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VA Loan Approval Process: What You Need to Know

The time it takes to get a VA loan application approved for a house can vary depending on several factors. 

The timeline can be affected by various factors, such as the availability of appraisers and any unforeseen issues that may arise during the process like repairs, or underwriting conditions.

However, on average, it takes around 30 to 45 days to close on a house with a VA loan.

Here are some factors that can affect the timeline for getting a VA loan approved.

Pre-approval process 

The pre-approval process can take a few days, depending on your individual situation and how quickly you can provide paperwork needed for review..

It’s a good idea to get the pre-approval done before you start looking at homes.

Getting pre-approved for a VA loan is an important first step in the homebuying process as it helps you determine how much you can afford to spend on a home and gives you an advantage when making an offer on a property.

To get pre-approved, you will need to provide your lender with information about your income, employment history, credit score, and other financial information. The lender will then evaluate your financial situation and determine how much you are qualified to borrow.

Here are some of the VA loan requirements you will need to meet:

Eligibility: You must meet the eligibility requirements for a VA loan, which typically include having served in the military for a certain period of time, being a surviving spouse of a service member who died in the line of duty, or being a National Guard or Reserve member.

Income: You will need to provide documentation of your income, such as pay stubs, W-2 forms, and tax returns. Your lender will use this information to determine your debt-to-income ratio, which is the amount of your monthly income that goes towards paying debt.

Creditworthiness: You will need to have a good credit score to qualify for a VA loan. While the exact credit score requirements may vary depending on the lender, a credit score of 620 or higher is generally required.

Assets: You may need to provide documentation of your assets, such as bank statements and investment account statements. Your lender may use this information to determine your ability to cover closing costs.

Other factors: Your lender may also consider other factors, such as your employment history, length of time at your current job, and any other outstanding debts you may have, your credit history.

Providing accurate and complete information upfront can help streamline the pre-approval process and increase your chances of getting approved for a VA loan.

Finding the right property can take a few days to a few months, depending on your preferences and the housing market.

Before you start your property search, determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. 

Sometimes lenders will give you your max pre-approval amount. 

The amount you are pre-approved for is based on your income, debts, and other financial factors, but it may not take into account other important factors such as your lifestyle, savings goals, and other financial priorities.

Pay attention to your monthly budget and determine what payment amount you are comfortable with.

Once you have a budget in mind, you can start defining your criteria for the type of home you’re looking for. 

This may include factors such as location, size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, style, and features.

There are many online search tools available that allow you to search for homes based on your criteria, but the easiest way to do a search is having a real estate agent do it for you. 

Work with a real estate agent

A real estate agent can help you with your property search. They have access to a wider range of listings and can help you narrow down your search based on your criteria. Additionally, they can provide valuable insights into the local housing market and help you make informed decisions.

Also, not all properties are eligible for VA financing.

VA loans have property restrictions that must be met in order for a home to be eligible for VA financing. Here are some of the main property requirements for a VA loan:

Property type: VA loans can be used to finance a variety of property types, including single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums. However, the property must be a residential property and be the borrower’s primary residence. VA also requires condos to be VA approved.

Property condition: The property must be in good condition and meet certain safety and habitability standards. The VA may require repairs or other improvements to be made before the loan can be approved.

Appraisal: The property must be appraised by a VA-approved appraiser to determine its value and ensure that it meets VA standards.

Occupancy: The borrower must intend to occupy the property as their primary residence within a reasonable time after closing.

Other VA requirements: The property must also meet other VA requirements, such as being free from any liens or other encumbrances that would affect the borrower’s ability to own and occupy the property.

Many real estate agents are familiar with the VA loan program and can help you find homes that meet VA requirements. They can also help you navigate the homebuying process and work with you to find a home that fits your needs and budget.

VA appraisal

The VA appraisal process takes around 10-14 days from the time the appraisal is ordered. However, the exact timing can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the availability of the appraiser, and the complexity of the appraisal.

Here is a breakdown of the VA appraisal process and the timeframes involved:

Ordering the appraisal: The VA appraisal is ordered by the lender. This typically takes 1-2 business days.A purchase contract is typically required in order to have the VA appraisal ordered. For refinances, a completed loan application and approval to move forward with an appraisal is needed.

Scheduling the appraisal: The appraiser will contact the listing agent to schedule a date and time for the appraisal. This can take several days depending on the appraiser’s availability and workload.

Appraisal inspection: The appraiser will visit the property to conduct an inspection and determine the value of the property. This typically takes a few hours depending on the property size.

