One of the most common questions Veterans have when buying a house with a VA loan is whether or not they need a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to get started. The COE serves as a critical part of the VA loan process because lenders use it to verify that service requirements are met. Many Veterans wonder if they should first go to the VA and obtain a COE before getting in touch with a VA home loan lender.
The fact is that your lender can help you find out which documents you need and quickly obtain your COE from the VA. While there’s no need to wait for your COE to get the process started, there are pros and cons to obtaining your COE ahead of time.
The Pros and Cons of Obtaining Your Certificate of Eligibility from the VA
Some Veterans want to verify their VA home loan eligibility before getting in touch with a lender. Reasons for this may be a peace of mind — knowing you could get a VA home loan guaranty if you want one — or just curiosity. The issue is that dealing with the VA directly for your COE can be a challenge, especially if you are not a fan of paperwork.
The VA needs certain documentation from you before it can issue a COE. These requirements vary based on the nature of your eligibility. Veterans, Reservists, and Active Duty Service members may need to supply different forms. In addition, requirements differ for members of the National Guard and Selected Reserves who have been activated for Federal active service and those who have not.
Surviving Spouses also have their own unique evidence requirements. You can find out the specific evidence needed from the VA’s COE page. If you choose to apply for your COE directly, you will have your application returned if any of the required documentation is missing. In this case, the VA will let you know what is wrong with your application and detail how you can make the corrections.
If you want to check on your eligibility on your own, try the VA eBenefits portal.
You Don’t Need a COE to Get Started
With all the challenges that can arise with obtaining your COE, your best bet is to have your lender walk you through the process. They’ll help you determine your eligibility requirements and get the forms you need. Once you’ve got the necessary documents in place, your lender can obtain your digital COE within seconds.
Looking for more information on the VA loan process? Scroll down on our home page until you find a specific topic that interests you, or you can search our site.
A Better Way to Buy a House with a VA Loan
If you’re looking to make the most of your VA home loan benefits, the team at SoCal VA Homes is committed to your success. We choose to only work with military borrowers because we believe our country’s heroes deserve a superior home buying experience.
By working with a VA-savvy real estate agent and a top-tier VA loan lender, buying a house with a VA loan can be a smooth and straightforward process, from start to finish. Simply contact our experienced team at SoCal VA Homes, and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction, whether you have your COE or not.