Like all mortgage approvals, the VA loan comes with a specific set of required paperwork. Among the most important documents required for VA loan approval is what's known as the Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
The COE is a home buyer's evidence of VA loan eligibility. It assures a mortgage lender that the borrower meets minimum VA loan standards, including the VA's term of service requirements.
Without a proper COE, it's a challenge -- but not an impossibility -- to get a VA loan approval. That's why it's important to get your Certificate of Eligibility in advance of your application.
Thankfully, the process can be simple.
There are several ways to get your VA loan COE. The easiest way is to ask your VA-approved lender to access the Department of Veterans Affairs website, called Web LGY.
Web LGY is the VA's web-based loan guaranty system, and it's not accessible to the public. It's for authorized VA lenders only. Via Web LGY, mortgage lenders can establish VA loan eligibility quickly, then issue a COE online.
Via Web LGY, lenders can typically get your Certificate of Eligibility within minutes of your application.
However, in instances when the VA lacks sufficient data to process your COE online, lenders may make requests on your behalf via the U.S. Postal Service. The VA discourages such "manual" requests, though.
Active-duty servicepersons and military veterans are encouraged to ask lenders to process COEs electronically.
COEs are required for all VA loan borrowers except those applying for the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL).
Also known as the VA Streamline Refinance, the IRRRL does not require a COE because the certificate filed with the original loan application is sufficient.
As part of the VA loan COE process, servicepersons on active duty, veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve forces might also need to complete VA Form 26-1880, Request for Certificate of Eligibility.
The purpose of the Form 26-1880 is to supply data which is required to obtain a proper Certificate of Eligibility to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Form 26-1880 can be completed electronically or longhand via paper.
Your mortgage lender can submit your Form 26-1880 via Web LGY on your behalf.
The good news is that Form 26-1880 is short -- just one page in length. It asks for such basic information as:
The form also asks for your dates of service, your current service status, and information regarding any prior VA loans for which you were approved.
Servicepersons on active duty are expected to provide an additional statement of service which should include your name, your date of birth, your active-duty entry date and your duration of any lost time, among other fields.
Active duty servicepersons should have this statement signed by, or at the direction of, the adjutant, personnel office or commander of the unit or higher headquarters.
Your VA lender can help you write this letter.
In addition, veterans should prepare to present a copy of their report of discharge, DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty. This document should state the character of your service and your reason for separation.
As before, your lender can submit these documents to the VA through Web LGY on your behalf. There's no need to handle it yourself.
Reservists, National Guard members, military spouses and others who may be VA-loan eligible are required to show a valid VA Certificate of Eligibility, too. This form might not be the same as that for an active serviceperson or veteran.
For example, surviving spouses are often asked to provide COE information to the VA via Form 26-1817, Request for Determination of Loan Guaranty Eligibility -- Unmarried Surviving Spouses.
It should be noted that Form 26-1817 may not be submitted electronically via Web LGY.
Eligible surviving spouses must submit Form 26-1817 to the VA via the U.S. Postal Service. This means that processing time will be delayed compared with an electronic filing. Surviving spouses of military veterans, therefore, should prepare to plan ahead for using VA home loan benefits.
To process Form 26-1817 can take as as long as three months.
Via its loan guaranty program, the VA allows for 100% financing with no required mortgage insurance. The VA also will often make "jumbo loans", which are for larger amounts, at conforming-like mortgage rates.
To get your VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE), remind your lender that you need one. The approval process takes just minutes.
The information contained on The Mortgage Reports website is for informational purposes only and is not an advertisement for products offered by Full Beaker. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not reflect the policy or position of Full Beaker, its officers, parent, or affiliates.
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2016 Conforming, FHA, & VA Loan Limits
Mortgage loan limits for every U.S. county, as published by Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)