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VA Loans for Coast Guard: Are You Eligible?

The Coast Guard serves an important role in our military, but do they have access to the same benefits? Read on to learn more about getting a VA loan in the Coast Guard.

VA loans are a popular choice for military members, including members of the Coast Guard. With a wide array of benefits, it’s no wonder so many service members want to explore their options for buying a home. However, if you’re a member of the Coast Guard, you may wonder if a VA loan is right for you.

While members of the Coast Guard are eligible for VA loans, and there are many similarities between the Coast Guard and other branches of the military, there are some key differences that could impact your eligibility. Let’s take a look at some of the basics of using a VA loan as a member of the Coast Guard.

VA Loan Coast Guard Eligibility

Coast Guard members are eligible for a VA home loan if they have completed at least six years of honorable service, are mobilized for active duty service for a period of at least 90 days, or are discharged because of a service-connected disability.

If there is any doubt about whether or not you meet the VA’s service requirements before applying for a VA loan, contact your lender directly.

Documents Needed for a VA Loan in the Coast Guard

As with any other home loan, you’ll need to prepare several documents verifying your employment status, income, debts and more:

These include:

  • Your most recent leave and earnings statement (LES)
  • Your most recent bank statements
  • Last two years of tax returns
  • Last two years of W-2s or 1099s
  • Proof of any other income you may have
  • A list of debts and monthly payments
  • Your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

Getting a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) in the Coast Guard

While you don’t need a Certificate of Eligibility to start the VA home loan process, you will need it eventually. A COE lets lenders know if you meet the Coast Guard service requirements needed to obtain a VA home loan or if you’ve used your VA loan benefit before.

It should be relatively easy to obtain your COE, and experienced VA lenders can typically pull it for you in a matter of minutes. You may also apply for your COE online or by mail.

Get your COE in minutes with one of our loan specialists.

It is important to note that members of the Coast Guard will likely need their DD-214 in order to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility. If you separated or retired from the Coast Guard on or after October 1st, 2006, you’ll need to fax a completed and signed SF-180 to 202-372-8440. If you separated or retired before October 1st, 2006, you can request to obtain your DD-214 online.

If you are a current active duty or reserve member, you can contact your Servicing Personnel Office for assistance.

How to Get a VA Loan in the Coast Guard

Once you have your COE, you’ll be ready to choose a lender and start the process of getting a VA loan.

Here are the basic steps you’ll need to take:

Step 1: Get Preapproved

Getting a preapproval gives you an idea of how much of a home you can afford and shows sellers and real estate agents that you’re a serious buyer.

Step 2: Begin House Hunting

Now the fun begins! With your preapproval letter in hand you’ll be equipped to begin looking for your perfect home.

Step 3: Make an Offer and Get Under Contract

Once you find the right home for you, it’s time to make an offer. A trusted real estate agent who is familiar with VA loans can help you craft a strong offer that will ideally win the bid and get you under contract.

Step 4: Underwriting

Underwriting on your VA home loan may take some time. During this time, underwriters will take a deep dive into your finances. The VA appraisal will also take place to ensure the home meets all the minimum property requirements. Once the appraisal is completed and your underwriting team is confident in your mortgage file, you’ll be ready to close on your loan!

Step 5: Close on Your Loan

Closing day is an exciting one. Before your loan closes, you’ll receive a Closing Disclosure outlining all the final closing costs and fees. Lenders will also take one last look at your finances, so be sure to avoid purchasing any big ticket items or changing employment before closing.

At the end of the day, using your VA loan benefit as a member of the Coast Guard is a sound financial decision that doesn’t differ much from other branches of the military. Get in touch with an experienced VA lender to learn more about your VA home loan benefit.