The VA Loan Process from Start to Finish
Buying a home can be difficult and stressful for many buyers. When you are a service member, buying a home can seem equally daunting until you learn the amazing benefits of a VA loan. It’s easy to hear people talk about VA loans and how helpful they are, but do you really know the exact ins and outs of getting one? Here are the 6 steps involved with obtaining and using a VA loan for your next home purchase:
Step 1: Find a VA Approved Lender
When it comes to home loans, not all lenders are created equally. For starters, lenders who are approved by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs are the only ones allowed to offer VA loans. Further to that, not all approved lenders specialize in VA loans. Choosing a lender is a lot like choosing a real estate agent, you want to make sure the lender knows your unique situation and can cater their services to meet your personal needs.
Some lenders do both VA and conventional loans, but it’s often better to go with a lender who specializes in VA loans only. That way, you know you are working with someone who has extensive knowledge on the subject.
Step 2: Obtain Your Certificate of Eligibility
A certificate of eligibility or COE is needed to prove that you meet the initial eligibility requirements to get a VA loan. An experienced lender can help you obtain a COE, which is also guaranteed by the Department of Veteran Affairs. The COE also lets the lender know how much entitlement you can receive. You will need to give information about your service. In most cases, a COE can be obtained instantly through the lender’s website, however, there are some instances when the COE cannot be obtained online and must be facilitated by the lender.
Step 3: Get Pre-Qualified
Not all VA loan recipients get pre-qualified as this is an optional step, however, getting pre-qualified could save you some time in the future. Getting pre-qualified requires an in-depth look factors such as your income, credit score, employment status, marital status, and outstanding debts. Getting pre-qualified gives you an idea of your budget and helps with house hunting. It also prevents any unexpected surprises come underwriting time, and also works to point out any areas of your application where you may need improvement.
It should also be noted that getting pre-qualified doesn’t necessarily mean you will be approved for a loan. A VA loan requires final approval once the documents are complete, however, if you filled out the applications honestly and you get pre-qualified, there shouldn’t be any major problems.
Step 4: Find Your Dream Home!
This step involves looking at homes and working with a realtor to find the house that is right for you. We recommend working with a real estate agent who specializes in VA sales because they are able to navigate the system and make sure you are taking advantage of any fees or costs that are paid by the seller.
Once you have found your dream home and signed the purchase agreement, you then move into the final stages of the VA loan process.
Step 5: Get a VA Appraisal
This step is taken care of by the lender. The lender will order a VA appraisal by an expert that works with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to inspect and appraise the home to make sure it meets VA minimum property requirements or VA MPR. This typically happens within 10 days of the purchase agreement being signed.
Once the home passes the appraisal and VA MPR, the lender will confirm that you are qualified for the loan and then you on your way to homeownership.
Step 6: Close the Deal and Move
Once everything has been verified and confirmed by the underwriter, all you need to do is wait for the property to close and then get ready to move in. A property closes when the land legally transfers from the previous owner to the new owner. In order to finish the process, you must sign documents that say you understand the terms of the loan, after that, you will be handed the keys to your new home.
Learn more about VA loans and purchasing a home as a service member by contacting Military Home Search. For service in Colorado Springs, call 719-373-1906 or reach us toll-free at 800-205-6170.