If you have decided to buy a home, you probably must be considering a VA home loan. If you are a veteran or an active-duty service member, you perhaps already do know the drill. VA loans are available exclusively to former and current members of the US military and provide several benefits over conventional mortgages.
But, like all mortgages, to get approved for a VA loan veterans have to meet certain service and eligibility requirements. So, how can you determine your eligibility? Well, the easiest way is to file for a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE). To understand more, continue reading.
What Is A VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE)?
As the name implies, the certificate of eligibility is your evidence that you are eligible for a VA home loan. This certificate assures mortgage lenders that you meet all service requirements and VA loan standards. Keep in mind that if you do not have a proper COE, obtaining a VA loan is next to impossible. So, getting this certificate is imperative if you are looking to apply for a VA loan. But, how can you get a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility? Well, continue reading to find out:
1. Mailing Form 26-1880 to the VA Department
As mentioned earlier, the VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility is proof to the lending institution that you meet the minimum requirements for a VA loan. So, in order to get a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility, you can consider filing form 26-1880 to the Veterans Affairs Department. Service persons on active-duty, veterans and any person serving in the US military department can request for form 26-1880 which can then be mailed to determine whether you are eligible for a VA loan or not.
So, what is the purpose of the Form 26-1880? Well, its main purpose is to verify all your data to ensure that you are eligible for a VA loan. This form can be submitted either electronically or can be filled out by a pen. Once you complete this form, you can give it to your mortgage lender who will then submit it via Web LGY. So, what information has to be included in the 26-1880 Form? Well, the form asks for basic information, such as your home address, telephone number, date of birth, and full name, or any other aliases you use.
In addition, the form also asks you to include information about prior approved or cancelled VA loans, your current service status, and dates of service. Active-duty service members must provide an additional statement of service. Luckily, your VA lender can help you write this letter and can guide you throughout the filing process. If you are a former member of the US military, it is recommended to present a copy of the report of discharge and DD Form 214.
2. Mailing Your Form 26-1817 to the VA Department
You must be wondering what the difference is between Forms 26-1880 and 26-1817. Basically, the 26-1880 Form is for active members serving in the US military and the 26-1817 form is for National Guard members, reservists and spouses of veterans who died on active-duty. So, how can one file form 26-1817? Well, the process is similar to mailing form 26-1880 and much of the information asked for is also the same. Spouses will be asked to enter basic information, such as telephone number, home address, date of birth, date of marriage, and date of death of their partner.
But, where form 26-1880 can be submitted via Web LGY, form 26-1817 has to be completed longhand and must be submitted via the US Postal Service, which means that this form will take longer to process when compared to 26-1880. Therefore, surviving spouses of military veterans should plan ahead when considering applying for VA home loan benefits.
3. The Easy Way To Get A VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility – Web LGY
You can obtain a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility form through the Department of Veteran Affairs, online at the Veterans Affairs Benefits portal and through mailing the forms mentioned above. But the easiest way of all to obtain a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility is perhaps asking your VA-approved lender to access the Web LGY, the website of the Department of Veteran Affairs. So, what does the web LGY do? Well, this website is the VA’s web-based loan guarantee system. But, why can’t you access the website yourself? Here’s the tricky part: Web LGY can only be accessed by authorized and VA-approved lenders.
By requesting your VA-approved lender to access Web LGY, you get to know if you are eligible for a VA loan or not and can obtain a COE easily. This process only takes a few minutes. Therefore, it is much better than filing a 26-1880 or 26-1817.
So, now that you are familiar with the steps mentioned above, obtaining a VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility won’t be a problem. However, please note that in order to file for VA Loan Certificate of Eligibility or request for eligibility, you have to confirm whether or not you have completed the service requirements and have sufficient ‘Entitlement’. You can also take a look at our VA loan calculator tool in order to figure out roughly what your monthly payments on your new home will be.