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Top Strategies for Qualifying and Applying For VA Business Loans 

Published: January 29, 2024
Author: Jessica

Applying for a VA business loan can prove incredibly easy or painfully challenging.  

As with other loan types, you’ll often be subjected to a reasonably rigorous preapproval process to qualify for a VA loan. Most lenders here would consider aspects like your overall credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and the value of collateralized assets (for secured loans).  

Even after getting preapproved for a VA business loan, there’s the actual application process. Applications can last a few minutes to several hours, depending on the required documents. Finally, you must endure the agonizing wait for the lender to process your application. 

If you’ve been considering taking a VA loan but don’t know where to start, this article is for you. Read below for insightful tips on qualifying and applying for these resourceful business loans.  

What Is A VA Business Loan? 

A VA business loan is a mortgage guaranteed (usually in part) by the United States (US) Department of Veteran Affairs.  

VA business loans are typically available to US veterans. However, the loans are also accessible to active service members and their spouses. 

 

What Is The Eligibility Criteria For VA Loans? 

 

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the guaranteed entitlement for each VA loan applicant varies from one veteran to another. However, the entitlement ranges from $36,000 to 25% of the county loan limit. Understand where you fall before applying for a VA business loan.  

Also, certain types of VA loan refinancing may not require your credit score. However, most lenders will still need you to have a credit score of around 620 or higher.  

The following are other requirements for VA loan applicants; 

  • Must have served in active duty for at least 90 days 
  • Must have served in the Reserves or National Guard for a minimum of six years 
  • Must have served in active duty for at least 181 days during peacetime 
  • Must have served for a cumulative period of 90 days under Title 10 or Title 32, including 30 consecutive days served for Title 32 service 

 

For spouse applications, your husband must have died or sustained a disability in the line of duty.  

Either applicant must also demonstrate a sufficient ability to service the loan. Lenders would typically evaluate your DTI or collateralized asset to determine your VA loan repayment ability. 

How to Apply For A VA Business Loan 

 

  1. Find a Suitable Lender

 

There’s no shortage of banks and credit institutions that provide business loans. But for VA loans, you’ll want to insist on lenders who are active participants in the VA loan program.  

Shop around for multiple lenders and familiarize yourself with their lending terms. Pay particular attention to their interest rates and closing costs. 

  1. Obtain a COE

 

A certificate of eligibility (COE) proves you meet the minimum eligibility criteria for a VA business loan. Most lenders would need this document before approving you for the loan.  

The surest way to obtain a COE is by visiting the Department of Veteran Affairs website at https://www.va.gov/. You could also apply for the certificate through your identified lender.  

The following documents will help expedite the application process; 

  • Government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license 
  • Recent financial information, including your bank statements, pay stubs, and W-2s 
  • A duly signed statement of service (for active duty applicants) 
  • Form DD214 (for veterans) 
  • A marriage license or certificate (for surviving spouses) 

 

  1. Pre-qualify For the Loan

 

Although an optional step, getting pre-qualified for a VA business loan lets you predict your loan repayment abilities and the likelihood of getting approved by the lender.  

Find a licensed VA loan professional and furnish them with all the relevant information, including your credit rating, employment history, income, and marital status. Thanks to their experience, you might uncover and address aspects that could knock you off the eligibility list.  

  1. Shop For A Home

 

After establishing that you qualify for a VA loan, the next step is to engage a licensed real estate agent to locate a suitable property.  

Insist on realtors specializing in VA loans, preferably those with a proven track record.  

  1. Purchase and Appraise the Home

 

The real estate agent you hire will scout for an ideal investment property for you. However, evaluating offers and signing sales agreements rests squarely on you.  

Once you’ve accepted an offer, you must get a VA-approved appraiser to determine the property’s value. You may also get the home inspected, especially if this was a condition in the sales agreement. 

  1. Close On Your Home

 

After accepting a mortgage offer and getting a property inspected, it’s time to complete the loan underwriting process by providing relevant documentation, such as proof of income. If everything looks good, proceed to close on your home.  

Closing on your home essentially entails signing a loan document known as ‘closing disclosure,’ indicating that you’ve read and agree with the lending terms. 

  1. File Your Certificate

 

The final step in applying for a VA loan is obtaining your eligibility certificate from the Department of Veteran Affairs.  

The document would indicate the portion of your VA mortgage loan entitlement used so far.  

 

Final Word 

 

Contrary to popular perception, VA business loans are considerably accessible. We hope you can use this article as a guide when applying for your next VA loan. 

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