real estate VA requirements

Starting a VA Home Loan

February 4, 2011

Starting a VA Home Loan

When a veteran wants to start a VA mortgage loan, the first thing they’re asked to do is to provide, or apply for, a VA Certificate of Eligibility.

Some first-time home buyers don’t come to the application process with the COE in hand, but getting one  is a process the vet can do at home or with the help of the lender. In many cases the lender may be able to submit the request and get the certificate, then start the VA loan application process very quickly.

In other cases it may take time, especially when the veteran doesn’t have the right proof of service.

Active duty service members and those who are on active status with the Guard and Reserve must get documentation from their chain of command showing current military commitment, dates of service and other information required by the VA. Those who have retired or separated from the military need a DD Form 214, which shows the nature of the military discharge, dates of service and other important details.

The DD Form 214 is the crucial link in the chain for retired and separated vets–there is no chain of command to give signatures, and the form stays basically unchanged for the lifetime of the vet unless there’s a change in the characterization of service or a correction which needs to be made to the DD214.

But some vets don’t have a DD Form 214 in hand when they’re ready to apply for a VA home loan–some have only recently retired or separated, which is usually no problem. But what if that recently retired or separated military vet loses their DD Form 214?

It’s more common than you might think–especially for those coming home from overseas locations who had vital paperwork accidentally packed in a shipment of household goods that won’t reach the U.S. for one to three months.

The fact is, retired/separated vets generally can’t get their VA Certificate of Eligibility without the DD Form 214. The borrower is forced to wait until the paperwork turns up or request a replacement copy of the DD 214. We’ll cover how to do that in another blog post.

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