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How To Get A VA Loan

VA Appraisal

Because the loan amount may not exceed VA's estimate of the value of the property, the first step in getting a VA loan is usually to request an appraisal. Although anyone (buyer, seller, real estate personnel or lender) can request a VA appraisal, usually this is done by the lender via the Internet using TAS (The Appraisal System). The appraiser will send a bill for his or her services to the requester according to a fee schedule approved by VA. To simplify things, VA and HUD/FHA (Department of Housing and Urban Development/Federal Housing Administration) generally use the same appraisal forms.

It is important to recognize that while the VA appraisal estimates the value of the property, it is not an inspection and does not guarantee that the house is free of defects. Homebuyers should be encouraged to carefully inspect the property themselves, or to hire a reputable inspection firm to help in this area. VA guarantees the loan, not the condition of the property.

Application

The application process for VA financing is no different from any other type of loan. In fact, the VA application form is the same as that used for HUD/FHA and conventional loans. The mortgage lender verifies the applicant's income and assets, and obtains a credit report to see that other obligations are being paid on time. If all is well and the appraised value of the property is enough to cover the loan needed, the lender, in most instances, can then close the loan under VA's automatic procedure. Only about 1 percent of VA loan applications have to be submitted to a VA office for approval before closing.

Requirements For Loan Approval

To obtain a VA loan, the law requires that:

  • The applicant must be an eligible veteran who
    has available entitlement.

  • The loan must be for an eligible purpose.

  • The veteran must occupy or intend to occupy
    the property as a home within a reasonable
    period of time after closing the loan.

  • The veteran must be a satisfactory credit risk.

  • The income of the veteran and spouse, if any, must
    be shown to be stable and sufficient to meet the mortgage payments, cover the costs of owning a home, take care of other obligations and expenses, and have enough left over
    for family support. An experienced mortgage lender will
    be able to discuss specific income and other qualifying requirements.

 


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