Before applying for a VA home loan, you must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). A COE is a VA home loan pre approval that can be used to get a VA loan quote from approved lenders in your area. To obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, you will need to meet the requirements of the loan.
To qualify for any VA loan, veterans generally must have served on active duty for a specific amount of time. Active-duty service members can also meet these requirements. The service-related requirements vary based on several factors, including:
- Your branch of service
- The dates of your service
- The presence of a service-connected disability
Furthermore, you cannot receive a VA home loan if you were dishonorably discharged. Surviving spouses or veterans and military service members can also qualify for VA home loans. Surviving spouses can generally qualify if their military spouse:
- Is missing in action (NIA)
- Died from a service-connected disability or in active-duty and the spouse did not remarry
- Had a service-connected disability before their death. In some cases, the disability does not have to be the cause of death for a surviving spouse to qualify for a VA loan
In addition to the above requirements, you will need to meet eligibility requirements specific to the loan you are applying for. For example, you must use the loan towards its intended purpose.
VA purchase loans can be used for any of the following:
- The purchase of a single-family home
- The purchase of a multi-family home (up to four units)
- The purchase of a condo in a VA-approved complex
- The purchase and renovations of a home
- The purchase of a manufactured home
- Financing to build a new home
- Energy-efficient upgrades to a home
VA cash-out refinance loans can be used for:
- Changing a non-VA loan into a VA backed mortgage
- Converting your current home’s equity to cash
An Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan can only be used to refinance a VA backed mortgage. VA refinance rates can vary between lenders.
Additionally, to qualify for a Native American Direct Loan, you must meet the previous service requirements and:
- Be a Native American or be married to one
- Be a member of a tribe that has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
- Plan to live in the financed home
Once you’ve met all of the VA loan’s eligibility requirements, you’ll be ready to get your Certificate of Eligibility and apply for a VA home loan.