VA Loan Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for a VA loan, you or your spouse must meet the basic service requirements set by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), have a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and satisfy the lender’s credit and income requirements.
You may be eligible for a VA Home Loan by meeting one or more of the following requirements:
- You have served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime, OR
- You have served 181 days of active service during peacetime, OR
- You have 6 years of service in the National Guard or Reserves, OR
- You are the spouse of a service member who has died in the line of duty or as a result of a service-related disability.
VA Home Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
You DO NOT need your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to apply for a VA loan however, it is an important part of VA loan eligibility. Your COE provides us (the lender) with confirmation that you qualify for VA loan benefits.
There are three basic ways you can obtain you COE for a VA Home Loan:
- Applying through a VA approved lender, like Refined Lending
- Applying though the VA’s eBenefits portal
- Applying by mail with VA Form 26-1880
Contact a Mortgage Banker today to get your COE. The process is simple and quick to complete with proof of your military service and will help you home financing to move forward without delays.
Documents Your Lender May Require
How Spouses can Obtain their COE
Getting a COE as a surviving spouse depends on whether or not you’re receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
Spouses receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits must fill out VA Form 26-1817 (Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility – Unmarried Surviving Spouses) and obtain a copy of the Veteran’s separation paperwork, such as a DD Form 214.
If you’re not receiving Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits, you’ll need to fill out VA Form 21P-534EZ (Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Survivors Pension and/or Accrued Benefits) and submit to your state’s VA Pension Management Center (full list here).
Additionally, you’ll need to provide a copy of your marriage license, the Veteran’s death certificate (or DD Form 1300 – Report of Casualty) and the Veteran’s separation paperwork.
Separation paperwork can be requested from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
Surviving spouses can contact a Refined Lending Mortgage Banker with questions or for more details.
Additional VA Loan Eligibility Requirements
Although the VA determines the guidelines for VA loan eligibility, private lenders who finance the home typically have an additional set of guidelines potential borrowers must satisfy, including sufficient reliable income to repay the loan, acceptable levels of debt, and a credit score that meets the lender’s credit requirements.
The property will also need to satisfy the VA’s appraisal process, which looks at the home’s fair market value along with its condition.
Ready to see if you’re eligible for a VA loan? Contact a Refined Lending Mortgage Banker today!
VA Loan Credit and Income Requirements
The VA does not set a minimum credit score requirement for VA loan eligibility, but lenders typically do. Because of this, VA loan credit score requirements vary by lender, with most lenders typically requiring a minimum 580 mortgage credit score.
In addition to credit score, the VA requires borrowers to maintain a certain amount of income left over each month after all major expenses are paid. The excess is meant to cover typical family needs, such as food, transportation and medical care, and is known as residual income.
By enforcing residual income requirements, the VA increases the chances of its borrowers earning sufficient income to meet all financial obligations, and also ensures borrowers have a cushion in the event of an emergency.
**Refined Lending is not affiliated with or acting on behalf of or at the direction of FHA, VA, USDA or the Federal Government.