  • Safety: The appraiser will inspect the property to ensure that it is safe and structurally sound. This includes checking for any major defects or safety hazards, such as faulty wiring, damaged roof, mold, or structural damage.
  • Mechanical systems: The appraiser will inspect the mechanical systems in the property, including the heating, cooling, and electrical systems, to ensure that they are in good working condition.
  • Plumbing: The appraiser will inspect the plumbing system, including pipes, fixtures, and water supply, to ensure that there are no leaks or other issues.
  • Appliances: The appraiser will check the appliances, such as the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher, to ensure that they are in good working condition.
  • Water supply: The appraiser will inspect the water supply, including the well or public water supply, to ensure that it is safe and meets local health codes.
  • Access: The appraiser will ensure that the property is accessible by a public road and that there are no issues with easements or encroachments.

If there are any issues that are identified during the appraisal, the borrower or seller may need to make repairs or corrections before the loan can be approved.

Appraisal report: The appraiser will prepare a report that includes a detailed analysis of the property and the value estimate. This report is sent to the lender and the borrower. This typically takes a few days after the inspection.

Review and approval: The underwriter will review the appraisal report and ensure that it meets all VA requirements. If the appraisal is approved, the loan can move forward. This typically takes a few days.

Overall, the VA appraisal process can take around 10-14 days from start to finish, but the exact timing can vary depending on a variety of factors.

VA Underwriting 

The underwriting process can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the lender and the complexity of your financial situation and the volume of applications being processed by the lender.

During the underwriting process, the lender will review your loan application and all supporting documentation to ensure that you meet the VA’s eligibility requirements and that the loan meets the lender’s underwriting standards. 

This includes verifying your income, employment, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and other financial information.

The underwriter will also review the results of the VA appraisal to ensure that the property meets the VA’s minimum property requirements and that the appraised value of the property is in line with the loan amount.

Once the underwriter has completed their review, they will issue a loan decision.

If there are any issues or conditions that need to be met before the loan can be approved, the underwriter will issue a list of conditions that must be satisfied before the loan can close.

Once all conditions have been met, the loan will be cleared to close and you can proceed with the final steps of the loan process, including signing the closing documents and taking possession of the property.


Closing on the loan can take a few days, depending on the availability of all parties involved and any unforeseen issues that arise.

The process of getting VA closing documents typically starts after you have received final loan approval from your lender. The lender will provide you with a closing disclosure that outlines the final terms of the loan, including the interest rate, loan amount, and closing costs.

Once you have reviewed and accepted the closing disclosure, the lender will work with the title company or attorney to prepare the closing documents. These documents will include the loan agreement, promissory note, and deed of trust, among others.

You will need to sign these documents in the presence of a notary, who will verify your identity and witness your signature. Some documents may also need to be signed by the seller and other parties involved in the transaction.

After you have signed all of the necessary documents, the lender will review them and ensure that everything is in order. Once the lender has received all necessary funds, the loan will be funded and the transaction will be complete.

Roadblocks that can happen that’ll delay the timeline

Several roadblocks can arise during the VA loan process, which can affect the timeline and potentially prevent the loan from being approved. 

Here are some common VA loan roadblocks that borrowers may encounter:

Eligibility issues: Borrowers may face eligibility issues if they do not meet the minimum service requirements or other eligibility criteria for a VA loan.

Credit issues: Borrowers may have difficulty getting approved for a VA loan if they have a low credit score or a history of missed payments or defaults on their credit report.

Appraisal issues: The VA requires an appraisal of the property to determine its value and ensure that it meets minimum property requirements. If the appraisal comes in lower than the purchase price, this can create issues with financing.

Property issues: The property may not meet the minimum property requirements for a VA loan, which can prevent the loan from being approved.

Debt-to-income ratio: If a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio is too high, the lender may not approve the VA loan.

Employment history: The lender may require stable employment history, and if the borrower has changed jobs frequently, this can create issues with financing.

Underwriting issues: The underwriting process can uncover issues with the borrower’s financial situation, which can delay or prevent loan approval.

Closing issues: Delays in the closing process, such as missing documentation or issues with the title, can cause delays in the loan approval process.

How should these VA roadblocks be addressed?

Communication: Keep an open line of communication with your lender. Ask questions and seek clarification whenever necessary. Make sure that you understand the requirements and the process.

Documentation: Ensure that you provide all the necessary documentation on time and provide complete paperwork. When your loan officer states they need all pages of a bank statement, they mean provide every single page, even the blank ones! The VA loan process requires a lot of paperwork, and any missing documentation can delay the process. 

Timeliness: Respond promptly to any requests from your lender. Any delays on your part can hold up the process.

Flexibility: Be open to making changes if required. For example, if your credit score is not high enough, consider ways to improve it. If the home you want to buy is not eligible for a VA loan, consider other options.

Patience: Be prepared for the process to take longer than you expect. There may be delays due to factors beyond your control, such as a backlog at the VA or the lender.

Overall, the entire process can take anywhere from 30 days to 45 days, depending on the individual circumstances. Work closely with your lender and real estate agent to ensure that the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.