VA Loans Underwriting Process

Veterans have often heard the term Underwriting when is comes to their purchase or refinance.  I think this is a term that is said but really never understood.  Perhaps there are misconceptions about this person or process.  In reality its both.  An underwriter is a person and underwriting is a process.


An underwriter is a person hired by a Lender (i.e. Wells Fargo, Bank of America) to make sure the loan meets the guidelines of the investor or lender.  They really have a tough job because a lot rides on them and they are responsible for bad loans that get approved.  VA underwriters will take a file and look over it very carefully and make sure that the originating loan officer packaged the file correctly and make sure nothing is missing or fraudulent.  Underwriters must understand VA loan qualifications and mortgage approval based on the Veterans credit history, income, debt, down payment, equity and compensating factors.  They issue approvals, clear to closes and denials.  They are basically the last line in the home buying or refinancing process.  If a Veteran can make it past an underwriter then its usually clear sailing until closing.

What is the VA underwriting process?

So now that we have established who and underwriter is, I want to explain the underwriting process.  Once the loan officer has established the value of the home, obtained title work, income documentation and VA loan disclosures, the file is now ready for Underwriting.  The loan gets sent to the Underwriting and they will review everything the LO put together.  They have most of the analytical tasks.  They will follow all the guidelines established by the VA for approval.  They looks most at the 3 C’s.  Credit, Capacity and Collateral.  Credit is obviously the documentation used to determine the Veterans ability to make payments on time.  Capacity is the Veterans income, debt, reserves and job time.  Does the Veteran have the income capacity to make the payments.  Collateral is the home and its value.  If you can pass the 3 C’s then an approval will usually be issued.

Once the file comes out of Underwriting there are almost every time conditions.  This is still an approval, but the LO will have to meet additional criteria and sometimes provide additional documentation from the Veteran to get a final approval.  Once the underwriter is satisfied and all the VA conditions are met then you will be to close your loan.  An important thing to remember is that the Underwriter will also issue funding requirements.  This means after closing there might be additional work that needs to be done in order to have funds dispersed.

The whole process of Underwriting can take up to 60 days.  I have personally seen it take this long because of too much volume and not enough underwriters.  Usually though it takes about 1 to 2 weeks.  Don’t look at underwriters as someone who doesn’t want your loan, in fact its just the opposite.  They want to have the work and approve files.  They plan an important role in the VA mortgage industry and will continue to do so.

33 thoughts on “VA Loans Underwriting Process

  1. My VA Mortgage loan has been approved by the underwriter with conditions. We’ve submitted the requested documents that will hopefully satisfy these conditions. We’re nervous and anxious because we really want this house. Didn’t hear anything today, so I guess we’ll have to wait ’til after Labor Day. Ready for this process to be over.

  2. I have been going through this process since early June. I feel the process was done backwards. I was approved for a VA loan. They started building the house without asking for information. I kept inquiring about when will they need information. I even askd about what should the status of my account look like. I ask if I should keep it higher than what I normally keep it. She says, ” oh don’t worry about it, just live as normal.” As the house gets to it’s final stages, still no information is requested. Then a monkey wrench is thrown. The builder and the banker are fighting. Here is is Dec and I am still going through the process. Finally, after the house is finished and we’ve done the walk through, the request information. What is that all about? I am excited and now scarred at the same time. I think it is torture to let us watch the house being built to our needs with special requests and now we are on eggshells waiting on an answer. This has been a 6 mos experience. I am very very tired and disappointed. I can’t wait till it’s over to voice my opinion. I am so tired that even if the loan finally is approve, I don’t know if I would be able to enjoy it for the first year due to the stress we went through.

  3. I had a VA loan come back from underwriting. It was approved with conditions, one of which was for us to provide a letter stating how much we pay in childcare. When it was submitted to underwriting it came back denied for the loan. They said that the childcare put our debt to income ratio over the limit for a VA loan. We were furious! How is it that an active duty soldier, who has a current VA mortgage that has never been late for 2 years can not get approved for a new VA mortgage, once the sale of the current one is final. It’s rediculous!

