As a veteran or service member, you have earned valuable benefits to help you achieve the American dream of home ownership. The VA home loan program provides military personnel the opportunity to purchase a home with no down payment and no private mortgage insurance. However, to take advantage of this program and become a homeowner, you must first complete the VA home loan application. The application requires you to provide detailed information about your income, employment, assets, and liabilities to determine your eligibility and how much you can borrow. While the application process can seem daunting, this guide will walk you through each section to help you complete the VA home loan application accurately and efficiently. With some time and patience, you will be well on your way to using your VA home loan benefit.
Understanding the VA Home Loan Application Process
To complete the VA home loan application, you must first gather the necessary documents and understand the application process.
You will need documents to verify your income, employment, assets, and veteran status. These typically include:
- W-2 and 1099 tax forms from the last 2 years
- Pay stubs from the last 30 days
- Bank statements from the last 2 months
- Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to prove veteran status
Apply Online or With a Lender
You can apply for a VA home loan on the VA website or work with a VA-approved lender. Either way, you will need to provide the documentation from Step 1. Applying online yourself may save time, but a lender can guide you through the process and help ensure your application is complete and accurate.
Undergo a Credit Check
The VA and/or lender will review your credit to determine your eligibility and loan terms. Be upfront about any credit issues so you can discuss options to strengthen your application.
Obtain a Property Appraisal
An appraiser will determine if the property meets the VA’s minimum property requirements (MPR) and estimate the property value to ensure the loan amount does not exceed the VA limits in your area.
Await Final Approval
If your application, credit, and property appraisal check out, the VA will issue your final approval, also known as a Notice of Value (NOV) or Notice of Reasonable Value (NORV). You can then proceed to closing on your new home.
Following these steps carefully and working with a knowledgeable lender will help streamline your VA home loan application process. Best of luck becoming a homeowner!
Gathering Documents Needed for the VA Home Loan Application
To complete the VA home loan application, you will need to gather several documents to verify your eligibility and the property details.
Income and Employment
You will need to provide pay stubs for the last 30 days to prove your income. If self-employed, submit tax returns for the last two years. Retirement account statements may also be requested.
Your credit report shows your credit history and score. Request a free credit report to check for any errors before applying. A higher score will increase your chances of approval and lower interest rates.
Provide the most recent statements, preferably for the last two months, for all your accounts to show your assets and down payment funds.
Submit the listing details or purchase agreement for the home. An appraisal ordered by the VA will determine if the offer price is reasonable and if the property meets minimum property requirements (MPRs).
DD Form 214
If a veteran, submit your DD Form 214 to prove your service. Discharge status must be “honorable”.
Other items may be needed such as divorce decrees, bankruptcy papers, Social Security award letters, etc. depending on your individual situation.
Preparing these documents in advance will help streamline the application process. Be ready to submit any follow up items requested by your VA lender. With the right documentation and a strong application, you’ll be well on your way to qualifying for your VA home loan.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Filling Out the VA Home Loan Application
To complete the VA home loan application, follow these steps:
Gather the Required Documentation
You will need to provide specific documents to verify your eligibility for a VA home loan. Make sure you have the following information on hand:
- Your DD Form 214 to prove military service
- W-2 forms and pay stubs to verify income
- Bank statements to show assets and down payment funds
- Information on the property you wish to purchase
Fill Out VA Form 26-1880
VA Form 26-1880, also known as the Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits, must be completed to determine if you qualify for a VA home loan. You can fill out and submit this form on the VA website. The VA will review your information and documentation to issue a COE if you are eligible.
Apply for a VA Home Loan
Once you have obtained a COE, you can apply for a VA home loan with a VA-approved lender. The lender will have you complete their own application, in addition to VA Form 26-1880. They will use the documents you gathered to verify the information on both applications.
The lender will review your application and documentation to determine how much you can borrow based on your income, assets, debts, and the purchase price of the property. If approved, the lender will issue you a loan estimate detailing the terms of your VA home loan.
Provide an Appraisal and Inspection
An appraisal of the property must be conducted to ensure the purchase price does not exceed the fair market value. A professional home inspection is also required to check for any major defects that need to be addressed before closing on the loan. Both the appraisal and inspection reports must be submitted to your lender.
Following these steps carefully will help ensure your VA home loan application is processed as smoothly as possible. If you have any questions about what is needed or the status of your application, be sure to contact your VA-approved lender.
With the information provided in this guide, you now have a solid overview of what to expect with the VA home loan application process. While the paperwork and documentation required may seem daunting, taking it step by step and ensuring you have everything in order will help make the experience as seamless as possible. Once submitted, be prepared for additional questions and requests from your lender to clarify information. Do not get discouraged—this is standard procedure to verify details and ensure your eligibility. If at any point you feel overwhelmed or have concerns about your ability to provide requested documentation, do not hesitate to speak with your loan officer. They are there to help guide you through the process and want you to succeed. With patience and persistence, you will get through the application and be well on your way to utilizing your VA home loan benefits to purchase your new home.