14 Aug Understanding VA Loan Process and Eligibility Criteria
VA home loans are mortgage facilities provided by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to help Veterans struggling with homelessness. In addition to benefits like no downpayment requirement, lower interest rates and flexible guidelines, VA home loans also come with a smooth VA loan process and easy eligibility criteria.
Here’s an overview of the loan process and eligibility criteria.
APPLYING FOR A VA LOAN
To apply for a VA mortgage, you must establish your eligibility and apply for the VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
VA home loans are available to active military members, Veterans, reservists and family members. You must meet either of the following conditions to establish your eligibility-
- You are a current/former military member who has served at least 90 consecutive days during peacetime, OR
- You are a current/former military member who has served at least 1811 consecutive days during wartime, OR
- You are a reservist or a National Guard with at least six years of experience, OR
- You are a surviving spouse, family member or dependant of a military member who either went missing in action, was a prisoner of war or died in the line of action or from a service-related ailment.
What if you don’t meet the above-stated requirements?
Attaining your COE is the most important step of the VA loan process. If you are not able to meet the above-stated conditions, you might still qualify if your discharge was because of either of the following reasons-
- Force Reduction
- Service-Related Disability
- Medical Condition
THE VA LOAN PROCESS
After getting the COE, you can start with the loan process and step forward to purchase the house of your dreams.
The first step of the VA loan process is getting your pre-approval. While this step is not mandatory, it is often recommended. Getting pre-approved gives you an idea of how much loan amount you can qualify for. This will help you choose a property that is under your budget.
After getting an idea of the loan amount you might qualify for, you can move on to the most fun part of the VA loan process- House Hunting.
You can get in touch with a real estate agent, who will show you the VA-approved properties.
Remember to shop under the budget unless you are willing to pay the downpayment and ensure the property meets all the Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).
Coming Under Contract
After selecting your future home, you can move onto the next part of the VA loan process and apply for getting the property appraised.
After coming under contract, the VA will send a VA appraiser who will determine the actual cost of the property and ensure the house meets the MPRs.
The VA will approve the loan amount of whatever’s less- the selling cost or the appraised amount. If the amount is less than what the seller is willing to sell, you can bargain the cost, ask the VA to reconsider, pay the extra as a downpayment or walk away from the purchase.
If the VA orders some repairs, you must get them done as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary hassles. In case the VA rejects the house because the property is not able to meet the MPRs, you must walk away from the property and find a property that is eligible for VA loans.
After getting your repairs done and finalizing the selling cost of the home, it is time to sign the papers and move into your new home.
At this last step of the VA loan process, you must sign all the documents, pay the closing fees and submit any remaining documents.