California VA Loan Limits

2024 California VA Loan Limits

Key Topics In This Article: Definition | Limits By County | Full Entitlement Eligibility | How To Qualify

California VA loan limits play an integral role in the process of providing home loans to active military service members or those who have previously served our country. VA home loans in California are home loans provided by mortgage companies to loan applicants in California, and the VA (Veterans Affairs) guarantees a portion of the loan.1 This guarantee from the VA allows a mortgage company to provide loans to veterans at reduced terms.

What Are California VA Loan Limits?

California VA loan limits are specific amounts a loan applicant can borrow within a particular county. It’s important to note that California veterans with “full entitlement” are not subject to these limits per the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.2 If a loan applicant is eligible for full entitlement and the loan amount is above $144,000, then California VA loan limits are waived by the mortgage company.

Per Veterans Affairs, the loan “limit” is based on the amount the VA will guarantee (i.e., the maximum amount they will pay to the lender if a loan applicant defaults on a loan).3

The VA guarantee covers 25% of the value of the home.

Full Entitlement Explained

Entitlement is the amount the VA will guarantee and pay to the lender if a veteran defaults on their loan. A California veteran with full entitlement is eligible for the entire amount the VA will guarantee. The amount is either $36,000 or 25% of the loan amount. All California VA loans have this requirement.

As long as the loan applicant qualifies in other areas (such as income), there is no California VA loan limit for veterans with full entitlement.

California VA Limits By County

For veterans who don’t have full entitlement, here are the California VA limits by county. These limits are used to determine how much a loan applicant who doesn’t have full entitlement can borrow before determining if they need to provide a down payment.

CountyCalifornia VA Loan Limit
CONTRA COSTA$1,149,825
DEL NORTE$766,550
EL DORADO$766,550
LOS ANGELES$1,149,825
SAN BENITO$1,149,825
SAN DIEGO$1,006,250
SAN MATEO$1,149,825
SANTA CLARA$1,149,825
SANTA CRUZ$1,149,825

Full Entitlement Eligibility

You must be eligible for full entitlement to avoid the California VA loan limits. Most loan applicants will be eligible for full entitlement, including those buying a home for the first time. Here is what is required:

  • The loan applicant never used your VA entitlement benefit, or
  • They’ve paid a previous loan in full and sold the property, or
  • A loan applicant had a foreclosure and repaid the loan in full

As long as the loan applicant meets one of the above requirements, a loan applicant is eligible for full entitlement.4 The final determination will fall upon the lender, who will follow the guidance issued by the VA. If you have questions about your VA entitlement, please be sure to ask your loan officer.

How To Get Approved For A California VA Loan

Getting qualified for a California VA loan is a simple, step-by-step process. Before getting qualified, you should choose a top-rated mortgage broker and a loan officer with at least five years of experience. Also, if you are not eligible for “full entitlement,” make sure you adhere to the California VA loan limit for your county.

Obtain Your Quote

The first step to getting qualified for a California VA loan is to obtain a quote and review the terms. Two key areas you want to pay attention to are the interest rate and the total amount of fees being charged (for everything). Many lenders will only quote some of the fees being charged, like lender fees, and they leave out third-party fees and, at times, discount points.

The best way to approach this is to ask, “What are the total fees for everything?” Asking what the “total fees” are puts you in a better position to understand what is being quoted.

You’ll also want to verify your loan amount meets your county’s California VA loan limit (if you don’t have full entitlement).

Lastly, you’ll want to ask the loan officer if they have quoted a rate based on a thirty or forty-five day lock. Even if you are planning on not locking your interest rate right away, you still want the quote to be based on a thirty or forty-five day lock.

The reason is this: a quote based on a rate that is not lockable isn’t an accurate quote to consider since you have to lock it at some point during the process.

Complete The Loan Application

If you like the quote and the loan officer has clearly laid out all the fees, you’ll want to then complete the loan application. With most companies, you can complete the loan application on the phone or online, and it usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes to complete. To complete the loan application, you’ll need the following basic information;

  • If it’s a purchase, the property address of the home you’re buying
  • Personal information such as name, address, date of birth, social security number, etc.
  • Employment information
  • Liquid asset information (i.e., bank account)

Having this information ready before you complete the loan application will make the process much more efficient.

Turn In Your Documentation

Once your loan application is complete, you’ll need to turn in your documentation. Here is a standard list of documentation you’ll need to send to the loan officer:

  • Income documentation
  • Liquid asset documentation
  • Property documentation
  • Purchase contract (if it’s a purchase and you have an agreed-upon contact with the seller)

Discuss with your loan officer what specific items you’ll need to send in and if any additional items might be needed. When sending in your documentation, ensure the documentation is clear and complete (meaning all pages are included).

Underwriter Approval

When your loan officer has received your completed loan application and all your required documentation, they will send your file to the underwriter for a full review. Before doing that, the loan officer should verify that your loan amount meets your county’s California VA loan limit amount (if you don’t have full entitlement).

Three Areas The Underwriter Focuses On

Here are the three areas an underwriter will focus on:

  • A loan applicant’s credit score and history
  • Income earned
  • Liquid assets

Your file must meet the requirements for these three areas. If you don’t have full entitlement, the underwriter must also confirm you do not exceed your county’s California VA loan limit. If your application and documentation meet the underwriting requirements, your underwriter will then approve your file and issue conditions for closing.

Review the approval and closing conditions with your loan officer so you can move forward with signing loan documents and closing your loan.

Final Say On California VA Loan Limits

The VA loan program is a great option to consider if you are in the military or have previously served.

If you obtain a VA loan, the VA will guarantee up to 25% of the home’s value (provided your loan balance is at or above $144,000). This equity guarantee allows mortgage lenders to offer discounted terms on VA loans along with a zero-down payment option. If you don’t have full entitlement with the VA and are buying a home in California (or refinancing a mortgage), you’ll need to adhere to your county’s California VA loan limit.

Citation Sources:

  1. VA Home Loans –
  2. Blue Water Navy Veterans and Your Home Loan Benefits –
  3. VA Home Loan Limits –
  4. VA Home Loan Limits –
Loan Officer Kevin O'Connor

About The Author

Loan Officer Kevin O'Connor has over 17 years of experience as a Mortgage Loan Originator and is a trusted resource for mortgage education and information. He's the content creator of K.O. Home Loan Solutions and is licensed by the state of California and the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System. He has a top rating with the Better Business Bureau, Google, Yelp, and Zillow. You can contact him at 1-800-550-5538. CA DRE #01499872 / NMLS #247447