A VA loan is a mortgage guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and issued by a private lender. It is available to qualified U.S. veterans, active-duty military personnel, and some surviving spouses. VA loans typically do not require a down payment and offer favorable terms. It is recommended to work with lenders and real estate agents experienced in VA loans. The VA's guarantee reduces the risk for lenders, resulting in lower interest rates. It is advisable to apply with multiple lenders to compare rate offers.