Unlocking the Power of Your VA Loan: Understanding 2nd Tier Entitlement

Veterans MarkAnthony Ball May 16, 2024

The VA loan program is one of the best benefits available to veterans, active-duty service members, and certain members of the National Guard and Reserves. It offers favorable terms like no down payment, competitive interest rates, and no private mortgage insurance (PMI). But did you know there's more to the VA loan than just your first mortgage? Enter the concept of 2nd tier entitlement.

What is a VA Loan?

A VA loan is a mortgage loan issued by private lenders and guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It's designed to help veterans and active-duty service members purchase homes without requiring a down payment or PMI. This benefit can be used multiple times, but many don't realize they can also have more than one VA loan at a time, thanks to the 2nd tier entitlement.

Understanding VA Loan Entitlement

To grasp 2nd tier entitlement, it's essential to understand VA loan entitlement itself. The VA provides a guarantee to lenders, ensuring a portion of the loan will be covered if the borrower defaults. This guarantee is known as "entitlement." There are two levels of entitlement:

  • Basic Entitlement: Up to $36,000.
  • Bonus Entitlement: Also known as Tier 2 or second-tier entitlement, it covers amounts exceeding the basic entitlement, allowing for larger loan amounts.

What is 2nd Tier Entitlement?

2nd tier entitlement comes into play when a veteran already has a VA loan and wishes to obtain another. Perhaps you've relocated for work, want to buy a second home, or are investing in property. The 2nd tier entitlement allows you to take out a second VA loan without having to sell your current home or refinance the existing loan.

Key Points to Remember:

  • No Down Payment Needed: With sufficient remaining entitlement, you can secure a second VA loan without a down payment.
  • VA Loan Limits Apply: The amount you can borrow is subject to VA loan limits, which vary by county.
  • Primary Residence Rule: The property purchased with a VA loan must be your primary residence. However, the first home can become a rental property if you're buying a new primary residence.

How 2nd Tier Entitlement Works

Here's a simple example to illustrate:

  • You have an existing VA loan with a balance of $250,000.
  • Your county loan limit is $726,200 (varies by location).

To calculate your remaining entitlement:

  1. Multiply the county loan limit by 25%: $726,200 x 0.25 = $181,550.
  2. Subtract the entitlement used on your first loan: $181,550 - $62,500 (entitlement used on $250,000 loan) = $119,050.

You now have $119,050 in remaining entitlement, enough to cover another loan. Since the VA guarantees 25% of the loan, you could theoretically purchase a second home for up to $476,200 with no down payment ($119,050 x 4).


The VA loan program's flexibility, including the 2nd tier entitlement, empowers veterans and service members to achieve their homeownership dreams, even when circumstances change. Whether you're relocating, upgrading, or investing, understanding how to utilize your VA benefits fully is crucial.

If you're considering using your 2nd tier entitlement or want to learn more about maximizing your VA loan benefits, contact a trusted VA loan expert (me) who can guide you through the process. This way, you can make informed decisions and take full advantage of the opportunities available to you.

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