Just because you think you are eligible for a VA loan doesn’t mean you get one. You have to have actual proof that you are eligible. The only document that proves your eligibility is the Certificate of Entitlement. This certificate shows the amount of your entitlement and the fact that you are eligible for the VA program. Without it, you can’t get a VA loan.
So how long does it take to get one? Keep reading to learn about the process.
You have three ways that you can get your COE:
- Send your application in via mail
- Request the form online through the VA portal
- Ask your lender to get it for you
What’s the Best Option?
If you are in a hurry and you know that you are eligible for a VA loan, you can ask your lender to get the COE for you. It’s your quickest option. VA lenders have access to a system that pulls the certificate within a matter of minutes.
The VA lender can only handle your request if you were in the regular military, though. If you served in the Reserves, you will have to use one of the other options. This is also the case if you are a surviving spouse of a veteran. You must use one of the other methods to get your COE, even though you know you are eligible. Finally, if you had anything but an honorable discharge, the lender won’t’ be able to help you either.
How to Get the COE Yourself
If you can’t use your lender or you don’t have a lender yet, you can get the COE yourself. If you do it via mail, you’ll need to complete and mail in VA Form 26-1880. You can fill the form out online and then print it out and mail it into your local VA office. Prepare to wait several weeks to several months for a response.
You can also access your account online via the VA portal. If you have your id and password for your VA portal, you can get the answers that you need quickly. If you are entitled to a VA loan, you can get your certificate printed out within a matter of minutes, much as the lender would be able to do for you.
Don’t Skip This Step
You won’t get very far with a VA loan without the COE. VA lenders need proof that you are eligible for the program because they are providing you with 100% financing and flexible underwriting guidelines. The only way they can do this is with the VA’s guaranty to pay them back 25% of the amount they lose should you default on the loan.
Without the COE and the VA’s guaranty, you would have to make a down payment and would probably have stricter underwriting guidelines to follow. Take the appropriate steps to get your COE so that you can get the VA benefits that you are entitled to receive.