Purchasing a Home with a VA Loan: What's the Process Like?
If you’ve never used your VA loan benefits before and you’re getting ready to purchase a home, there are a few things you should know so you can simplify your VA mortgage application. Even if you’re not quite sure where to start, know that our Personal Mortgage Advisors will be able to walk you through every step of the veteran’s home loan process.
Step 1: Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility
If you’ve never obtained one before, you may be wondering how to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) so that you can secure your VA home loan financing. The COE is required by NLC Loans™ and other VA-authorized lenders to show that you are eligible to use your VA loan benefits.
We can help you obtain your COE so that we can get the loan process started for you, or you can get all the necessary information you need to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility directly from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Step 2: Get Pre-Qualified for a VA Loan
Once you have your COE, you’ll need to get pre-qualified for a VA loan. The pre-qualification process can be done over the phone and usually takes less than 20 minutes.
During pre-qualification, a Personal Mortgage Advisor will look at your credit, get some information about your income and expenses, and listen to your financial and homeownership goals. They will then let you know approximately how much money you should pre-qualify for. Then, you’ll get to the fun part—going house shopping!
A pre-qualification does not guarantee approval, however, it simply gives you a price range so you can narrow down a search for homes that fit your goals. When you are ready to secure your dream home, you should move forward with a mortgage application.
Step 3: Find Your Dream Home
House shopping is the best part of buying a home. Whether your ideal home is a suburban bungalow on a cul-de-sac in a great school system with a fenced-in yard for Fido or a chic downtown loft with a view of the city skyline, the options are endless and as unique as you are.
Once you’ve found the right home, be sure to check it for common problems that could cause you headaches down the road. When you’re ready, work with your real estate agent to put in an offer and sign a purchase agreement- you’re almost there!
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, you should be sure to include a VA Option Clause on your agreement. Your real estate agent will know how to construct this.
If the seller accepts your offer, you’re ready to put in a full VA mortgage application and move forward with the buying process.
Step 4: Apply for Your VA Loan
You and your Personal Mortgage Advisor will complete your VA home financing mortgage application. At this point, you’ll need to mail, email, or fax in documentation of income, tax returns, bank statements, and other necessary documents.
Your VA loan will then go into processing and underwriting. In general, it takes 30-90 days to close on a VA home loan. During this time, your Personal Mortgage Advisor will communicate with your regularly to let you know the status of your loan. You’ll have a home inspection, pest inspection, and appraisal done during this time period as well.
Once your loan is cleared to close, you’ll set a date to sign your papers (rest your writing hand the night before—there are a lot of signatures needed!) and then get the keys to your new home.
Step 5: Welcome Home!
After your loan closes, you’ll finally be able to move into your new home. This is an exciting time, so once you’ve got all your boxes unpacked and your belongings put away (or before you even start; we won’t tell!), sit back and relax and enjoy what home should feel like.