The VA loan is one of the more powerful and flexible option you could have so far, among all the lending options available today. Rather than merely issuing loans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) takes on a crucial role by pledging to repay a quarter of every loan it guarantees in the highly unlikely event of a borrower defaulting. This unique assurance sets the VA loan apart from others, granting peace of mind to Veterans and active duty military personnel.
Firstly, the VA loans have remarkably favorable terms, compared to other types of loans. To start, a VA loan does not require a down payment, presenting an exceptional opportunity for individuals looking to purchase a home with minimal financial strain. Coupled with the allure of very low-interest rates, these loans provide a gateway to homeownership that minimizes the upfront financial burden. By eliminating the need for a down payment and offering competitive interest rates, VA loans enable borrowers to secure their dream homes while keeping more money in their pockets.
Could I apply for a VA Loan in California?
The short answer to that question is that, you can request a VA loan in California, and there are some requirements to fulfill before you get it pre-approved. If you’ve served for at least 90 continuous days (all at once, without a break in service), you meet the minimum active-duty service requirement, and that’s a great start. For Veterans, the minimum active-duty service requirements depend on when you served.
For example, if you served between August 2, 1900, and the present (from the Gulf War period to today), you have to comply to the next requirements:
- At least 24 continuous months, or
- The full period (90 days or more) for which you were called or ordered to active duty, or
- 90 days or more if you were discharged for a hardship, or a reduction in force, or
- Less than 90 days if you were discharged for a service-connected disability
But, if you served between September 8, 1980, and August 1, 1990, these are the obligations you have to comply:
- 24 or more continuous months, or
- The full period (at least 181 days) for which you were called to active duty, or
- More than 181 days if you were discharged for a hardship, or a reduction in force, or
- Under 181 days if you were released for a service-connected disability.
Different requirements apply for different periods of time:
- Between October 17, 1981, and August 1, 1990, as an officer
- Between May 8, 1975, and September 7, 1980 (post-Vietnam War period)
- Between May 8, 1975, and October 16, 1981, as an officer
- Between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975 (Vietnam War)
- Between November 1, 1955, and May 7, 1975, in the Republic of Vietnam
- Between February 1, 1955, and August 4, 1964 (post-Korean War period)
- Between June 27, 1950, and January 31, 1955 (Korean War)
- Between July 26, 1947, and June 26, 1950 (post-WWII period)
- Between September 16, 1940, and July 25, 1947 (WWII)
You can check what are the different requirements in the VA.GOV official website, clicking here.
How to effectively request a VA home loan Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
In order to be eligible for a VA loan, you must have a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The COE is a document that verifies a Veteran’s eligibility for a VA loan based on their service history. It serves as proof to lenders that the individual has met the necessary criteria and qualifies for this exclusive loan program. Previously, obtaining a COE required navigating a complex and time-consuming application process, which could be burdensome for veterans seeking to purchase a home.
The online application process through the eBenefits portal has proven to be a game-changer for veterans. It provides a user-friendly interface where veterans can submit their applications and receive real-time updates on the status of their COE. By leveraging technology, the VA has significantly reduced the waiting time, allowing veterans to move forward with their homebuying plans in a timely manner.
For veterans who prefer a more traditional approach, the option to submit a paper application by mail remains available. This method ensures accessibility for veterans who may not have access to digital resources or who prefer a physical application process. Although it may take slightly longer for these applications to be processed, the VA remains committed to expediting the review and issuance of COEs.
Once you have your COE, it’s time to find a VA-approved lender in California. These lenders are knowledgeable about the VA Loan process and can guide you through the application. You can search for VA-approved lenders online, or ask for recommendations from other Veterans or friends who have used VA Loans. There are some companies you could check, such as VA Loans Of California, Flagstar Bank, Guaranteed Rate, Navy Federal Credit Union, and many more. It’s up to you to get the best option available that fill fit your financial capabilities and needs.