The VA Loan Process
Your dedication wasn’t ordinary. Your mortgage isn’t either.
Benchmark has made it easy to take advantage of your VA Loan benefit.
The first step is to verify your eligibility for a VA loan by obtaining your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). The COE is issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Benchmark’s COE expert can help you determine your eligibility for a VA home loan by acquiring your COE on your behalf, completely free of charge, as a service to veterans. In many cases, we are able to get your COE in a matter of seconds with just your name and social security number. In some instances, we might need more information, such as your DD214 form, in order to process your COE.
Note: This is the only verifiable proof that a Veteran is eligible for the VA Home Loan Benefit that is recognized by the Department of Veteran Affairs, and is the first step for every lender. We make it easy.
To get started, press our Easy COE button.
Provide the Documentation
Provide your Loan Officer with all Military, Personal, and Financial documentation required to get Pre-Approved. Benchmark’s loan originators are Certified Veteran Mortgage Specialists with the knowledge and passion to help veterans like you achieve the American dream of homeownership.
- Certificate of Eligibility
- Most recent 30 Days of Pay Stubs
- Most Recent 2 Years Tax Returns/W2’s
- Pension Award Letters
- Annual Award Letters for Disability (SSI/VA Disability)
- 2 Most Recent Bank Statements
- Most Recent Statement for Stocks/Bonds/Mutual Funds
- Most Recent Statement for Retirements Accounts (401k/IRA)
- For Active Duty Military Members or Veterans who will not be present at close who are using Power of Attorney, the following is required.
- Copy of General POA
- Transaction Specific POA
* Note: On the day of closing the Lender must verify that the Veteran is “Alive and Well” (and if on Active Duty “Not Missing in Action”) by obtaining confirmation from the Veteran and their Commanding Officer.
- Copy of Photo ID
Benchmark will, with your permission, pull your credit.
- You will sign the Signature Authorization to authorize us to obtain a “Tri-Merge” Credit Report from all 3 Bureaus.
- Benchmark’s minimum credit score requirement for VA financing is 580
(some restrictions may apply)
After thorough review of VA Eligibility, Credit, Income and Asset Documentation your Benchmark mortgage professional will…
- Issue a Pre-Approval to present Real Estate Professionals, and you may begin the Home Shopping Process.
- Consult with you on any issues that result in a denial of a Pre-Approval Letter
- If necessary, refer you to a Credit Repair Consultant
Make Your Offer
Once you find your “Dream Home” and are ready to make an offer, it is extremely important that your Real Estate Agent understands how to properly “Present a VA Offer that Sellers Will Accept”.
Benchmark’s Chief Advisor of VA Home Loans (Marine Corps Veteran – Jay McMaken) teaches Real Estate classes nationwide on this specific subject, and is approved to teach continuing education in 23 States. He is also a Certified Instructor for the National Association of Realtors to teach their “Military Relocation Professional” (MRP) Certification, and provides ongoing education for Benchmark Loan Officers and their Realtor Partners to be better than their competition by arming them with this valuable knowledge to assure that your offer is positioned as the strongest possible offer. (For more information please talk to your Benchmark Loan Officer.)
Processing and Underwriting
You have found your home, made an offer, and are now under contract to purchase. At this point, your loan documentation will be submitted to one of Benchmark’s experienced VA Underwriters for review.
Your Benchmark underwriter will verify that all financial documents are accurate, and, if necessary, may ask for additional documentation. It is the underwriter’s job to make sure that all VA Guideline requirements are met. At Benchmark, we take a forensic approach by digging deeper into the VA guidelines than most lenders, leaving no stone unturned, and exhausting all possible options to approve the loan. We have a history of succeeding in situations that other lenders said were impossible.
Ultimately, it is our job to ensure that you are not put in either a financial position which you are unable to handle, or one that may leave you in financial hardship. Benchmark promises to always do right by the Veteran, and this means putting your best interests first.
Benchmark approaches the VA Appraisal Process more aggressively than most Lenders. Our Appraisal Staff will ensure this process goes smoothly for all parties involved for both buyers and sellers. We have a dedicated team for all VA Appraisal orders. Our VA appraisal team has built excellent working relationships with VA Appraisers over the past 15 years. Many Lenders are not even aware that the VA has mandated “Turn Times” and “Fee Maximums” on a per state basis.
Benchmark has “in house” VA Certified Appraisers who are dedicated to elevating past-due orders to the VA Regional Loan Center. This works to hold Appraisers accountable with VA State mandated turn times, as well as to work on rebuttals when the Appraiser initiates “Tidewater” and “Reconsideration of Value”. We take measures to ensure that all Tidewater notifications come directly to Benchmark instead of to real estate agents. This practice allows us to expedite the Value Correction Process.
Once the loan is “Clear to Close”, a closing date will be scheduled. At Benchmark, we closed VA loans in an average of 25 days for 2017.
At closing, an experienced Closing Agent will verify the accuracy of your loan information, and reconfirm that you understand the terms and conditions associated with your VA Home Loan. Once you have finalized all of your paperwork, you will take ownership of your new home, and be presented with keys.