What steps do I take to get a VA Loan?
First determine if you are eligible
Only Veterans are eligible for a VA loan
Veterans who served on active duty and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable, during World War II and later periods are eligible for VA loan benefits. World War II (September 16, 1940 to July 25, 1947), Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955), and Vietnam era (August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975) veterans must have at least 90 days’ service. Veterans with service only during peacetime periods and active duty military personnel must have had more than 180 days’ active service. Veterans of enlisted service which began after September 7, 1980, or officers with service beginning after October 16, 1981, must in most cases have served at least 2 years.
Persian Gulf Conflict. Basically, reservists and National Guard members who were activated on or after August 2, 1990, served at least 90 days and were discharged honorably are eligible. VA regional office personnel may assist with eligibility questions.
Members of the Selected Reserve, including National Guard, who are not otherwise eligible and who have completed 6 years of service and have been honorably discharged or have completed 6 years of service and are still serving may be eligible. The expanded eligibility for Reserves and National Guard individuals will expire September 30, 2003. Contact the local VA office to find out what is needed to establish eligibility. Reservists will pay a slightly higher funding fee than regular veterans.
Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility
A veteran who doesn’t have a certificate can obtain one easily by completing VA Form 26-1880, Request for a Certificate of Eligibility for VA Home Loan Benefits and submitting it to one of the Eligibility Centers with copies of your most recent discharge or separation papers covering active military duty since September 16, 1940, which show active duty dates and type of discharge.
Apply first to gain negotiation power with the seller
Apply to a mortgage lender for the loan. If the lender is authorized by VA to do automatic processing, upon receipt of the VA or LAPP appraised value determination, the loan can be approved and closed without waiting for VA’s review of the credit application. For loans that must first be approved by VA, the lender will send the application to the local VA office, which will notify the lender of its decision.
Go hunting for a home to purchase
Decide on a home you would like to buy and sign a purchase agreement.
Find a home and have your lender send out an appraiser
Most mortgage bankers know the system, so you really don’t need to do anything here but choose a good mortgage banker, s/he will do the rest.
Last but not least…
Close the loan and move in!
Comments from a REALTOR…
Purchasing a home with a VA Loan is not as difficult as some lenders would like you to believe. VA Loans have significant benefits for our Veterans and should be considered when shopping for a home loan. There are a few pitfalls though. To avoid them it is important to have a solid strategy in place prior to writing an offer on a home. Call me and I’ll be happy to discuss this with you.
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