Why you need a COE
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to buy a house using your VA Home Loan benefit, the next step is to get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You cannot begin the loan application process, and your lender can’t approve a VA Home Loan without it. This document, issued by the US Department of Veteran Affairs, verifies to your lender that you meet the qualifications and are eligible for a VA Loan based on your service history and duty status. In addition, the COE shows you and your lender the amount of your entitlement you have, which means the amount that the Veterans Administration will guarantee should you default on your home loan. The COE also determines if you’ll pay the VA funding fee, the one-time amount paid directly to the VA to help support the VA Home Loan benefit program.
Who qualifies for a COE?
To qualify for a COE, you must meet the following requirements:
Note that requirements differ depending on whether you served during peacetime or active wartime.
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How to request a COE
There are three methods available for you to get your Certificate of Eligibility:
Although having your COE in hand doesn’t guarantee your VA Home Loan, it is the first and most crucial step in the home loan process. No further steps can be taken without your COE. But as you can see, getting your Certificate of Eligibility is as simple as asking your VA-approved lender to get it for you. And note that your COE doesn’t expire, but you might need to update it in certain situations. For instance, if you were on active duty when you got your COE, you would need to update it once you were discharged.