You can use your VA home loan benefit to refinance your existing VA home loan to a lower interest rate, with little or no out-of-pocket cost. This is called an Interest Rate Reduction Refinancing Loan (IRRRL), also known as a “rapid refinance” or a “streamline refinance.”

Generally, no appraisal, credit information, or underwriting is required for this refinancing option, although some lenders may require an appraisal and credit report. The fees and charges associated with the refinancing loan may be incorporated into the new VA loan.

Remember: The interest rate on the new loan must be lower than the rate on the old loan (unless you refinance an adjustable rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage). To receive an IRRRL, work with your lender to process your application. It’s generally a good idea to compare several lenders’ rates first, as there may be differences in the terms they offer. Also, some lenders may contact you suggesting that they are the only lenders with the authority to make IRRRLs, but according to VA, any lender can make an IRRRL.

An IRRRL can be done only if you have already used your eligibility for a VA loan on the property you intend to refinance. If you have your Certificate of Eligibility, take it to the lender to show your prior use of the entitlement. The occupancy requirement for an IRRRL is different from that for other VA loans.

When you originally got your VA loan, you certified that you occupied or intended to occupy the home. For an IRRRL, you need only certify that you previously occupied it. The loan may not exceed the sum of the outstanding balance on the existing VA loan, plus allowable fees and closing costs, including the funding fee.