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The VA Home Buying Process

Congratulations! You have decided to explore homeownership and we're here to guide you through every step to help make your dream a reality.

Step 1

Check your VA eligibility

There are two important things needed to ensure your eligibility for a VA loan.

  • A Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

    A COE will prove that you meet the eligibility requirements for a VA home loan with the Department of Veterans Affairs. There are government forms to gather as well as a statement of military service. A COE can be obtained online through the VA benefits website and Freedom Mortgage can help you with all the details.

  • Your credit score

    Your credit score is based on several factors, including how much debt you have, your credit history and whether or not you pay your bills on time. Your credit score can affect whether or not you'll meet the requirements for a VA loan. VA loans can be more forgiving than conventional loans when it comes to credit scores. If it's lower than you want, you may still be eligible.

    You are eligible for a free annual credit report through Read through it carefully and make sure there are no mistakes. If there are any errors, follow the information provided to correct any accounts so that your score is as accurate as possible. If you have already received your free credit report, you can still get another, you'll simply need to pay a small fee to receive another copy to know where you stand.

    You may want to avoid opening a new credit card account, buying a car or making any other large expense when applying for your home loan, as that could change your credit and may affect your eligibility.

Step 2

Get pre-approved

Freedom Mortgage can help you with considerations on your home budget and how much you may be able to borrow. We will ask you information about your specific financial situation, check your credit and verify your income and assets. Once this is completed, we can give you a written pre-approval. A pre-approval is a valuable document as it tells sellers and real estate agents how much you can put toward a down payment and the mortgage you are qualified for which will be needed for submitting an offer on a home.

Get a basic estimate with our mortgage affordability calculator.

Step 3

Search for your home

Find a trusted real estate agent who is familiar with the area you are looking at and start searching. It's also a good idea to find an agent who is familiar with VA loans so they will be able to conduct a more targeted search for a home within your price range once you have your Freedom Mortgage pre-approval in hand.

Here are some more considerations when looking for a new home:

  • point 1Check out the school system. You can go online to the state Department of Education and see details such as test scores, graduation rate and college acceptance.
  • point 2Investigate the safety of the neighborhood. Read the local newspaper to see if there's been any issues and drive through the area at various times of the day to get a sense of the safety.
  • point 3Take a tour. See how far it is to access hospitals, shopping, schools, and recreation areas.
  • point 4There are many tools online but you will want to explore and even walk the local neighborhood to ensure the house and location meets your needs.

Once you select a property, make an offer and negotiate with the seller on a final sale price.

Step 4

Get a home inspection and appraisal

If you are working with a real estate agent, they may recommend service providers for an appraisal, a home inspection and other certifications. You will be given a list of services that need to be done in order to close on your loan. Here are several examples:

  • point 1An appraisal is a written report showing how much a property is worth.
  • point 2A home inspector checks over the house and looks for any problems affecting the safety or resale value of the property; if this occurs, you may want to negotiate with the seller to make required repairs.

Step 5

Close on your loan & move in!

The final step in any real estate transaction is the closing, so make sure everything is in place before you get to that exciting day. One of the biggest risks to closing on time is a change in a borrower's financial circumstance. You may want to avoid opening a new credit card account, buying a car or making any other large purchase prior to closing.

  • point 1Government-issued photo ID for borrower and co-borrower.
  • point 2Funds necessary for closing costs (typically a cashier's check; not a personal check).
  • point 3Binder for homeowners' insurance (hazard insurance) and paid receipt.
  • point 4There may be other items as well but we will walk you through everything you will need.

Although closing may only take an hour, consider setting aside extra time as there are many documents to sign. Your closing agent will explain what you are signing and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.

The borrower and any co-borrowers attend the closing in person. A closing agent (also called a settlement agent or escrow agent), the title company representative, the seller, any real estate agents involved and an attorney may also be present.

Once your closing is complete, you're ready to start moving in.
You'll feel great when you get your keys and unlock the door to your new home.

Congratulations on this exciting milestone!
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