The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Home Loans and Housing-Related Assistance program got its start in 1944 as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, commonly known as the G.I. Bill. Though originally available only to veterans, the program has since been expanded to include active-duty servicemembers, reservists and military spouses.
In addition to using a VA home loan to buy or build a primary residence, such as a house, townhouse or condominium, the government-backed loans can be used for other purposes. These include purchasing a manufactured (mobile) home, buying a multi-unit property, and repairing or making upgrades to an existing residence.
Veterans and military families interested in taking advantage of the VA home loan benefit should first make sure they have all of their ducks in a row. Once their qualifications have been confirmed, applicants will need to provide their lender with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE).
What is a COE and what documents will I need to provide?
A COE is a form that verifies to your lender that you are eligible for a VA-backed home loan. In order to receive one, veterans must provide specific documentation showing proof of service and honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces.
For veterans, this means providing a copy of your DD Form 214, or Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. In addition to providing proof of military service, the DD214 will include the type of separation, the character of service, and the reason for separation—key information used in determining whether or not an applicant is eligible for VA benefits.
Active-duty servicemembers, surviving spouses and other applicants will be asked to provide additional information when requesting a COE.
Once I have my documentation, how do I apply for a COE?
Veterans can apply online for their COE through the eBenefits portal. Simply log in with your username and password, or click Register to create an account.
You can also apply through your lender. Military-friendly lenders will have access to the Web LGY system, the VA’s internet-based loan guarantee system that is not available to the public. Using Web LGY, mortgage lenders can quickly establish VA loan eligibility and issue a COE online.
Finally, if they prefer, veterans can apply by mail for their COE using this printable request form.
No matter which route you take, be sure to have a copy of your DD214 close by to ensure the process continues smoothly and you are not waiting around on a new copy while your dream home is snatched up by another buyer. If you lost your DD214, or if it was damaged, stolen or never received, you will need to order a new copy before beginning the COE application process.
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Instead of having to download, print, sign and fax your document request form, you can submit your order directly through our website with the ease of e-signature technology from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Once we locate your DD214, we will email you a copy immediately—a service not offered by the government. And tracking your request through us is simple, so you never have to worry about long hold times and inconclusive answers.
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