When it comes to home loans, the VA program is one of the most popular programs on the market. And rightly so, in our opinion here at TwinCity Lending. But many veterans aren’t sure how to start the process of securing a VA mortgage. It may feel overwhelming to get started, but the first step is to obtain your VA home loan certificate of eligibility.
This vital document also called a COE, is where your VA lending process begins. The VA loan eligibility letter tells the lender that you can receive home loan funding through this unique program.
The team at TwinCity Lending is proud to serve our nation’s active and veteran military members. It is an honor to help you secure a home loan so that you can enjoy the many benefits of the American Dream.
What Is a VA Home Loan?
Before getting too far into your eligibility journey, let’s clarify what a VA home loan is and how it works. This program has been vital in the stability of our nation.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs oversees the VA home loan program. Passed in 1944 as part of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, the VA home loan provides backing for mortgages for those who serve in the military.
The Department of Veterans Affairs does not extend the loan for a home purchase. Instead, it guarantees the loan so that a lender has less risk in making it. Many service people leave the military without a credit history. And obviously, someone who is actively serving or recently discharged doesn’t have a traditional job history either.
With traditional home loans, these two factors would be stumbling blocks. Lenders would see this sort of borrower as too big of a risk. The VA-backed loan, however, provides partial repayment of the mortgage if the borrower cannot pay. This minimizes the risk that a lender must take.
In addition to backing the loan, the VA program also offers:
- Low or zero-down payment requirements
- Lower credit score requirements
- More lenient income requirements
Those who qualify can use the VA home loan option to purchase a condo, mobile home, or single-family dwelling for their primary residence. It also allows borrowers to secure a loan to build or refinance their primary residence. It is not available to use for second homes or investment properties.
A home loan through the VA provides an incredible opportunity for military members and their families. It is a well-earned benefit for their service.
How Do I Get a VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility?
To secure your crucial COE, you will have to verify that you are eligible for the loan. There are specific requirements based on when you served, whether it was during war or peace, and how long you served. The reason for your separation from the military is also a factor.
Once you know that you are eligible for the program, you need to obtain the VA loan eligibility letter. To secure your certificate of eligibility, you can apply online through the Department of Veterans Affairs website. You can also apply by mail, although this takes more time.
As soon as your document arrives, you are ready to work with a lender to secure a home loan. The COE will work for any lender who offers VA mortgage options. Take the time to choose a lender you trust and who will answer all your questions. Many veterans opt to work with a mortgage broker such as TwinCity Lending to receive the best service, selection, and interest rates.
What Is the Process for Getting a VA Home Loan?
When you have your COE in hand, obtaining your home loan will look much like it does for anyone else. Once you have chosen a lender or broker, the process is generally quite simple. It typically breaks down into five steps.
1. Get a Pre-approval Letter from Your Lender
Whoever you choose to work with for your VA home loan will generate a letter of pre-approval. This letter tells you and your real estate agent how much you can spend on a home. Once you are ready to make an offer on a property, this letter is crucial. It shows the seller that you are prepared to move forward right away. Buyers without this letter have a harder time entering into a contract.
2. Find Your Perfect Home
Work with an experienced realtor to find the right house for you and your family. Unless you have a critical time frame to work within, you don’t need to rush. Buying a home is one of the most significant investments you will make, so go ahead and take the time you need.
3. Enter into Contract on a Property
Your real estate agent will help you make an offer once you find the home you want. If the seller accepts, then you are under contract to buy the house. Congratulations! This step is when your VA home loan lender will kick into high gear. There will be an appraisal and inspection, and you will likely need to provide more documentation to the lender.
4. Close the Transaction
At TwinCity Lending, once we have all your documents, we typically can close on your home loan within two weeks. Assuming nothing significant shows up in the inspection and appraisal process, this is a relatively speedy part of buying a home. When you and the seller have signed everything, the paperwork will go into the county records. At that point, you will have the keys to your new home.
5. Move into Your New Home
Now it’s time to enjoy this well-deserved reward of homeownership. You served with bravery and honor, and now you can cherish a home of your own. Thank you for your service.
Connect with a Premier Mortgage Broker
TwinCity Lending offers personalized concierge service to all of our clients. And it is an honor to serve those who have served our nation.
Reach out today with any questions about the VA home loan process. Our expert team will help you on your road to buying your very own home.