  4. I am going through my loan process right now with VA Morgage Center. This whole process has been a big pain. We should have closed over a month ago but my broker was dragging his feet and now underwriting is doing the same. They said that they have everything that they need but I have been waiting 3 weeks for it to go to Docs. If you are reading this, do not go with VA Morgage Center, there are other lenders that do VA loans, think about going through a lender for your loan. My lender is Wells Fargo, if you don’t go directly through them for your loan, then things like reduced fees for PCS moves and Closing Guarantee does not apply to you.

  5. wow i thought i was the only one..well we were on to the last step under writing with the va we got denied because we don’t have enough assets in the back we have about 10 000 dollars saved up . this is ridiculous to me that’s the whole point of a VA 0 down loan for vets to be able to buy a home and not worry about having to save a boat load of money to put down . so now we are stuck and do not know what to do ! husband is a deployed, great kick in the pants to keep motivated in Afghanistan they work their buts off and then VA denies a deployed solider makes me furious. so pretty much now if you dont have money in the bank you will get denied , we don’t want to loose this house . its crazy to me a VET should be approved regardless they deserve every benefit.. so now my husband will never be able to use his VA mortgage benefit after 4 deployments!!

  6. We have been going through the same thing for the last 5 months. We originally were going through USAA, our loan officer told us everything had been approved, we just needed to add a small deck to the back door and we were good. We went and got everything to do it 2,000.00 in lumber, and then 2 days before our scheduled closing date, when my husband called him to ask a question, he told us that our loan was denied! I don’t understand how they could do this! We have all the approval papers, and even emails from this guy telling us that everything was approved and then all of the sudden he says it was denied because of the acres. Thats the first thing we checked on and they said it was fine. Now we are trying to go through another bank, it’s in the underwriting process. I pray that everything goes through, we sold the house we currently live in, and have to be out within 2 weeks!! We have 2 small children and we really do not know what to do!! These veterans should not have any problems getting their va loans, that’s what they are there for!

  7. Bethany,

    Very interesting situation…Was it a credit problem? are you trying to purchase a home or refinance?

  8. Reading this makes me believe our loan won’t happen at all. For the last 3 weeks we have been jerked around by the underwriter with one more condition all the time…just one more letter, just one more document. My husband and I have had it and today we are flipping things on them. If they can’t give us final approval today we are taking our business somewhere else. The pain these underwriters put you through is WAY over the top. We have a very high credit score and make plenty to afford the loan. They made us too give a child care letter and even had to have notarized letter from my mom saying she help take care of kids for free. My kids this fall will be in school full time ..and with how slow the underwriter is and how many extras they are throwing on that they may be in school before we get done. I am furious over the situation. We had all the financial docs to the loan officer in 2 days and responded within an hour on every loan condition …now how about finishing this process already.
    All I can say is underwriters are subjective not objective from my experience and if they are having a bad day you are screwed.

  9. Holly,

    I’m so sorry about the delays. If it were up to us every loan would be processed in a few days. Please stick with us and we will get your loan processed. I know the delay times are frustrating, but it’s just a part of the rates being so great. Please let us know if you have any other questions.


  10. My husband and I are going through this right now. I’ll be completely honest. Our credit is 680 and he makes 140k a year now doing security contracting. He served 12 years in the Marines. We got refferd eligible ?? I don’t get it. Our credit is 40 above the minimum requirements and our debt to income is great. We also just paid off 10k in debt. Our mortgage would only be 275 more than what we pay for rent currently. That is literally what he makes a day now in his line of work. Actually he makes close to 400 per day!! I don’t get this at all. It’s heart breaking to have been “pre-appeoved” have the house built to your specs then 2 days before closing find out your not approved. I’m heart sick. My husband went to war twice and now continues to deploy 9 months of the year and we can’t even get a va home loan! This is just mind boggling!! Please excuse typos. It’s 12:03 am and I’m awake just in agony over this.

  11. Much of the same for me. Several weeks of requests for the most minute detail of individual transactions within 4-mos of bank statements. I have super credit, a great paying job of $250K+ and feel as though I have been locked inn a physical for space flight. Very unsatisfied with the underwriting process and am about where Holly is and about to go elsewhere. Given the information available out there plus the documents provided, I would think there are loan apps that one could say with a level of certainty are “low-risk” without the extremes I and others that have posted have been through.

