How to Apply for a VA Loan
The VA home loan is regarded as one of the most rewarding benefits a veteran can receive. After all, veterans have dedicated their lives to preserving our freedom, it’s fitting they should have some special rewards. But if you think a VA loan is in your future, how do you go about applying for a VA loan?
First, you’ll need to determine if you’re eligible for a VA loan. Honorably discharged veterans of the armed forces qualify but there others who might qualify for a VA home loan yet are not aware of the opportunity. Certain active duty personnel, National Guard and Reserves and other specially designated citizens discover their eligibility. If you’re curious if you’re in one of the eligible groups, check this link to see if you might qualify.
If you are one of the fortunate, the first thing to do is find your DD-214 and file for your Certificate of Eligibility, or COE. The COE will have your eligibility information as well as your qualified VA guarantee amount on this form. You can visit the www.valoancaptain.com to download a copy of the COE request form and mail it in or, and perhaps the easiest, contact a VA lender and have them make the request on your behalf. Qualified VA lenders have access to a special online portal called ACE, or the Automated Certificates of Eligibility, that can both request and retrieve your COE in a matter of moments.
Your next step is to contact a lender with experience approving VA home loans. Not every lender is approved to underwrite VA loans; there are some special qualifications to achieve this special status. Ask your real estate agent, friends or co-workers if they know of a good VA lender. Do some research and ask questions. Most national lenders have their own VA lending department as well as other mortgage companies who have loan officers with experience in originating, processing and approving a VA loan.
When you’ve selected your VA lender, you will complete a loan application provided by your loan officer and provide your most recent paystubs, tax returns, bank statements and a host of financial documents and disclosures for you to review. Your lender will then document your file, review your credit report and issue a “pre-approval” letter that states you have applied for and have been initially approved for a VA mortgage.
The rest is up to you. Now go find that home!