How to Get a VA Home Loan
Applying for a VA home loan can be a confusing and time-consuming process. This step-by-step guide will help you understand the process and get approved for a loan.
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan program is a great benefit to veterans and active duty service members who want to purchase a home. VA loans offer flexible credit requirements, low interest rates and no down payment options, making them a great option for those who may not qualify for a conventional mortgage.
If you’re interested in applying for a VA home loan, there are a few things you should know. In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of VA home loans and how to get one.
Who is eligible for a VA home loan?
VA home loans are available to eligible servicemembers, veterans, reservists, national guard members, and certain surviving spouses. You can use a VA loan to purchase a single-family home, townhome, condominium, or manufactured home. You can also use this benefit to refinance an existing home loan. The VA provides guaranty protection on a portion of the loan, which limits the lender’s risk and allows qualifying borrowers to secure financing with more favorable terms.
The VA home loan process
The VA home loan process is designed to help veterans and military members get into their dream homes with as little stress as possible. Below we’ve outlined the steps involved in getting a VA home loan so you can see what to expect.
Step 1: Get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
To apply for a VA home loan, the first step is to get your COE, which proves to lenders that you’re eligible for this benefit. You can get your COE through eBenefits, by mail, or through your lender.
Step 2: Find a lender and start the pre-approval process
Once you have your COE, you can shop around for lenders who offer VA home loans. Once you find a lender you want to work with, you’ll start the pre-approval process. This process includes a credit check and verification of your income and employment history.
Step 3: Find a home and make an offer
Once you’re pre-approved for a VA home loan, the next step is finding a home and making an offer. Your real estate agent will help you find homes that fit your budget and needs. Once you find a home you want to make an offer on, your agent will help you negotiate with the seller.
Step 4: Get a home appraisal
If your offer is accepted, the next step is to get a home appraisal. The appraiser will come to the house to make sure it’s worth at least as much as the sales price. If it appraises for less than the sales price, you may need to renegotiate with the seller or look for another property.
Step 5: Complete the loan application and send it to the lender
Once the appraisal is done, you’ll complete your loan application and send it off to the lender for approval. The lender will also order a title search and va appraisal before they give final approval for the loan. Once all of that comes back clear, they will fund your loan and send money to escrow. From there, it’s just waiting for closing!
How to get pre-approved for a VA home loan
The first step in getting a VA home loan is to get pre-approved for the program by a lender who participates in it. Then you can shop around for a home that meets the Department of Veterans Affairs’ guidelines for veterans and loan approval.
Here’s a look at the process for getting a VA home loan:
Step 1: Get pre-approved for a VA loan
The first step is to get pre-approved for the VA home loan benefit from a lender that participates in the program. There are many lenders out there that do not participate, so it’s important to find one that does.
After finding a participating lender, you’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA. The COE verifies to the lender that you are entitled to benefits under the GI Bill. If you have ever used your entitlement, you should have no problem obtaining a COE. If you have never used your entitlement, you will need to prove your service by submitting one of the following:
-a DD214 showing an honorable discharge;
-a statement of service signed by your commander if you are on active duty; or
-a DDForm 1300 or DDForm 1330 verifying active duty status if you are in the National Guard or Reserves.
How to find a VA-approved lender
A VA-approved lender will issue your loan and offer customer service. To find a VA-approved lender, you can:
-Get a recommendation—contact a Regional Loan Center to get a list of lenders that have experience with your local VA office.
-Work with a real estate professional—ask the agent or broker you work with if they know of any VA-approved lenders.
-Look online—zoom in on the map below to find a VA Regional Loan Center in your state, then look for contact information. You can also search the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Lender Locator.
The benefits of a VA home loan
One of the many benefits of having served in the military is access to the VA home loan program. This program, which is backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, provides eligible borrowers with a number of advantages, including low interest rates and flexible credit requirements.
In order to get a VA home loan, you’ll need to first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA. You can do this by submitting a completed VA Form 26-1880, “Request for a Certificate of Eligibility.” Once you have your COE, you’ll then need to find a lender that participates in the VA home loan program.
Once you’ve found a participating lender, the rest of the process is similar to that of any other mortgage loan. You’ll need to complete a loan application and provide income and asset documentation. The lender will then determine whether you qualify for the loan and how much they’re willing to lend you.
If you’re approved for the loan, you’ll then need to go through the standard closing process, which includes signing a promissory note, securing insurance, and so forth. Once all of that is complete, your loan will be funded and you’ll be on your way to owning your new home.
-How do I know if I’m eligible for a VA home loan?
-What are the benefits of a VA home loan?
-How do I apply for a VA home loan?
-What documents do I need to apply for a VA home loan?
-What is the interest rate on a VA home loan?
-Can I use my VA home loan for a cash-out refinance?