  12. Amber,

    Are you looking to purchase a home? contact us back and we will see what we can do for you. Our number is 866-569-8272

  13. We were told today our loan was turned down by the underwriter. If we can’t get approved for a loan I honestly don’t know how anyone buys a house through the va. We were told it was because my husband works for the department of state over seas. ??!!! Hello he makes 6 figures and always pays his bills! Our number is 225-270-9594. Please feel free to contact us if you think you can help. We are losing a 3k deposit and the house we designed. The asking price on the home is 279,000. House note a little over 1500. Again We make over 10k per month. None of this makes any sense to me! 🙁

  14. WOW! Reading all of this makes me almost certain that my husband and I will be denied in the underwriting!!! The house we are trying to buy is 145,000$ with the monthly mortgage supposed to be 935, our current rent is 1476!! My husband is considered 100% disabled by the VA and recieves VA Compensation and SSDI. His credit score in in the lower 600’s I think 631 is one of the 3??? He gets 900 SSDI and 3700 for the VA Comp, his debt isnt too bad however. No more then 18,000 IF that. We are going threw the underwriting now, but seeing so many people with such good credit and income get denied is pretty much disheartening!!!! :•| And we have like, no savings so there goes any “callateral” they would consider. 😛

  15. Leona,

    the hard part is the credit score. If he is in the low 600’s that is right on the border line. The minimum requirement is 620 credit score so if your credit score is at that level we should be able to help you out. if it’s just below 620 there are a bunch of places you can go to help you get that score up to where it needs to be

  16. I’m going through VA Home Loan process were all my funding fees were waived for being a disabled vetern. I’m 23 years old enrolled full time to school full time to work(30-35hrs) I have a great credit score online but aparently mortgage lenders see a different number from whats online… my score fell aroun a 660 which is above the requirements, my DTI fell above the max by 1-2 percent that is my mortgage will be 613.98(including escrow taxand insurance)+50(min for 2 cards) however I i make the appropriate amount of residual income which for my state is 441 and I average round 650 or so after all bills are paid my current apartment rent is 613 which is as you can see above the same as the mortgage I have no bad credit remarks I put 500 for the earnest monies and all they asked is for me to pay for the apraisal and the inspections which rounded about 900 all together the lender seems to think I should be fine all this has been done in less then a week i dont close until litterally one month from today 22april2013 so I just entered to underwritting process and they havent asked for a thing and its looking at about a week i should know if i got approved or not. Its a scary process but many of you guys need to do some research I only make 1500 of income a month and am purchasing a house for 110k no cosign.

  17. My fiancé and I where pre-appoved for AV loan then after the apprasil that we paid for we were denied due to us not being married. We told our banker (wells fargo) we will get married before the closing date. We got a call back they told us we are denied because he has not been at his job for 2 years. He has not been home for two years yet from deployment. He was off for 1 mo. Then got a job doing construction we live in mn and was laid off for the winter(what construction copany in mn does not get laid off for the winter) he had this job lined up while he was deployed. Now they are getting a second underwrighting done but I was told we have less the 5% to get approved 🙁 feel like we are getting penitalized for him being deployed

  18. Courtney,

    So sorry about that situation. Give us a call and we will try and help you best we can 866-569-8272

  19. So many horror stories on here. Makes me even more nervous than I was. Hopefully we have a good loan officer. He’s been double checking with underwriter throughout process to make sure we’re in line to get approved quickly. Just hope there isn’t anything that he missed. Supposed to close in 3 1/2 weeks.

