Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Reeds Real Estate

How To Use a VA Home Loan To Buy Your First Home

Wondering how to use a VA home loan to buy your first home? VA home loans have several benefits for veteran home buyers, like being able to purchase a home with no down payment and easier financial qualifications.

While buying a home with a VA loan is relatively similar to a conventional loan, the process has a few key differences. In this post, our realtors at Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Reeds Real Estate will discuss each step of the home-buying process using a VA home loan. That way, you can know exactly what to expect.

How To Use a VA Home Loan in 7 Steps

1. Obtain Your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Before you get your VA home loan, you’ll need to make sure you qualify for it in the first place. This is done by getting a COE, which shows you’ve completed the relevant amount of active duty service requirements

For veterans, these requirements are based on when you served. For current service members, the requirements are 90 continuous days of service.

There are three options to get your COE:

  • Apply online on the Department of Veterans Affairs website
  • Find a lender who can make the request for you
  • Downloading a Request for a Certificate of Eligibility form from the VA’s website and mailing it to your regional VA loan center

2. Choose a Lender

Once you have your COE, you can begin shopping around for mortgage lenders. VA home loans come with certain benefits, like not having to make a down payment. However, individual lenders can still vary in the other loan terms they offer.

For this reason, it’s important to speak to several different lenders before making a decision. Compare interest rates, fees, and other loan terms to see which lender is a better fit for your financial needs.

Once you’ve chosen a lender, apply for pre-approval. The lender will review your credit score, debt-to-income ratio, employment history, COE, and other financial information. After you have pre-approval, you’ll know exactly how much you can afford and can begin looking for homes.

3. Find a Realtor Who Specializes in the VA Loan Process

Next, you should start looking for a realtor. Specifically, you’ll need a realtor who understands VA home loans and the requirements that come with them. For example, the VA requires homes to meet certain conditions in order to qualify for a VA loan.

A realtor who knows what to look for can make the home-buying process run smoothly. They can make sure you only view properties that meet the right criteria, so you can get approved for your loan faster.

You’ll also need a realtor who is knowledgeable about the local housing market, has great communication skills, and has a proven track record of success helping clients find their dream homes.

Sometimes, home sellers can be hesitant to work with veteran home buyers because they fear the process can take longer. But with an experienced realtor, you can rest assured the transaction will close quickly.

4. Start Looking For Homes

Your realtor will help you find homes that satisfy the VA’s criteria. Some of these property requirements include:

  • Roof in reasonable condition
  • Clean, accessible, and ventilated crawl space
  • Functional electrical and heat systems
  • If there is an AC unit, it can’t be older than 25 years 
  • Access to safe drinking water, a water heater, and a septic system
  • Gutters and drainpipes in good condition
  • No signs of water damage or mold
  • No lead-based paint
  • Year-round direct access to the home from a public or private street
  • No signs of pests

Many of these requirements can be easily fulfilled in a well-maintained home. Otherwise, they can be taken care of with some quick repairs.

5. Sign a Purchase Agreement

Once you find a home that fits your needs and is within your budget, the next step is creating a purchase agreement. Your realtor can help you create an agreement that protects your interests, for example, by including a VA escape clause

The VA escape clause is a requirement for VA home loans. This clause protects you if the home appraises for less than the sales price.

6. Make the Loan Official

Before making the loan official, you’ll need a home appraisal from a VA-approved appraiser. The appraiser will evaluate the home to see if it meets the requirements mentioned above. They’ll also determine whether the home’s appraised value matches the sales price. 

After the appraisal, you’ll also need a home inspection. While the VA doesn’t require a home inspection, getting one is still a good idea. 

Some veteran home buyers mistake the VA appraisal for an inspection since they evaluate similar elements of the home. However, the appraiser doesn’t look at the home as in-depth as an inspector.

7. Complete Closing

Once the inspection and appraisal are complete and the paperwork is signed, all that’s left to do is the title transfer. After that, you’ll receive the keys, and the home officially becomes yours!

Buy a Home in Chesapeake, VA, With Our Realtors

If you’re a veteran looking to buy a home in Chesapeake, Virginia, contact Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty - Reeds Real Estate today. Our team is veteran-owned and operated, so we know first-hand how to use a VA home loan. 

We’ve worked in the Chesapeake housing market for years, helping veteran buyers find their dream homes fast and for a great price. Throughout our career, we’ve gained a reputation as one of the best realtors in the area. 

We have thousands of five-star reviews from clients who love our commitment to customer service, communication skills, and unique buyer guarantees.

This includes our Buy it Back Guarantee, which ensures you’ll love your new home. If not, we’ll buy it back and sell it at no cost to you. We offer this guarantee because we’re extremely confident in our ability to find you the perfect home.

To learn more about how to use a VA home loan or what it’s like working with us, call (757) 799-4824. You can also fill out the form below for more information.


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