Taking a mortgage requires careful planning and preparation. If you enter the game without a game plan, you can end up exhausted, even surprised at all the paperwork and financial preparations you need to make to get through the whole process.
To ease your anxiety, we have outlined the VA loan process in this article so you will be adequately guided in taking this most important journey to homeownership.
Get your COE
To initiate your VA loan process, your lender needs to verify your
eligibility. You can prove this by presenting what is called the Certificate of Eligibility or COE.
You can request for your COE via:
a) Online. Go to the
VA online portal and login. If you don’t have login credentials yet, proceed to the Register box (upper right corner of the website) and follow the instructions. If you need directions, you can contact the eBenefits hotline at 1-800-983-0937 from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm.
b) Through your lender. Ask your lender if it they have the capacity to procure the necessary document for you. Some lenders can determine and issue a COE online via the Web LGY system.
c) Mail. You can also use the good old postal service. Please use this designated
form and fill out all the necessary information before mailing them. Mail them to:
VA Loan Eligibility Center
Attn: COE (262)
PO Box 100034
Decatur, GA 30031
In the case of surviving spouses, you may also apply for a VA loan and determine your eligibility. You have to apply via mail using
this form. If your veteran spouse passed away after his military service period, the VA must first determine that the cause of death was a service-connected disability. This can take around 2 to 3 months unless the said concern is already ruled out.
If you are unable to download or print the form, please give us a call at 1-888-768-2132, follow the instructions given to you, and they will then mail you the necessary document.
Find a lender
When finding a lender, it’s not enough that you only settle for whoever can disburse a VA loan. Some lenders have a better track record on the program and are therefore more tolerant of your special concerns as a VA borrower. Find one with the experience and the reputation.
Getting a pre-approval can help you determine the price range that you can use to select your home prospects. It can also sweeten the deal when bidding against other buyers, letting your seller know that you are serious about your intention to purchase the home and have indeed taken the initial steps to make sure the money is there when the deal is set.
Find a loan that fits your financing needs.
Pick a home of your choice
This should be an entirely different topic on its own, but at its core, selecting the proper home takes thorough consideration of factors such as maintenance costs, family size, and even your future plans. Enlist the help of a real estate agent who can give you a better perspective on things. They can also help you negotiate with the seller and work on the more technical parts of property procurement.
Complete your application
Once you and your seller have reached a purchase agreement, and the agreement is forwarded to the lender, an appraisal is then rolled out. The appraisal aims to determine that the property adheres to the minimum property requirements set by the VA. Take note that the appraisal does not include home inspection. If you want to ensure that the house is in good shape, or to know if there are repairs that must be made on the home, you need to commission an inspection on your own.
While this is ongoing, you should start forwarding all the necessary documents required by your lender. By the time the appraisal is concluded, the decision of whether you qualify for the loan or not should be already determined.
It should also be noted, however, that for the VA Streamline or IRRRL program, the appraisal part of the mortgage process is not strictly required to be undertaken, though some lenders may still proceed to do so.
And finally, this is where you put your signature on the dotted line and finalize the VA loan process. Before doing so, however, make sure you’ve read all the details of the agreement to prevent any surprises later on. Bring all the other required documents, such as a proof of the homeowner’s insurance, as well as the necessary cash to pay the costs of closing.
Once signed, you are now ready to start a new life in your new home.
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