I have been processing VA loans for four years and have seen all kinds of things go wrong at the last minute. If you have purchased or refinanced a home in the past you may be familiar with some of the frustrating holdups in actually getting to the closing table. While some of these issues may be due to third parties and are out of our control, there are several steps that you, as a borrower, can take to help the process go smoother and more quickly.
- Give your Loan Officer accurate information upfront. During the pre-approval process with your VA loan officer, you will be asked for several pieces of information that are critical in determining your eligibility for a VA loan. It is important that this information is as accurate as possible, or else you run the risk of hold ups later if it turns out that you do not actually meet VA or lender criteria. I have seen loans held up because of misinformation that was discovered at the eleventh hour. Some of these critical items include: your credit scores, how much you currently owe and your current interest rate (if you are seeking to refinance), any second mortgage or home equity line of credit, bankruptcy or late payments on your mortgage, if your spouse is on the loan with you, etc.
- Return phone calls and/or emails promptly. This may seem obvious, but after processing thousands of VA loans I have seen many closings stalled simply because the borrower did not return a call or email with some critical information we needed to move forward. Life is understandably busy, but time is of the essence, especially when you are trying to save money! Closings need to be coordinated with title companies and lenders, and can be pushed back days or even weeks waiting for information from the borrower.
- Supply all documentation requested by your loan officer. Your loan officer will have sent you a list of items needed from you in order to process your loan and have it approved by the bank. Some of these items may include the Note from your current loan (if you are refinancing), employment/income documentation, DD-214 to request your COE, photo IDs, proof of homeowner’s insurance, etc. Omitting any one of these items will cause your closing to be delayed until it is received and reviewed. Banks will not issue an approval to close until all of their documentation criteria are met. The more thorough we can be up front during processing, the more smoothly everything will go toward the end.
- Ask all of your questions well before you get to the closing table. Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions of your VA loan, such as third party fees, your new payment, the interest rate, etc. Be sure to ask your loan officer to explain anything you do not understand before you are closing so that when it comes time to sign you feel confident and ready. It is frustrating for everyone when a closing has to be postponed because of something that could