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Whether someone serves in the military or is a civilian, the process for home loan approval can be daunting. But for those who are active or retired from service, being approved for a VA loan isn’t as difficult as it may seem.


While the VA loan process is pretty straightforward, there are rules and regulations to follow. Here’s a brief rundown of what is needed to apply and be approved for a VA loan.


Choose a VA Lender

At first glance, it might seem like all lenders are the same. However, VA lenders can vary in their requirements for approval, terms of loan, and even the type of loans they offer. It’s worth noting that only lenders who are approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs can offer VA loans.


Secure Certificate of Eligibility

Military loans differ from civilian loans. Those seeking a VA loan must secure a certificate of eligibility, verifying that the applicant has met the criteria for eligibility. In addition, it also provides insight into how much entitlement an applicant can receive.

Entitlement is the amount of funding the Department of Veteran Affairs guarantees against a loan. In most cases, a COE can be ascertained on the chosen lender’s website. Alternatively, applicants can also obtain a COE on the eBenefits website.


Get Pre-Approved

While it’s not necessarily required, applicants can also be pre-approved prior to house hunting. This simplifies the house hunting process and gives applicants an idea of how much they can afford.


Start Shopping

This is the least stressful and often the most exciting part of the process. Before touring homes, make a list of must-haves and things that are negotiable. For instance, some homebuyers demand a gourmet kitchen while others are happy to buy a home that needs renovation. Once the perfect home is found, a purchasing agreement is then signed.


Home Appraisal and Loan Approval

The final steps of the VA loan process is appraisal by a VA inspector. If the home meets the VA requirements, applicants can go to closing. If not, a list of what needs to be repaired will be provided. It’s at this point potential buyers can choose to work with the seller or continue their search.


While the process is similar to other types of home loans, VA loans do have specific rules and regulations. Take the time to prepare necessary paperwork in advance to save time and money.