• According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans are made by financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. These loans are guaranteed by the federal government. The benefit of VA loans is that a down payment isn't usually required and mortgage insurance isn't required. However, before securing a VA home loan, it helps to have a few tips.

    Completing a Certificate of Eligibility

    According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, applicants for a VA loan must complete a VA Form 26-1880. On this form, you'll need to provide dates of active service and attach proof of service. Military discharge papers are an acceptable form of proof. If you're still serving, include a statement of service, which can be obtained from your director. On these papers, your social security number must be included. You'll also need to list previous VA loans, even if you don't own the property any longer. Some lenders have access to a system called "Web LGY." This system generates an online certificate of eligibility within minutes. However, if the lender can't process your information, you'll need to send in the VA Form 26-1800.

    Family Member Eligibility

    Surviving spouses of veterans may qualify for VA home loans, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. However, the spouse must not be remarried (unless they're over the age of 57). Children of veterans aren't eligible for VA home loans.

    Getting Approved for a Loan

    Once the lender has completed the certificate of eligibility, they will evaluate the borrower's income and credit information. Once approved, the VA borrower can make an offer on a home and sign a purchasing agreement. Once the loan has gone through the escrow process (takes approximately 30 days or longer in some cases), the veteran will attend a loan closing to sign the mortgage note and other necessary paperwork.


    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Eligibility Frequently Asked Questions Home Buying

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