Can Your VA Lender Obtain the COE for You?

If you are a veteran that is eligible for VA loan benefits, you have to prove it. The only way to do so is with the COE or Certificate of Eligibility. While there are several ways to obtain the certificate on your own, the fastest way is usually with your VA approved lender.

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What is the COE?

The COE or Certificate of Eligibility is an official certificate from the government proving your right to VA loan benefits. Without this certificate, a lender cannot be certain that you are eligible for the VA guaranty. Without that guaranty, the lender is at serious risk by providing you with 100% financing at a low cost and with minimal closing costs.

Because of the risks, lenders want to be certain beyond a reasonable doubt that you qualify for the loan. Unless you have 4 to 6 weeks to wait for the certificate to arrive in the mail, it’s best to let the lender get it for you.

Lenders Get the COE Quickly

If you’ve chosen a lender that will underwrite your loan, you can have this lender secure the COE for you. The lender can usually get the certificate in a matter of minutes. A word of caution, though – if you are not sure which lender you will ultimately use, don’t have them pull the certificate for you. If a lender does pull it, the certificate is only good for that lender. If you change your mind and decide to go with a different lender, you’ll need a new certificate.

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VA approved lenders can use the VA’s automated system to obtain the certificate. All you need to provide is proof of your service and your identifying information. The lender does the rest with the software program. This only works in ‘normal’ situations, though. If you have any of the following circumstances, the automated system will be unable to pull up your certificate:

  • You are a member of the National Guard or Reserves
  • You had a VA loan before and lost the home in foreclosure
  • You did not leave on an honorable discharge
  • You already used your entitlement and want to restore it
  • You lost your spouse in active duty
  • You did not serve adequate time in the service

These situations will require you to request the certificate yourself and possibly plead your case. For example, if you lost your home in foreclosure and it had VA financing, you lost that portion of your entitlement. The VA must determine how much remaining entitlement you have when you are eligible for a VA loan again, after sitting the waiting period out.

Also, if you already used your entitlement and need it reinstated, you must take care of it yourself. You must prove to the VA that you not only paid off the loan in full, but also that you sold the home. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but you would have to address them with the VA to see if you are eligible for any exceptions.

If your situation is ‘normal’ and none of the above situations apply to you, the lender should be able to get your COE for you. This method is usually the fastest, which is beneficial if you already have a purchase contract executed and want to get things moving.

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