A VA Loan Pre-approval is a critical part of the process. It allows you to get an estimate of how much money you’ll be approved for and gives you an estimate of the costs you will have during the process. Pre-approval can also help streamline your lending process by giving lenders a better idea about what kind of rate they can offer you. Here’s everything you need to know about getting pre-approved for a VA loan:
The Benefits of Getting a VA Loan Pre-Approval
Getting a pre-approval for your VA Loan is a very important step in the process. It allows you to get started on shopping for your home and know exactly how much you can afford. Sometimes there are things that come up during the home-buying process that might change your mind about what type of home you want or where it should be located. This will help with those decisions.
When getting a pre-approval, many mortgage lenders will have guidelines that they follow when determining how much they will lend someone based on their credit score, income, and other factors. You may be eligible for a VA Loan, but not qualify for the loan based on these factors.
A pre-approval letter is usually good for 120 days (about 4 months) which gives them time to find the right home.
The Pre-Approval Process
You can use a VA loan to purchase a home in the United States, including condominiums, manufactured homes, and townhomes. The property must be for your personal residence, not an investment property or second home.
A VA loan is designed for those who have served or are serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, or National Guard It has some unique benefits that make it attractive: no down payment required; competitive interest rates; potentially lower fees than other types of loans; and flexible underwriting requirements.
The first step will be to prove your eligibility for a VA Loan. This is done with a certificate of eligibility.
Obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility
A Certificate of Eligibility (COE) is a document supplied by the Department of Veterans Affairs that informs a lender that you are eligible for a VA loan.
1. The easiest and best method of obtaining a COE, in our opinion, is going directly to your lender. VA-approved lenders can tap into a VA database and often get your COE in seconds.
2. Go to the eBenefits portal and log in or create a new account.
3. Completing a request for the Certificate of Eligibility form and mailing it to a regional loan center.
What You Need to Know About Credit Scores for VA Loans
It’s important to know that a credit score is not the same as your credit report. A credit report includes information like the name of your creditors, how much you owe, and whether you’ve made late or missed payments. Your credit score is a numeric representation of the information in your report. It can range from 300 to 850 and gives lenders an idea of how likely you are to repay a loan.
A low credit score doesn’t mean you won’t qualify for a VA loan; it just means that getting approved may be harder because lenders will have less confidence in your ability to repay them if something goes wrong down the road (such as paying late or missing payments).
The good news is that you can improve your credit score by paying down debt, making on-time payments, and asking for a free copy of your report to make sure there aren’t any mistakes.
Income Requirements for the VA Loan Pre-Approval
When applying for a VA loan Pre-Approval, you need to make sure that your income will be sufficient to support the new home. Your income must show proof of stability and that it will continue into the future. Your lender will consider both your current income and any increases or decreases in your income during the past two years before deciding whether they believe you have sufficient funds to repay the loan.
Eligible Income types for VA loans include the following:
- Salary and wages (including BAH and BAS)
- Self-employment income
- Social Security benefits
- Child support
- Disability Income
- Income from veterans’ compensation
- VA benefits
- Military retirees pay
- Unemployment compensation
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Providing paperwork to document your income and assets
The lender will use this information to determine the maximum amount you can borrow.
The lender may require:
- A copy of your most recent pay stubs or LES (for the last 30 days)
- Your most recent W2 or 1099 and tax returns form for the last 2 years
- Your most recent bank statements for the last 60 days (2 months)
- Photo ID
You will most likely have more paperwork throughout the process but this should help you get through a pre-approval.
Getting pre-approved for a VA loan puts you ahead of the game.
Being pre-approved for a VA loan puts you ahead of the game. When it comes time to make an offer on a home, lenders will often require that you’re pre-approved before they agree to consider your offer. Being pre-approved also helps you to shop with confidence and avoid wasting time looking at homes that don’t meet your needs or fit into your budget.
If you’re looking to purchase a home and want to take advantage of the benefits that come with a VA loan, it’s always best to get pre-approved for one ahead of time. This is because there are so many different factors involved in getting approved for a mortgage that having all the paperwork ready means less time spent on your end going through the process.