Friday, February 22, 2013

Navigating the VA Lending Process

Here is a guest post from Chris Birk, a former journalist and author of THE BOOK ON VA LOANS: AN ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MAXIMIZING YOUR HOME LOAN BENEFITS. He is also content development director for Veterans United Home Loans. Follow him on Google+.

Purchasing a home is often the biggest financial investment that most military members and their families make. Though many choose to finance their home purchase with a VA home loan due to the unique benefits it provides veterans with, very few fully understand the lending process and how their own actions may affect it.

Knowing what to expect from the lending process ahead of time can make purchasing a home a much more relaxed experience, and can even help expedite the process.

A few things to keep in mind about the lending process include:

Your Credit Score and History:

The VA home loan does come attached with lenient lending requirements. But that doesn’t mean a veteran with poor credit and a poor repayment history will automatically be approved.

Prior to application, veterans need to take responsibility for their credit score and history. If their score is lower than 620, they may want to postpone application for at least six months so they have adequate time to repair their credit.

Also, veterans should stay away from any major purchases or new credit inquiries, such as those needed to pull out a new credit line, until after they close on their home. Doing so prior will affect your credit and could potentially negatively affect your financial eligibility.

VA-Approved Homes:

Most veterans using the VA home loan program do so to purchase a primary residence. However, on occasion, VA home loan applicants may attempt to use their loan to purchase an income property or a property for an ineligible family member.

While VA loans may be used to renovate or update a home, the home being purchased or updated must be intended to be used as the primary residence for the veteran or their eligible family members, such as a spouse or dependent child, and cannot be an alternative property, such as a working farm or vacation home.

Forms, Statements, and Documentation:

While a VA loan specialist will give interested veterans a detailed list of all the paperwork needed to complete a loan, collecting a few documents ahead of time can make the process easier.

Before even looking for a home, veterans should obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, their most recent tax returns, and possibly a pay stub or bank statement or two. Doing so will help with pre-approval and will help get the ball rolling more quickly on approval.

The VA home loan offers benefits, such as no necessary down payment or private mortgage insurance, which most conventional lending programs cannot compete with. While the program is often the best choice for veterans, it is still important that all interested veterans educate themselves prior to seeking approval.

Courtesy of Veterans United


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT and the co-author of the Navy thriller LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS. Phyllis is the co-founder of the marketing consulting company Miller Mosaic LLC, which works with clients to attract more business. Read her book-related posts at

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