Veterans Home Loans: What to Know Before Applying for a VA Home Loan Roger Odoardi Applying for a VA Home Loan Just Got That Much Easier More and more veterans today are applying for VA home loans as a means to achieve home ownership. These home loans for veterans often come with very few strings attached and involve no down payment. But while VA home loans are an increasingly popular way for a veteran to buy a home, not everyone has taken full advantage of this special military benefit. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than 1 million troops and 22 million veterans are eligible to apply for a VA home loan, yet only 1.9 million of the 16.4 million veterans who own homes obtained their loans through a VA home loan. Experts in the real estate field suggest this is likely because veterans are not aware of the process of applying for a VA home loan. Here’s a helpful breakdown of everything you need to know about before applying for a VA home loan: The FIRST thing you should do is determine whether you are even eligible for a VA home loan in the first place. Two of the most important requirements include: Suitable credit If your credit needs work, perhaps its better to take a step back first and utilize some of these simple tips to repair and rebuild your credit score. Sufficient income It’s always important to take a look at your finances before making a huge investment like buying a house. But in addition to identifying all of your expenses and debt, it’s also crucial that you all forecast future expenses. The SECOND thing you should do is obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This document verifies to a lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed loan. In order to obtain a COE, a veteran must meet certain service requirements. The VA luckily has broken down all of the eligibility requirements into this easy-to-read chart: The THIRD step in the process is to gather the documentation needed to verify you’re in fact eligible for a VA home loan. But be careful, this is where it can get tricky. The evidence you need to obtain a COE depends on not only the nature of your eligibility, but also the length of your service or service commitment and/or duty status. Take a second to check out this chart to determine the documentation needed to verify your eligibility for a VA home loan and how to submit the evidence and obtain a COE. The FOURTH and FINAL step in the process is to apply for the COE. This can be done either online, by mail or through your lender. While that may have seemed relatively painless, remember that you still must go through all of the various other steps of buying a home — such as house hunting, requesting a loan amount, and everything related to closing. Home loans for veterans are certainly worth the time and effort it takes to prepare and apply. A loan backed by the VA often includes many favorable terms, including: No down payment (as long as the sales price doesn’t exceed the appraised value) No required private mortgage insurance premium A limit on the amount closing costs At Blue Water Mortgage, we recognize the value VA mortgage loans bring to the lives of current service members and veterans alike. Contact us today to learn more about how we help veterans buy, build, and refinance their homes with the assistance of the VA. Roger Odoardi Roger is an owner and licensed Loan Officer at Blue Water Mortgage. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and has been a leader in the mortgage industry for over 20 years. Roger has personally originated over 2500 residential loans and is considered to be in the top 1% of NH Loan Officers by leading national lender United Wholesale Mortgage.