I have walked with hundreds of veterans since 2014 and helped them take the plunge into homeownership by obtaining their personal VA Home Loan. At first, the process can seem daunting, especially with families to take care of and careers to work but let me show you how it works.

I’m going to simplify obtaining a VA Home Loan as steps so you can make the best-informed decision on your mortgage options. Let me tell you more about the exciting VA Home Loan Journey that leads to securing your dream home!

The VA Home Loan Journey

1). Choose your dream home

Take your kids in the family vehicle and carpool across your desired area to check out homes for sale. Partner with a local agent who’s knowledgeable about the housing market and can find you exactly what you need. Once you discover the home of your dreams, sign a purchase construct conditioned on the approval of your VA Home Loan.

2). Partner with a trusted lender

After you’ve chosen the perfect home, gather your DD-214 and VA Certificate of Eligibility forms and send them to your lender. Compare interest rates, trustworthiness, and who will take care of your family the best. A lender who understands your service to this great country is a strong asset to have when pursuing homeownership.

3). Bring in a licensed appraiser

The lender will develop all credit and income information as well as request Veterans Affairs to send a licensed appraiser to the house you chose. They will carefully inspect and determine the property’s value and A Certificate of Reasonable Value will be issued. In this way, the lender will ensure you are getting what you paid for and protect your family against shady sellers.

4). Wait for the loan decision

After considering the price of the home as well as your credit score and income, the lender will decide whether you were accepted for a VA Home Loan. If not, the terms of the loan such as interest rates and loan amounts can be adjusted and redrawn. They will do everything they can to serve veterans by getting them the loan they need for their new home.

5). Celebrate the loan closing

You (and your spouse) will attend a loan closing together with your chosen lender. If they are considerate, they will walk you through the loan terms and requirements as well as how to make monthly payments. They will happily answer any questions you have and allow you to sign any required documentation.

6). Receive the guaranty

Finally, the VA Home Loan process is passed along to Veterans Affairs, where they evaluate your new home loan for guaranty. The Certificate of Eligibility is annotated to reflect the use of entitlement and returned to you. If the desired home deal closes, your family will be ecstatic to move into their gorgeous home.

You’ll Need These Documents

For any serviceman or woman who has chosen their lender, there are two forms required to apply for a VA Home Loan: The DD-214 and the VA Certificate of Eligibility. Once I have these documents from you, I can do all the hassle work with Veterans Affairs so you and your family can get an appraiser to value your dream home!

They may appear confusing and overwhelming in addition to the VA Home Loan and mortgage application, so let me break it down for you.

DD-214 Discharge Paperwork

Also known as a veteran’s “discharge paperwork”, this form is necessary for lenders like myself to look at Box 24. It will tell me whether you had an honorable discharge and whether you are eligible to receive a VA Home Loan. As those in the military know well, this document is incredibly important for more than just the home buying process.

If servicemen and women have misplaced or lost their DD-2114 paperwork due to the busyness of work and family life back home, that is okay. The form is always available to be ordered from The United States National Archives website at your convenience:

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

VA Certificate of Eligibility

The VA Certificate of Eligibility form is the second document required to begin the VA Home Loan process and can only be requested after the DD-214 paperwork has been sent to me. It is a form provided by the Federal Government that helps me determine the loan amount you are eligible for.

This total for your loan is backed by Veteran Affairs, guaranteed at 25%, while the other 75% is provided by me, so you can get the most benefits out of your VA Home Loan. For example, “Basic Entitlement” status on your VA Certificate of Eligibility means that you qualify for a loan at $144,000 ($36,000 paid by Veterans Affairs).

Sometimes I get calls from concerned military families with kids who cannot obtain a large enough house with that loan amount. Thankfully, house inflation in the market has been accounted for by Veterans Affairs, which provides borrowers with a “Bonus Entitlement” on top of their basic status. This racks up a grand total loan amount of $417,000 for your dream home ($104,250 paid by Veterans Affairs).