VA loan benefits.

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