How Do I Apply for a VA Home Loan?

You may be eligible for a VA home loan if you are a veteran of the United States military. Find out how to apply for a VA home loan by following these steps.

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Figure Out If You’re Eligible

The first step in applying for a VA home loan is to figure out if you’re eligible. You must have a certificate of eligibility from the Veterans Administration. You can get this certificate in a number of ways. The easiest way is to go through an approved lender.

Check the basic eligibility requirements

The first step in getting a VA direct or VA-backed home loan is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This confirms for your lender that you qualify for the program.

If you have a service-connected disability, you don’t have to meet the minimum credit score and debt-to-income ratio requirements listed below.

There are basic eligibility requirements common to all applicants:
-You must have satisfactory credit, sufficient income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan.
-The home must be for your own personal occupancy.
-You must be a qualified veteran who has available entitlement.

Understand your credit score

Your credit score is important because it will determine what kind of interest rate you will be offered on your loan. The higher your score, the lower the interest rate you will be offered. If you have a low credit score, you may still be able to get a VA loan, but you may have to pay a higher interest rate.

There are two types of credit scores: FICO® scores and VantageScore 3.0. FICO® scores are the most widely used credit scores, and they range from 300 to 850. VantageScore 3.0 is a newer type of credit score that also ranges from 300 to 850.

Lenders use different types of credit scores, so it’s important to know which one they’re looking at. For example, FICO® scores are commonly used by lenders, but VantageScore 3.0 is becoming more popular.

If you don’t know what type of credit score a lender is using, you can check your latest credit report for free at to see which scores are being reported.

Get Your Documentation in Order

Before you start the application process for a VA home loan, you’ll need to get your documentation in order. This includes your certificate of eligibility, your DD214 form, and your credit report. You can get your certificate of eligibility from the VA website. Your DD214 form is your proof of military service, and you can get it from your local VA office. Lastly, you’ll need to pull your credit report so that you know what your credit score is.

Gather required financial documents

Now that you’ve decided to apply for a VA home loan, it’s time to get your documentation in order. This includes things like your credit history, income information and bank statements. The VA doesn’t have any strict requirements on what type of documentation you need to provide, but lenders will likely ask for many of the items listed below.

-A government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport or military ID
-Proof of income, such as pay stubs, tax returns or award letters
-Bank statements and asset information
-Your credit history
-A DD214 form if you’re a veteran

Get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

The first step in getting a VA direct or VA-backed home loan is to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This confirms for your lender that you qualify for the VA home loan benefit. Follow these steps:

If you have your DD214, you can apply online.
If you don’t have your DD214, you can get it from the VA or order it from the National Archives.
Gather the required documents for a COE.
Submit your application for a COE.

You’ll need your DD214, Reserve or National Guard Record of Service and Discharge papers if you’re a Reservist or National Guard member.

Choose a Lender

The first step in applying for a VA home loan is to find a lender that offers them. There are many lenders that offer VA home loans, and you can find them by searching online or in your local area. Once you find a lender, you will need to fill out an application and provide some documentation.

Research different types of lenders

When you’re ready to apply for your VA home loan, the first step is to choose a lender.
A few things to keep in mind:
-The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t lend money. We provide benefits to help you obtain a loan.
-We don’t set interest rates. Your lender does.
-We don’t require you to use a specific real estate agent or home inspector.
You can use any type of lender — a bank, thrift, credit union, mortgage broker or even a friend or relative. It doesn’t matter as long as the lender is willing to work with the VA home loan program. Some lenders specialize in VA loans and may offer you better terms than those who don’t regularly lend to veterans.

There are some important things to look for when choosing a lender:
-Reputation: Check with your local consumer protection agency, the Better Business Bureau and other sources you trust for information about the lender’s reputation. Also, ask around. Talk to friends, family members and co-workers who have bought homes recently and see who they used and why they liked (or didn’t like) their experience.
-Experience: Make sure the people you work with at the lending institution understand the VA home loan program and have experience with it. The program has certain benefits (like no down payment) that other loan programs don’t have, so you need someone who is up to date on the latest changes and who knows how to put those benefits to work for you. You can ask your real estate agent for referrals or check with your state banking commission for a list of lenders who participate in the VA home loan program in your area

Compare interest rates

When looking for a lender, compare interest rates from multiple VA-approved lenders to find the best rate. Get a quote from each lender and ask about their experience with the VA home loan program. Also ask about any fees they charge and if they offer any discounts.

Apply for the Loan

Applying for a VA home loan is a process that takes some time and preparation. There are a few things that you will need to do in order to get started. The first thing that you will need to do is get your credit report.

Submit a loan application

You can apply for a VA loan in several ways. You can go to a VA-approved lender—a bank, mortgage company, savings and loan association, credit union, or similar lending institution—and apply for a loan there. You can also apply directly to the VA by calling 1-877-827-3702.

Wait for loan approval

The wait for loan approval may take a few days or weeks, depending on the lender. Once you’re approved, you’ll work with your loan officer to choose a interest rate. You’ll also need to provide documentation to prove that you have the financial means to make the monthly payments on the loan.

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