If you are an active member of the Military, a veteran or a spouse of a member of the armed forces, you may qualify for a unique mortgage program from the Department of Veteran Affairs. VA loans offer some of the most affordable ways to finance a home purchase.
VA loans are exclusive to members of the Military and their spouses, and there are particular eligibility requirements. Here's what you need to know about qualifying for a VA loan.
Secure A Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document that proves you meet the requirement of being an active member of the Military, a veteran, a National Guard, a reserve member, or a surviving spouse. The COE, however, does not mean you qualify for a mortgage. It is just evidence that you are eligible for a VA loan program.
If you had previously applied for your COE but have since misplaced it, you can easily apply for another.
Check Credit Report for Errors
Your credit report determines your eligibility for a mortgage and the rate you qualify for. With a prequalifying application, we'll do a "soft credit check" to give you an idea of where you stand. When you are ready to apply, a "hard pull" will provide you with a definitive view of your financial health.
Review it for inconsistencies such as strange social security numbers, credit accounts you don't recognize, late payments that never happened, or incorrect balances.
If you find errors, dispute them with the credit bureaus. They now offer online dispute services, so correcting them goes by much faster.
Limitations of a VA Mortgage
VA loans are for purchasing primary residences, not a rental or vacation property. To make sure you indeed plan to make the property your primary residence, you'll be required to occupy the home within 60 days of closing. This may be waived if the house is undergoing significant renovations or if you are deployed. Note, however, that the spouse of the active military member can fulfill this requirement.
What Out For These VA Qualifying Mistakes
After submitting your COE, qualifying for a VA loan is straightforward. However, two actions could make your deal fall through.
Avoid Changing Employment
If you're a veteran, hold a civilian job while an active member of the armed forces, or are a surviving spouse, do not to make any changes to your employment. The length of work, amount of hours, and income all factor into the loan qualification decision. Changing employment while in the loan process could disqualify you!
Avoid Big Purchases
One of the factors used to determine your eligibility for a VA loan is your debt-to-income ratio which determines the amount of debt you carry compared to your income. So if you finance a big purchase, such as a car, it will increase your debt and change your ratio, disqualifying you from getting a VA loan.
Want to learn more about the benefits of a VA loan? Contact us! Our dedicated team of mortgage professionals has all the answers to your home loan and refi questions.