VA Home Loans are available to veterans who served on active duty and have a discharge other than dishonorable after a minimum of 90 days of service during wartime, or a minimum of 181 continuous days during peacetime. A good resource for determining if you qualify for a VA home loan is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ website.
Similar to Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), VA loans require a funding fee. The funding is a charge by the Veteran’s Administration to guarantee the loan to a qualified veteran. It’s important to know you’re not required to pay the funding fee if receiving disability payments, or if you’re considered 10% disabled from service-related incident. Also, a surviving spouse of a Veteran who died in service or from a service connected disability is exempt. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a good resource to determine your VA funding fee amount.
The 5 Steps to Obtain a VA Loan:
- Step 1: Become pre-approved with a VA-approved lender Your lender will analyze your financial goals, provide you with a list of VA specific documentation needed for the loan, and provide you with a pre-approval letter.
- Step 2: Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility Veterans who don’t have a certificate can easily obtain one by completing VA Form 26-1880: Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits. They should then submit it to one of the VA Eligibility Centers with copies of their most recent discharge, or separation papers covering active military duty since September 16, 1940, which show active duty dates and type of discharge.
- Step 3: Find a new home and sign a purchase agreement As you begin browsing home listings and searching for a new home, we recommend using a trustworthy realtor, and we’re happy to providing you with one of our trusted realtor partners if you don’t have one.
- Step 4: Order an appraisal from the VA and submit your loan to underwriting Once a Veteran has found a home and signed a purchase contract, their lender will order the appraisal and their loan will be underwritten.
- Step 5: Close on the loan and move in.