What is a Certificate of Eligibility and do I need one?

Published on December 6, 2018 under First-Time Home Buyers

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers VA guaranteed loans to assist veterans with home buying. In order to receive this benefit, veterans must provide lenders with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA. The COE is an important step on the path to homeownership for many veterans and active service members. Learning more about the COE, the process, and how First Savings Mortgage Corporation can help, is key to a successful home buying journey.

Just What is a COE?

A Certificate of Eligibility is documentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that verifies the applicant's eligibility for a VA guaranteed loan. This type of loan includes many benefits, such as:

  • No down payment unless required by the lender
  • No mortgage insurance
  • Minimum property requirement
  • Lower minimum credit score requirement

The very fact that VA guaranteed loans do not require mortgage insurance makes the loans unique and results in savings with upfront costs. VA guaranteed loans are considered a benefit for our nation's service members and their families.

To apply for a VA home loan, applicants must first secure a Certificate of Eligibility. Applying online is easy using VA form 26-1817 and VA form 26-1880 for spouses. Applicants may also download the forms and submit them by mail.

Do I Need One?

If you or your spouse have a military record, either active or retired, and you want to apply for a VA guaranteed loan, then yes-you need a COE. To qualify for a VA home loan, applicants must fall into one of the following categories:

  • A member of the military and have served at least six months under active duty
  • A reservist or member of the National Guard
  • A veteran

Any applications from the above list need a COE to provide to a qualifying lender. Surviving spouses of the above list may also apply for VA home loans, however, they too must provide a COE from the VA.

Once you determine you do need a COE, applying for one online does require evidence of your service or the service of your spouse. For example, an active duty service member will need to provide the following information when applying for a COE:

A current statement of service, signed by the commander of the unit or other authorized personnel. The statement of service also includes:

  • Full name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth
  • Entry date on active duty
  • The duration of any lost time
  • The name of the command providing the information

Once you apply for and receive your COE, you can visit First Savings Mortgage Corporation to discuss your VA home loan options.

First Savings Mortgage Corporation

Don't let the application process overwhelm you when applying for a home loan. Pursue your dream of homeownership by contacting our friendly and professional loan officers today. First Savings Mortgage Corporation serves Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. We proudly support our military and their families by providing the assistance they need during their home buying journey.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides VA guaranteed loans as a way to make homeownership a reality for our nation's service members, veterans, and spouses. In order to qualify for these loans, a Certificate of Eligibility (COE), is required. For questions concerning the VA home loan application process, contact us. First Savings Mortgage Corporation has served the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1989. We've helped thousands of service members secure VA home loans-let us help you and your family by reaching out to us today.

First Savings Mortgage Corporation has three convenient locations to serve you: McLean, Virginia, Bethesda, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

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