07 Oct VA Mortgage: Application Procedure, Credit Score & Eligibility
One of the most hard-earned military benefits, VA home loans, are available to qualifying former and current military members. With a promise of no down payment requirement to the lowest interest rates, VA mortgages help Veterans purchase their dream home without worrying about paying cash up-front.
If you are wondering how to get a VA home loan, there are certain eligibility guidelines you must cater to secure this hard-earned benefit. Here’s everything you need to know about the eligibility criteria and application procedure to qualify for a VA loan.
How To Get A VA Home Loan?
It’s true that qualifying for a VA loan is easy. However, you must meet specific eligibility criteria to qualify. To get started with your VA loan application, you must apply for the COE (Certificate of Eligibility).
To qualify for the VA loan COE, you must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- You are a former/current military member who has served at least 90 consecutive days during peacetime.
- You are a former/current military member who has served at least 181 consecutive days during peacetime.
- You are a former/current national guard or reservist with at least 6 years of experience.
- You are a spouse of a former/current military member who lost their life in the line of duty or from a service-related injury/ailment/disease.
Another thing you must keep in mind is meeting the lender’s requirements. You must understand that the VA does not provide loans. These loans are provided by VA-approved private lenders. The department simply backs a part of the loan.
Though there are no credit score requirements for VA loans, certain private lenders might require you to have a credit score of at least 580.
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Moreover, you must also have enough residual income and an appropriate debt-to-income ratio.
VA Loan Application Procedure
Before you apply for the VA COE, it is recommended to get yourself pre-approved. Although it is not a mandatory requirement, getting pre-approved will give you an idea of how much you can afford. This will allow you to shop under a budget.
After getting pre-approved, the next step is to apply for the VA Certificate of Eligibility. You can either get it yourself or ask your lender to get it for you. However, asking your lender for the certificate will restrict your chances of contacting other lenders and comparing the quotes. Therefore, it is recommended to apply for the COE on your own.
The next step would be providing relevant documents to the lender. It is important to keep all documents easy to avoid last-minute hassles.
Once you have submitted the documents, you can go house-hunting. Though, you must ensure that the house you choose meets all Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) in order to qualify for the VA loan. Once you have chosen the house, a VA appraisal will take place. During the appraisal, the appraiser will evaluate the actual condition of the house by comparing it with at least 2-3 like-kind properties and ensure the property meets all MPRs. Once you get a positive pass on your appraisal, you can appear for loan closing.
There you have it. Getting a VA mortgage is that simple. To make the process more streamlined and quick, it is important to get all documents handy, even during the closing and read all documents closely to avoid hurdles.