Who is eligible for VA loan?
VA loans are designed for veterans, military personnel, and military families. The eligible ones include:
- Veterans/active-duty personnel
（serving 90 days during wartime consecutively or serving 181 days during peace time）
- Selected Reserve members/ National Guard members
(serving more than six years)
- Spouses of service members who died when carrying out the task
Besides the requirements above, one has to meet the following requirements:
- Suitable credit
- Sufficient income
- A valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
- Using the home for personal occupancy
Applying for a VA loan
After making sure that they are eligible, the veterans can follow these steps to apply for a VA loan.
Step 1: Getting Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
Veterans can check whether they are eligible from the list above. After that, they can get their COE through eBenefits, or by mail (filing a VA Form 26-1880 and mailing it to the designated address on the form). They can choose from various loan types, including Purchase loan, Native American Direct Loan (NADL), Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) and Cash-out refinance loan.
Step 2: Finding a lender
Veterans can find a lender through friends’ recommendation or by searching on line.
Step 3: Getting VA loan preapproved
To get a VA loan preapproval, veterans should answer certain questions from lenders regarding their purpose of buying the house, military service, and employment history. After that, veterans need to check whether they have sufficient credit scores required by lenders and provide documents to prove key information.
Basic documents include:
- a copy of driver’s license or other government identification
- a copy of DD-214 or Reserve/ Guard points statements
- A statement of service for active duty borrowers
- Recent pay stubs and W-2s for the last two years
- Recent bank statements
- Disability award letters
*Document requests can be different considering veterans’ income, military service history, etc.
The loan officer will go over veterans’ documents and if everything has met the requirements, the lender will issue a preapproval letter. Thanks to preapproval letter, veterans can be well aware of their purchasing power and can prove that they are serious buyers.
Step 4: The House Hunt
If veterans have got their preapproval letter, they can start looking for their new home. During this process, they are welcome to get help from Veterans United which connects them with certain agency to better satisfy their needs.
Step 5: Getting under contract
After finding out the perfect house, veterans should submit a VA appraisal to lenders which estimates the current market value of the house. Lenders will compare the appraisal and veterans’ information such as their income and credit information in order to decide whether they will accept the application or not. If they do, lenders will find a company to close on the house and finance it.
Finally, when a buyer purchases a house using a VA loan, their contract should state clearly that both loan and the property are subject to VA approval.