  20. Jenny,

    I hope you feel comfortable with us and definitely if you ever have any concerns PLEASE contact us and we will assist you. We try and hold our loan officers to a very high standard

  21. Slight snag in the process…everything went well with underwriting process with one exception. We filed bankruptcy and it was discharged in March of 2011. They were aware of that and with a VA loan, you have to wait two years, so no issues. During the bankruptcy, we kept our house & car, along with a couple of other secured loans. However, we didn’t receive any reaffirmation papers from our mortgage company back then and they have no record of it being reaffirmed. We have continued to pay the mortgage and to live in the property. Our loan officer is trying to work something out with the underwriter, but they’re saying even if we treated it as if we foreclosed on the house, we would have to wait 3 years to purchase another property. Everywhere I’ve looked says the VA requires a two-year waiting period. However, the lender doesn’t have to follow the VA guidelines. Just heartbroken because we went through this whole process just to find out we didn’t have a piece of paper. A little frustrated because I wish we were asked for this documentation prior to paying for the appraisal, inspection and earnest deposit.

  22. Three days before closing, the buyers of my current home take possession, and now my loan officer states we may not be able to close on our new home. She staes the appraiser submitted the wrong form, needed a condo form the appraiser did a regular home form. She states she requested the appraiser make the correction six days ago, but hasn’t heard back. Any suggestions, I want to close on Friday three days from now and not have my wife and 13 month old daughter not live out of the back of a 26 foot U -Haul.

  23. What about the other side of the coin? I’m a widow who accepted an offer on my home from a vet. I made, and had accepted, an offer on another home for myself contingent on the sale of this one. It’s pretty frightening when I read that it’s not guaranteed even at this late stage (inspections and appraisals all went well) that the underwriter could still stop the sale. Wouldn’t that be great if I’m all moved out, and living in limbo! Is there no “clear to close” certificate issued, so I could possibly get prepossession of the new home?

  24. I have been promised so many things from different banks and I am sick and tired of the lies! Banks promise to be able to get your loan approved as long as you let them pull your credit score. One loan officer even told me that it wouldn’t show up on my credit report. When he finished pulling my credit report 4 times my score dropped by 40 points! He then told me that I wasn’t qualified anymore! I am working with a new mortgage company and they are alot helpful. It is still taking the underwriter several weeks to give us an answer. My wife and I are both E6s in the Army and we found a fairly cheap house to buy….$170K. Hopefully we hear something back soon!

  25. sounds like all of us vets need to contact veteran commitees and make the government aware of this travesty.

  26. Sometimes, a partial eligibility can be awarded as well.

    In addition, members of the military who were dishonorably discharged can also acquire eligibility.
    Also, since this is a VA loan, your Disability or Retirement statement from the VA will be necessary.
    * If you have credit cards, always make full and timely payments
    and keep balances at zero. There are men and women in various communities who aren’t recognized as veterans.

  27. this is so not true. My husband was on his second deployment when we tried to get a va loan to buy a house. we got pre-approved which was crap because after 2 months of BS they denied us because his deployment didn’t count as income according to them. so now we are stuck in a crappy house paying almost 3 times as much in rent. I mean really! The idiot underwriter said we couldn’t afford 298 a month house payment but yet we proved we were paying 900 a month in rent. Guess my husband is risking his life for nothing.

  28. Tori, I am sorry you had a bad experience trying to get a VA loan. I assume you did not have this experience here at Low VA Rates, and if you did please let me know. I would love for you to talk to one of our VA loan specialists and try this again. Please contact us.

  29. My husband and I got denied by the underwriter because of a break in his employment. He’s been working 20 months straight but was laid off a couple of months before that. Because he is a coal miner and the mines he was working at shut down along with several others. But before that he straight employment for years. Like I said just that small break being unemployed. Our LO is running it straight thru the bank and seems to think he can get it approved that way. I’m frustrated because we were so hoping to get out of the house that we are living in now. It’s old and falling apart. We have tax returns from all the years prior to that one year he was laid off a few months and the tax returns after that year. Each year but the one has him making over 60,000 a year. His credit score is 655 and brings home 1100 a week now. Can someone give me some hope that it may still happen? And explain to me what our options are?! Please.

  30. Thank you for your comment and we understand that these are tricky. However we would love to discuss options with you and see what we can do to help you get into a newer home with the rate that you deserve. Please feel free to call us today at
    (866) 569-8272. We will also have a Loan Officer reach out to you through email.

  31. Pingback: Va Mortgage Underwriting Process | First Home Mortgage

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