Prepare for a VA Loan with a Purchase Checklist
How can you make sure you're ready to apply for a VA loan? In this post, we're going to cover the stuff you and your lender will need when you apply for a VA loan. Having this checklist will make this process more of an experience and it can save you from a potential headache.
The VA Purchase Checklist
You're already going to have most of your personal information such as your name, age, and address. But another thing you can make sure you have before starting the application process is making a copy of your driver's license.
If you don't have a driver's license, make sure you get a copy of your government issued ID. Having a copy of your identification is a great way to help the process along.
What do we mean by military information? In order to eligible for a VA loan, you, of course, have to be a veteran or a current servicemember. Your VA lender is going to need:
- DD Form 214 (or DD214) – Most servicemembers know how important this document is and you probably have it stored away in a special place. But, if by chance you can't find it, it isn't necessary for the application. However, having it does save a lot of time and makes your experience go a lot smoother.
- Certificate of Eligibility – This is something you won't have lying around. This is a document that you can obtain from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or we here at Low VA Rates can help you obtain it. As an approved VA lender, we can access an automated system that's been set up by the VA. Your DD214 actually has information that makes it easier for us to track down your Certificate of Eligibility.
If you're active duty, we'll need to get your Statement of Service from your commanding officer.
Another thing your VA lender will need is employment verification or income verification. If you're employed here are the things you can gather up:
- Two years of W2s
- Tax returns (if you're self employed you'll need to provide at least two years, but oftentimes, three years of tax returns)
- 30 days of pay stubs
Your VA Lender will need your income documented if you're not employed. So if you are living off pensions or veterans benefits, we'll need awards letters from the VA or Social Security (whichever applies).
And if you're living off of investments, we'll need statements that show you're getting a continuous flow of money each month.
Most loan officers will have you list out your liabilities. Why? Because your VA lender will need to know if you can afford the home you're interested in buying.
This can include: credit card balances, car payments, student loans, etc.
But one important one that most people forget to account for is child care costs. Imagine you're about to close on your loan and then the underwriter comes across undocumented child care costs. This will throw off your application completely.
If you're working with a VA lender who doesn't ask about child care costs, you might want to be skeptical. There's even a letter out there you can sign. It's a statement about child care costs. So this one is very important to keep in mind, and your lender should ask about it.
What's great about the VA loan is that you don't need to bring any money to closing. If done correctly, it's a no money down, no cash out of pocket transaction.
Work with the experts. The seller can cover some of the closing costs and your lender (hopefully us) can help cover them too. So why should you provide assets? Even though there's no money down, having assets will make you look stronger as a borrower. If you provide proof of assets, the approval process can go a lot smoother for you. This can be:
- Two months of bank statements
- Investment statements
- And if you own real-estate there's a form you can fill out that lists your properties
Your lender should ask you about the type of property you're interested in. If you're dealing with a novice VA lender, they might overlook this information, which can lead to problems later in the mortgage process. That's because property type affects some of the things you need to consider:
- Not every condo qualifies with a VA loan
- Inspections have to be done if you're looking to buy in a rural area and the property has a well or a septic tank
- Also, any additional information needs to be supplied such as a property having a private gravel road that the city doesn't maintain
When you work with an expert VA lender like Low VA Rates, you can be assured we'll go through the checklist with you. That way there are no surprises and you can get into your home with confidence.
We're also going to link you to a PDF of our Purchase Application so you can see the checklist for yourself.