Applying for your Certificate of Eligibility is just one part of the larger VA home loan application process.
If you’re a Veteran, active military member, or the surviving spouse of one, then a VA loan could be your path to homeownership. With low-interest rates, no down payment, and easy credit score requirements, VA loans make buying a home simpler and less stressful than other mortgage options.
Are you considering a VA loan for your home purchase? Here’s how the VA loan application process works.
To apply for a VA loan, you’ll need several documents, including your discharge or separation papers (if you’re a Veteran) or your statement of service (if you’re still serving).
National Guard and Reserve members will need a report of separation, record of service, or retirement points statement if they were never activated. Surviving spouses will need proof of Dependency & Indemnity Compensation, their marriage license, and a death certificate to apply.
Other documents you may need include:
All borrowers will need a Certificate of Eligibility, too. We’ll talk about applying for a COE in just a bit.
VA loans are only available for Veterans, military members, and their spouses. So first, you’ll need to be sure you (or your spouse) meet the VA’s basic military service requirements.
Surviving spouses will need to meet different requirements, which you’ll find on the VA’s website.
Applying for your COE — or Certificate of Eligibility — is next on the list. This is an official document from the Department of Veterans Affairs that asserts your eligibility for the VA loan program. It also details your military service, discharge status, and your total loan entitlement.
To apply for your COE, you can:
Having your lender request your COE is typically the fastest and most hassle-free option, and it comes at no extra cost.
Only certain mortgage companies are allowed to issue VA loans. Your best bet is to apply with a mortgage lender that specializes in VA loans, as these loans require a bit more red tape than your typical mortgage loan.
Getting preapproved is your next step, so fill out your chosen lender’s preapproval form as soon as possible. You’ll want to do this before beginning the home search, as it can help you better understand your budget. It can also give sellers more confidence in your offers and even help you stand out in a crowded market.
After your application is preapproved, you can start searching for that dream home.
When you’ve found a property you like, you’ll: