Applying for a VA Loan? Make Sure You Have these Essential Documents
If you served in the United States military, you deserve to access all the benefits you have earned, including affordable VA loans.
But securing a VA loan can become complex. As you may have already learned, there is a lot of paperwork and a lot of documentation required by the VA. To help start your application process, we’d like to show you some of the most important documents when applying for a VA loan.
Why a VA Loan?
There are many advantages to a VA loan, but one of the most beneficial is that you can secure the mortgage loan with no down payment. This is one of the few government-supported loan programs that allows you to purchase a home with absolutely no money down. The down payment can be a significant barrier for borrowers, so a 0%-down VA loan opens homeownership opportunities for many people who served in the military.
Another advantage of VA loans is that you may be able to get the loan with poor credit scores. The VA generally has no credit requirements, and while individual lenders may need a specific credit score, you can often get a VA loan with low credit or even no credit history.
But to use these advantages, you have to show your eligibility and meet a few other requirements. With the right documents, however, getting a VA loan is simple and efficient.
Important Documents When Applying for VA Loans
Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
One of the most important documents you’ll need during the application process is your Certificate of Eligibility, often called a COE. This is essentially an official statement issued by the government that states you are eligible for benefits through the VA, including VA loans.
To acquire the COE, you will need to compile as much information on your service as you can. For reference, write down the years you served and what branches. Try to dig out as much paper work as you can, including all documents related to your service. Once you have all the information you can gather, you can go to eBenefits, a website created by the U.S. government. At this page, you will be able to complete the application for your COE.
When you are close to finalizing a purchase, you will be issued a purchase contract, which will be used by the lender to finalize the loan. This contract will identify the specific property, the parties involved (buyer and seller), and give essential details on the obligations of the contract. It will also include any contingencies that must be met before the sale of the property.
Most Recent Full Month of Pay Stubs
To verify your income, lenders issuing VA loans will need to see at least one month of pay stubs from your current employer. If you are planning to seek a mortgage loan in the near future, make sure you keep these documents and bring them with you to the lender’s office.
Most Recent 2 Years of W2’s or Tax Returns
Lenders not only need to verify your current income through monthly stubs, they also need to see at least two years of tax information. For most people, this will come in the form of W2’s, which will be issued by your employer. However, if you are self-employed, you will have tax returns. If you don’t have this information, your accountant may be able to find it for you.
Cancelled Earnest Money Check
Your lender will need a canceled earnest money check that you wrote to the real estate company with which you are working. When you went under contract, you should have written a check to the company; your lender will want to see both sides showing the check was deposited. You’ll get this from the bank once the check clears.
Contact Information for Home Owner’s Insurance
To protect against loss, the lender will need to see information from your home owner’s insurance. They basically need this to ensure that you will have homeowner’s insurance, which not only protects you, but gives lenders reassurance that you will be able to pay the mortgage if there is a financial problem.
While the lender will be able to access your credit information, it never hurts to have these documents ready. While looking at your credit report, you may be able to fix negative errors in the report, which will help you chances of getting a high-quality VA loan. VA loans may not have a credit requirement, but some lender will require certain scores to process the loan.
If Refinancing with VA Loan…
Most Recent Mortgage Statement or Current Mortgage Information
If you are using a VA loan to refinance your home, you will need to bring information on your current mortgage. Contact the lending company that currently holds your mortgage and you should be able to get your recent mortgage statement. Any information you can bring on the current mortgage will be beneficial.
Pest Inspection (If Required)
Although it may not be required for all homes, you may need to bring information connected to a pest inspection. Talk with your lender to see if a pest inspection, especially a termite inspection, will be required.
If Using VA Streamline Refinancing…
A VA Streamline Refinance is used to refinance one VA loan into another. Because you are using the same program (VA loans) the process is faster and generally quicker. To start, you will need the mortgage note. Contact the lender who processed your current VA loan to receive this document.
Most Recent Mortgage Statement
Like regular refinancing, you will also need a copy of your most recent mortgage loan statement, which will show your current payments and may include other information such as your total balance and interest rate.
Supporting Your VA-Loan Application
Applying for a VA loan can become complicated. Let San Diego Purchase Loans help you through the entire process so you have the best chance at the benefits you have earned.