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Bottom Line Up Front

  • VA loans are a great way for eligible servicemembers, veterans and their families to buy a or refinance a home.
  • VA loans offer many benefits, including the option to buy with no down payment required.
  • Getting preapproved for a VA loan is the first step. Then you’ll want to establish your eligibility with the VA.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guarantees loans made by qualified lenders, such as Navy Federal Credit Union, for the benefit of servicemembers, veterans and their families.

Meeting VA home loan requirements can help you buy, build or renovate your home with no down payment. Because the VA backs a portion of each loan in their VA Home Loan Guaranty Program, lenders can offer more favorable terms for new home purchases and refinancing.

If you're looking to buy, refinance or remodel your home, a VA appraisal may be required to ensure the property meets minimum requirements set by the VA. Be sure to review VA home loan requirements to see if you qualify for a mortgage.

Your Path to Buying a Home With a VA Loan:

Navy Federal Credit Union makes the process easy for you. We’re here to explore whether you meet VA home loan requirements and answer any questions along the way.

  1. Get preapproved for a loan. Receive a preapproval from Navy Federal and begin the home-buying process.
  2. Obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This certificate from the VA confirms your military service and verifies you meet VA home loan requirements and are eligible to receive a VA-guaranteed loan. Your lender, such as Navy Federal, can establish eligibility and obtain a COE for you.
  3. Shop for a home. Work with a trusted real estate agent to find a home that meets your needs and fits your budget. Navy Federal can connect you with a qualified real estate agent in your area through our RealtyPlus® program.
  4. Sign a home purchase agreement. Make sure the purchase agreement that your real estate agent drafts has a VA option clause. This clause states that you aren’t legally bound to purchase a home if the VA appraisal amount is lower than the seller’s asking price.
  5. Get a VA appraisal. A VA-certified appraiser determines the home’s fair market value and looks for obviously needed repairs to ensure the property meets the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs).
  6. Have the home inspected. Hire a professional home inspector to check the home’s structure for defects and to inspect items like electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems.
  7. Sign the closing documents. After the home closing, it’s official! Congratulations on your new home.

Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?

You or your spouse must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Served 90 consecutive days of active service during wartime
  • Served 181 days of active service during peacetime
  • Served more than 6 years with the National Guard or Reserves
  • Are the spouse of a military member who lost their lives in the line of duty, or as the result of a service-related disability. You usually cannot have remarried.

What Documents Will You Need?

Depending on your military experience, you’ll need certain documents to meet VA home loan requirements.

Your Role What You’ll Need
Active Duty Members

• Statement of Service

• Relevant information about breaks and discharges (these will need to be given by your superior officer before you apply for a COE)

Active Duty, Veteran, Current or Former National Guard or Reserve Member (activated) •  Proof of an honorable service and discharge (DD Form 214)
Current Reserve or National Guard Member (never activated) • Statement of Service
• Relevant information about breaks and discharges (these will need to be given by your superior officer before you apply for a COE)

Discharged National Guard Member (never activated) 

• Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB Form 22)

• Retirement Points Statement (NGB Form 23)

Discharged Reserve (never activated) • Retirement Points Statement
• Proof of an honorable service and discharge (DD Form 214)

Surviving Spouse • Copy of spouse’s DD Form 214
• Marriage license
• Spouse’s death certificate
• VA Form 26-1817


Why Get a VA Home Loan?

  • Lower mortgage rates
  • Lower or no down payments 
  • Excellent refinance program that helps buyers lower their payments or get cash back on equity 
  • Higher debt-to-income ratio allowed 
  • More flexibility in the event of bankruptcy or a foreclosure 

If you’re interested in buying a home with a VA loan, Navy Federal Credit Union can help. As a Top VA lender, they understand the unique needs of servicemembers and their families and can help you take advantage of the benefits you’ve earned.

Product features subject to approval. Available for purchase loans only. Loans are subject to an additional funding fee, which may be financed up to the maximum loan amount.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.