VA loans have since helped about 18 million Veterans, Active Duty Service Members, and surviving spouses find and purchase their dream home.
Some of the benefits that come from VA home loans include:
- Low monthly costs
- Low-interest rates
- Zero down payment options
- No mortgage insurance premiums
- Ability to finance the funding fee
- No prepayment penalties
- 15 to 30-year fixed-rate mortgages
Step 1: Determine Eligibility
To determine your eligibility and get a VA home loan, you must meet at least one of these requirements.
- Served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty service during wartime.
- You must have served at least 180 consecutive days of active duty service during peacetime.
- If you’re a member of the National Guard or the reserves, you must have at least six years of service.
- If you’re the spouse of a deceased Service Member, your deceased spouse must have lost their lives while in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
Being eligible doesn’t only depend on your service; you must also have an income that qualifies for the loan. Eligible incomes include:
- VA disability income
- Social Security income
- Income from a full-time job
- Income from a part-time job, although two years of employment are necessary
- Self-employment income must be consistent for at least two years
- Eligible 1099 income that has continued for the last two years
- Retirement income and pensions
- Seasonal income, with a two-year history
- Child support income must have a three-year continuance
- Qualifying income from alimony must have a three-year continuance
- Qualifying income from a rental reported on your tax returns
Once your eligibility is determined, you will receive a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which will allow you to continue your journey to homeownership.
The pre-approval process will require that you talk to a lender about your income, assets, and debts.
That lender will then pull your credit score. After all the gathering of information, the lender will pre-approve you for a specific “maximum” loan amount.
However, it is crucial to understand that your mortgage pre-approval amount might change once the information you provided is double-checked and confirmed.
Step 3: Representation
Once you receive your pre-approval letter and your COE, you should get in touch with a realtor who will assist you in finding your potential future home.
Virginia Home Loan Centers can provide a realtor to represent you and find a property that meets your criteria, at reduced to no cost.
Properties that are purchased through a VA loan are required to meet VA property requirements. These requirements include:
- Single family residences must be safe to move into; any hazards and safety concerns may disqualify the property.
- Multi-family dwellings must also be safe to move into, with the applying service members or veterans occupying at least one of the units.
- Manufactured homes are required to be standing on permanent foundations.
- Mobile homes must be doublewides.
- Condos and Townhomes require approval by the VA. If the VA does not approve a specific condo that you’re interested in, we can help you with the process of getting the condo approved.
Once you find your home, your realtor will get you the property for the best possible terms and price, as well as write a contract and offer to purchase.
Step 5: Property Appraisal
After the seller accepts your offer, the property will be inspected and appraised by a third-party appraiser.
The appraiser will inspect the property and its amenities.
Also, appraisers will check current market trends and sale prices for similar properties.
It is important to note that you should also get an independent home inspector as the VA appraisers’ inspection is limited.
A home inspector will check all systems and components, where a VA appraiser will only check for basic habitability.
After the completion of all these steps, an Underwriter will complete their verification of your income, employment, and assets.
The last and final step to get your VA home loan is for you to sign the closing documents for the property. After this step, you will have completed the legal transfer of the property’s ownership.
Phil Georgiades is the Certified Leasing Specialist for VA Home Loan Centers, a government-sponsored brokerage specializing in VA Home Loans. He has been practicing real estate in a professional setting for the last 22 years. To apply for a VA loan.
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