Approved VA lenders must meet specific requirements set forth by the VA in order to receive the coveted status of a VA-approved mortgage company. An approved VA lender has the ability to originate, process and approve a VA loan application in-house without the need to send the file to others for validation. Approved VA lenders also get to take advantage of specific technological applications used to speed up the loan approval process. What are they?
The first designation allows a lender to order and receive an appraisal and underwrite the appraisal internally without the need to forward the appraisal to the VA for approval. This program is called the Lender Appraisal Processing Program, or LAPP. LAPP-approved VA lenders are able to shorten the appraisal approval process significantly.
VA approved lenders also have access to the Automated Certificate of Eligibility, or ACE. VA lenders verify a veteran’s eligibility for a VA loan by reviewing the borrower’s certificate of eligibility, or COE. This certificate validates both the eligibility as well as the borrower’s current entitlement amount. A veteran can request a COE on their own by mail or online, but the most efficient way to obtain the COE is working with a VA lender who has access to ACE. The COE can be obtained almost instantaneously.
VA lenders can also evaluate a property value with an automated valuation model, or AVM. And AVM is not used to establish a property’s current value, that’s what an appraisal is for, but can sometimes be used to simply get a “second opinion” on a property’s value. At times, while an appraisal is completed per VA guidelines, a VA lender wants more information. This system uses online real estate data to provide approximate property valuations to a lender. An AVM can also be used to obtain a general idea of a property’s value before a full appraisal is ordered.