Like most home loans, you will be required to fill out a bunch of paperwork in order to apply for a VA loan. Everything from your personal information to the documentation of your finances will need to be submitted and reviewed.
If you don’t want to delay your application and slow down the process, it’s important that you make sure to submit everything the lender needs as soon as possible. So, to help you prepare and be organized, we’ve put together this overview of what you need to apply for a VA home loan.
Military Service Information
One of the first steps to getting a VA home loan is documenting and providing proof your military service. You cannot get a VA loan unless you meet the proper service requirements.
Certificate of Eligibility
This document is one of the first that your lender will need. You can either request it yourself or your lender can request it for you. Having your lender request it is usually faster and easier.
You will also need a copy of this form if you are no longer in the military. It will help verify your service history and be used in conjunction with your Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
Statement of Service
If you are still active duty, your commanding officer will need to sign a statement of service. This letter must include your full name, social security number, birthdate, the date you entered active duty, any lost time, and the name of the command. And, of course, your commanding officer’s signature.
You should automatically know most of this information without needing to look it up. However, some information, like your prior addresses and maybe even your social security number, may require you to put in more time to make sure it’s accurate.
You will need to know and provide the address of everywhere you’ve lived during the past two years. Make sure you don’t leave any place out, even if you only lived there for a month or two!
Social Security Numbers
If you have yours memorized, great! If not, make sure you look it up before your application. In addition, if you will have a co-borrower on your loan, like your spouse, you will need to know their social security number as well.
This portion of the process is one of the most involved parts of applying for a VA mortgage loan, as it has the most documents you will need to gather. It includes everything from income verification and employment to related debts.
You will need to find and submit your W2s for the past two years. These forms will be used to verify your income and make sure it’s either been consistent or has improved year to year.
Leave & Earnings Statement
Your latest leave and earnings statement (LES) will show the lender two important things: (1) proof of income and (2) your expiration of term of service (ETS). If your ETS is within the next 12 months, you will need to provide further documentation.
If you have already left service, instead of an LES, you will be required to submit your most recent pay stubs for the last 30 days, or documentation of any disability or retirement income.
If you have children, most lenders require a written childcare statement. This should outline how much you spend each month on childcare and, if applicable, how much you pay in child support.
If you do not have any childcare expenses, you will still need to declare this fact on the statement and include an explanation for why you don’t have these expenses.
If you’d like to include any self-employment or rental income, or if more than a quarter of your income comes from bonuses, commissions, or side businesses, you will need to submit your two most recent federal income tax forms.
Because mortgages usually come with closing costs, even VA mortgages, your lender may require you to provide your banks statements for the past 60 days to make sure you’ll be able to cover these expenses. When submitting these statements, make sure you include any blank pages, as well.
Lenders may also want to know your job history for the past two years. As part of this information, you will need to provide the name of each employer, as well as their address, phone number, and dates of employment.
An important part of any mortgage application is your credit history. While the VA does not have a minimum credit score requirements, some lenders do. In addition, all lenders will be looking at your overall credit history to make sure you seem like a good credit risk.
Proof of Errors
If there are errors on your credit report that haven’t been removed yet, you will need to submit proof of these errors to your lender.
Explanation of Late Payments
If your credit report shows any late payments, it doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot get a VA loan. However, your lender will likely require a written explanation for these late payments. Basically, lenders want to be confident you’ll make your loan payments on time, and that any prior late payments were due to extenuating circumstances.
Bankruptcy & Discharge Documents
If you’ve ever declared bankruptcy, you will need to provide these documents, in addition to the documents showing that your bankruptcy was discharged and you are no longer under any financial obligations.
Start Your Application
While this list doesn’t cover absolutely everything you’ll need to get a VA Loan, it does cover what you’ll need to start the process.
Once you’ve gathered all of the documents and information listed above, you’re ready to find your perfect lender, start the search for your dream home, and dive into the actual application process. Because of your preparation, you can expect the process to be hassle- and headache-free.