If you’re a veteran of the armed forces, you may be wondering how you can qualify for a VA loan. Fortunately, the process is relatively straightforward. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the basics of qualifying for a VA loan so that you can take advantage of this incredible benefits program.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helps Service members, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of their mission to serve you, they provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.
To be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan, there are certain eligibility requirements for Servicemembers, Veterans, spouses, and other eligible beneficiaries. When you apply for a VA loan, your Loan Specialist will pull your credit report to make sure that you meet the basic credit guidelines for VA loans listed below:
Who Can Apply for a VA Loan?
You must have satisfactory credit, sufficient income, and a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to be eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan.
Satisfactory credit means that you have a good history of paying your debts on time. The VA does not have a minimum credit score requirement, but most lenders do.
Sufficient income means that you have enough income to cover your monthly expenses, including your mortgage payment, without taking on additional debt.
A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document that proves that you are eligible for a VA-guaranteed home loan. You can apply for a COE online, through your lender, or at a regional Loan Center.
To qualify for a VA loan, you must be a current or former member of the U.S. military or the spouse of a service member. In most cases, you must have served at least 90 days during wartime or 181 days during peacetime. If you are a reservist or National Guard member, you must have served at least six years. You can also qualify if you are the child of a service member who died in the line of duty.
The Application Process
The first step in the process is to complete a VA loan application and provide the required documentation. The veteran or servicemember must arrange a meeting with a VA-approved lender, typically a local bank or credit union. During this meeting, the loan officer will help the applicant complete the application and gather the necessary documentation.
The next step is for the lender to obtain a certificate of eligibility from the VA. The applicant can also get this certificate by visiting the VA website. Once the certificate of eligibility is obtained, the lender will order a home appraisal to determine the property’s value.
Once all of this information has been gathered, the lender will review it and make a decision on whether or not to approve the loan. If approved, the loan will enter into a “locking” period during which time the interest rate is locked in and cannot change. This period typically lasts 30-60 days. Once this period is over, the loan will close and funds will be disbursed to cover the purchase price of the home, any necessary repairs, and other related costs such as closing costs and prepaid items.
Types of VA Loans
There are two types of VA loans: purchase loans and cash-out refinance loans. Purchase loans are used to finance the purchase of a home.Cash-out refinance loans replace your existing mortgage with a new loan that has a higher loan amount than what you currently owe. The difference between the two loan amounts is given to you in cash (thus the term “cash-out refinance”).
In order to qualify for a VA loan, you must meet certain service and credit requirements. If you have a strong credit history and a steady income, you may be eligible for a VA loan. Speak with a loan specialist to learn more about how you can qualify for a VA loan.