How to Qualify and Apply for a VA Loan

Posted by Lauren Schneider on Tuesday, November 26th, 2019 at 9:23am.

How to Qualify and Apply for a VA LoanA VA loan is often the best way for a veteran to purchase a new home. VA loans are sponsored by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and they make it easier for veterans to purchase, renovate, or build a new home. Because the loans are government-sponsored, they have very specific qualifications that need to be met. Here is what Downtown Colorado Springs home buyers need to know about how to qualify for a VA loan.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage or home loan professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Homes Eligible for VA Loans

Not every home can be purchased with a VA loan. In order for a home to be eligible, it can be a condo, manufactured home, modular home, or new construction home. In some cases, buyers can also use a VA loan to purchase vacant land on which they can build a home. Co-ops are currently ineligible for VA loans, though it was possible to use a VA loan on one prior to 2011.

Who is Eligible For a VA Loan?

Contrary to popular belief, someone isn’t eligible for a VA loan as soon as they join the military. Also, they don’t have to be a member of the military themselves to qualify. In order to qualify for a VA loan, someone must meet one of these criteria:

  • They have served 90 days of active service during wartime
  • They have served 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • They have served at least six years in the National Guard or Reserves
  • They are the spouse of a service member who has either died or has been injured

While it’s possible for some people to meet more than one of these criteria, only one is necessary to apply.

Certificate of Eligibility

In order to qualify for a VA loan, the applicant needs a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). There are three ways an applicant can get their COE:

  • Apply through a VA-approved lender
  • Fill out an online application via the VA’s eBenefits portal
  • Apply by mail using the VA Form 26-1880

In order to obtain a COE, the applicant needs to have certain documents, and the documents vary depending on the type of service done. For instance, an active duty applicant would require a Statement of Service, while a veteran would need DD Form 214 (Report of Separation). Be sure to research which types of documents are required to get a COE.

Additional Requirements

In addition to all the requirements listed above, there are some additional requirements such as credit score and income requirements. The required credit score will vary depending on the lender, but most will usually require that every applicant has a score of at least 620. For income, the applicant must have a certain percentage leftover every month after the mortgage payment. The exact number depends on the lender and the applicant’s income. However, this is in place to help ensure the applicant has enough money to take care of their family and pay for other expenses.

Applying for a VA Loan

Once an applicant has met all the requirements listed above, they can finally apply for their loan. It typically takes 30-45 days for the loan to be processed, so applicants need to ensure they allow enough time so their intended move date isn’t affected. Once the applicant is sure all the requirements are met, they can reach out to a VA-approved lender in order to start their official application.

VA loans are extremely useful mortgages and can help veteran and active service members greatly when buying a new home. Like with any mortgage, a lot goes into meeting all of the qualifications and requirements. For more information about VA loans, be sure to reach out to a VA agent who can answer any and all questions.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed mortgage or home loan professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

Lauren Schneider

Lauren Schneider, Real Estate Agent and Military Relocation Professional (MRP)

Lauren Schneider has lived in Colorado Springs for nearly 20 years and knows that the military is what keeps this town ticking, which is one of the reasons she's chosen to pursue her dream of helping military families with all of their homebuying needs. Learn more about Lauren or start your home search now

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