You’ve made the decision: You’re going to join the ranks of America’s homeowners, and you’re planning to use a VA loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) to pay for your purchase. With no down payment requirement, competitive interest rates, and favorable terms, VA loans can be a great way to buy a home, but they do require something other loans don’t: a Certificate of Eligibility. What is a VA loan Certificate of Eligibility? How do you get one?
The VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility: What You Need to Know
As The Military Wallet explains, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) for a VA loan is a document issued by the VA that offers confirmation to the private lenders who actually furnish VA loans that you are indeed eligible for a VA loan because you have met the necessary requirements through your service. Military.com reports that the form also contains information that your lender utilizes to calculate what your entitlement is and the fees associated with your loan. While completing the service that entitles you to a COE may be challenging, securing the form is actually fairly simple. The first step is determining what evidence you’ll need to apply for a COE and gathering it together. After that, you can choose from three convenient ways to get your COE.
Gathering Your Evidence
The information needed to apply for a COE depends on the nature of your service. For example, veterans will be asked for a copy of their discharge or separation papers, also known as their DD214. Active service members will need a signed statement of service that contains the relevant information. As for members of the National Guard or Reserve, the requirements vary depending on their status and whether or not they were activated. Fortunately, the VA makes it easy to determine exactly what evidence you’ll need to submit with your application by providing a detailed list here.
Method 1: Requesting a COE Online
You can order an amazing array of things online today. If you’re a veteran, a service member, or a member of the National Guard or Reserve, that includes a VA loan Certificate of Eligibility. As the VA explains, members of these groups can use the eBenefits portal to submit an online application for a COE. Surviving spouses cannot utilize this method. However, there are two other ways to secure a COE (listed below), and they can use either of those options.
Method 2: Requesting a COE Through the Mail
For those who prefer to deal in hard copy and don’t mind a longer processing time, the VA also accepts applications for COEs through the mail. Would-be borrowers who want to take this route should download VA Form 26-1880, which is a Request for a Certificate of Eligibility. After completing the form, they’ll need to drop it and a copy of the required evidence in the mail. The appropriate address can be found on the form.
Method 3: Requesting a COE Through Your Lender
As Military.com notes, enlisting your lender is often the quickest way to secure a COE. The majority of VA-approved lenders have access to the VA’s online WEB LGY system. When all the necessary data is in the system, lenders can print a COE in minutes. In some cases, missing data may cause delays, but your lender’s familiarity with the system can often expedite the process. Their assistance can make it faster, easier, and less stressful to secure the needed COE so that you can move forward with your application for a VA loan.
At PrimeLending of Wichita, Kansas, we take pride in offering exemplary service to those who have served and protected us. We blend friendly, personal guidance and local expertise with user-friendly technology and a commitment to quick, transparent service that makes it easy to achieve your housing goals. Whether you’re interested in purchasing a home with a VA loan, considering a VA Cash-out Refinance loan to fund renovations, or eager to lower your monthly mortgage payments with a VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance loan, our experienced team is ready to help you explore your options and navigate the approval process. To discover more about our services, reach out to us today.