Since 1944, the VA Home Loan program has enabled over 20 million Veterans to achieve their goals of homeownership. Buying a home with a VA loan is a straightforward process that more and more Veterans take on each year. Here are the six steps to VA home loan success:
Step 1: Find a Qualified Lender
- Only lenders approved by the VA can originate VA home loans
- Though many larger institutions offer VA loans, lenders who exclusively serve military clients may offer an easier, more custom-tailored experience
- Once you find the right lender, they’ll be able to guide you through the entire VA home loan process, from start to finish
Step 2: Obtain Your COE
- Your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document that proves to the lender that you meet military service requirements
- Your lender can help you determine which evidence you need to provide to the VA and obtain your COE instantly
- You can also use the VA’s eBenefits portal at va.gov to obtain your certificate
Step 3: Get Pre-Approved
- Pre-Approval helps you cover all of your bases and avoid any mistakes in the VA home loan process
- Your lender will discuss factors such as debt-to-income ratio (DTI), employment, marital status and credit history to determine your estimated home budget
- A pre-approval letter gives you a price range to shop for. The ideal scenario is when a VA underwriter has reviewed your file and issued a formal loan approval, contingent upon the property.
Step 4: Find Your Home
- Work with a VA-savvy real estate professional to find a property that fits your desired location, style and budget
- Your real estate agent will help you negotiate and put together a purchase contract
- With a purchase agreement, signed by the seller, you’re ready to apply for a VA loan
Step 5: Apply
- Your lender will walk you through the steps of how to complete your loan application and advises you on gathering the necessary documents
- A VA appraisal will be carried out to ensure that the property meets the VA’s requirements and the property is worth what you have agreed to buy if for.
- Once the VA underwriter verifies that you qualify for the loan and the home passes appraisal inspection, the underwriter will issue a final stamp of approval
Step 6: Close
- Follow the instructions of your lender and real estate agent to complete the closing steps
- Pay any closing costs (if required) and provide proof of homeowner’s insurance
- Collect the keys to your new home!
Although getting a VA home loan may seem complicated at first, breaking it down to these six steps and working with a qualified lender will make the process as fast and easy as possible.