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VA Homeownership Eligibility: Am I eligible?

That really depends on if you’ve served or not.

Have you been in the military?

If you’ve been in the military, then there is a good chance that you might be eligible for a VA loan.

Now, don’t get eligibility confused with qualifying for a VA loan – two very different things. We have a separate video on that.

But the deal is, qualification is more, “Hey, do I qualify for the loan? Like, do I have the income and everything else for it?”

Eligibility is really based around, “Am I eligible to use a VA loan?”

And then the next step would be to qualify, because will the VA say, “Hey, yes, I, Evan, Johnny, Sally, Sue, am eligible to use this VA loan?”

How does that really work?

Well, the key is everything revolves around one major document that’s called the Certificate of Eligibility. That’s why it even has eligibility in the name of the document. And this is the document issued by the Department of Veteran Affairs (the VA) that says so-and-so is indeed eligible to use the VA loan.

Now, if you pull that Certificate of Eligibility yourself, or you try to go get it, sometimes it doesn’t show up. So, you’ve got to end up requesting it and putting in some additional information.

Now, here’s the thing with the Certificate of Eligibility – you might hear it referred to (and I’ll refer to it here going forward) as a CoE.

The deal with the CoE is that you’ve got to request it from the VA and sometimes give them a little bit of additional information. And you, as a buyer, don’t have to do that by yourself.

Sometimes we’re working with buyers who are dealing with lenders that tell them they’ve got to go get it.

You don’t have to when you’re working with a lender, let’s say such as ourselves, that we deal with VA loans all day long.

If you’re working with us, we can pull that Certificate of Eligibility directly from the VA for you at no cost and do it very quickly.

But if you’re going to pull it yourself, it’s perfectly fine.

Just know that if you don’t have that CoE created yet, that they might ask you for some additional information – your name, Social Security, date of birth, all that good stuff.

And then, most likely, they’re going to see your DD214 or some type of proof of your service in the military. If you’re active duty, they might be needing some letter from a commander that you need to get everything set up and ready to go.

Now, usually the VA is pretty quick on responding with that, and if you’re not hearing anything for a week or two, know that’s a problem.

They’re typically getting back within three days with an official document. And if you call, man, they’ve really elevated their phone service game. So, if you call your VA regional center, I will say over the last couple of years, I’ve just seen their customer service skyrocket. I think, honestly, it might be because we spent billions of dollars on trying to improve the whole VA healthcare system and everything, but ironically enough, now the customer service is probably some of the best I’ve dealt with when dealing with loan concerns. Now, I shouldn’t say it’s just gold, gold standard, but overall, very good. I’ve only had one or two negative experiences calling into the VA specific to the VA Certificate of Eligibility.

So, the whole deal for eligibility is you need to have that Certificate of Eligibility.

And here’s the basics of it: did you serve at least 90 days of active duty military service?

That’s the basics today.

Some of the old-time folks might be looking back and thinking, “Hey, there’s all these different calculations you’ve got to make – was it wartime, or not wartime?”

Right now, 90 days of active duty military service is the basics of it.

If you’re Guard or Reserves, we’ve got some other good videos on that.

The basics, again, are 90 days of consecutive active-duty service. Or if you’re in the Guard, that can even go with Title 32 orders. So, not just Title 10 where it’s all federal, but even if it is a Guard-level Title 32 order, that can count as well now, and that’s a new one.

So just note, 90 days of active-duty service.

If you don’t have that, like you’re Guard, Reserves, six years is known as the general standard – essentially six good years at 50 plus points for reserve service, and just six years in general for the Guard side, and you’re typically going to be fine. But if you’ve got the 90 days of active duty, you’re in good shape.

So, the deal is you put in for that Certificate of Eligibility, and the VA is going to issue that CoE. That CoE is what you give to your lender, and we’re going to make sure it’s clean.

If you’ve already had past VA loans, that’s going to be explained on there.

If you’re exempt from the VA funding fee, like you have VA disability compensation, that’s going to be on there.

If you have VA disability compensation, they’ll confirm the award amount.

The document gives us a lot of good information. It’s typically just one page and has a lot of little info on it, a little grid like for an Excel spreadsheet on it, and we understand how to read that well.

The key is that gives us a lot of powerful information to make sure we know you are eligible for the VA loan. And then we also, as a lender, will take that and use it in your qualification for the loan as well.

Now, the changeover from eligibility to qualification is simply this: eligibility just means yes, Johnny is eligible to use a VA loan, does not mean he can get it and that it will work, but he is eligible to try to use the VA loan.

Now we qualify you to make sure that you can use that VA loan with the income, the scenario, the price point that you’re wanting, everything.

We qualify you to make sure that can be done.

So then all of a sudden, we’re using that CoE as well to check for the income, the exemption – of maybe that VA funding fee if you have outstanding VA loans – to check the county loan limits and if it’s going to impact you.

We have another good video on that if you look at county loan limits and how to account for VA loan limits as a whole. We use that sheet to check everything for you.

So, eligibility, think the main thing that comes out of this is Certificate of Eligibility from the VA. Ask your lender about it.

If you’re working with a lender that doesn’t understand that or is telling you to go get it, please reach out. My name’s Evan Kaufman. I’m your VA loan originator. I hope this helps to give you some good information to go out there and win a home with the VA.

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2024 VA Home Loan Guide

VA Guide

This short guide is designed to provide you the most important details of the VA Loan in an easy-to-use format. Print it out and read at your leisure.

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