Once you get through the VA loan pre-approval and you find a home, it’s time to get through the VA underwriting. This is when the underwriter takes a fine toothed comb and goes over every aspect of your VA loan application.
Just how long does this process take and what should you expect? Keep reading to find out what you should know.
The Final Review
You can think of VA underwriting as the final review of your documents. If you secured a pre-approval, an underwriter already reviewed your documents and approved you for a loan (conditionally).
During the underwriting process, the underwriter makes sure that everything is the same as it was when he/she pre-approved you for the loan. During this time, the underwriter may ask for additional documentation. They almost always ask for proof that you still have the same job, the same income, the same credit score, and the same (or fewer) debts.
Once you sign a purchase contract, you’ll turn a copy of it into the lender. The underwriter then goes over the contract to make sure it meets the VA guidelines. Basically, the underwriter needs to make sure that the seller isn’t giving too many concessions or that there aren’t any odd terms in the contract that would make the transaction unsafe for you.
The underwriter will also use this time to go over your income, assets, liabilities, and credit score. The underwriter will then conditionally approve the loan. This typically means that you are approved for the loan, but the property itself must pass the requirements now. This has nothing to do with you – it’s all about how the property stacks up against the VA guidelines.
The underwriter will wait for the appraisal to fully approve you for the loan. As a final step, the underwriter will also call your employer a day or two before your closing as well as pull your credit one more time. This is in an effort to ensure that nothing changed while you completed the processing of your loan.
The underwriter doesn’t have any control over how long the appraisal takes. Your loan officer will order the appraisal as soon as you sign a purchase contract and turn it into the lender. The appraiser must then make an appointment with the seller to come see the home. This process can take between a few days to 2 weeks depending on the turnaround time of the appraiser. It also depends on the seller’s cooperation.
The Final Step
Once the underwriter has the appraisal in hand, he/she can review it to make sure the property meets the VA guidelines. This isn’t as scary as it sounds. The VA does have Minimum Property Guidelines, but they are in place to make sure the home is safe, sound, and sanitary. In other words, there shouldn’t be a large hole in the roof or mold growth in the home (just as a couple of examples).
Once the underwriter approves the appraisal and your income, assets, and credit all check out one final time, you are free to close on the loan. Just how long this process takes depends on many factors including:
- The lender’s backlog – Each lender has a different turnaround time. It helps to ask ahead of time what the lender’s turnaround time is if you have a strict closing date.
- Your cooperation – The underwriter may need additional documentation from you. It’s up to you to get it to him/her as fast as possible.
- The timing of the appraisal – The seller must also cooperate with the process, allowing the appraiser access to the property and providing any information the appraiser may need.
In short, the VA underwriting process can take a few days or a few weeks. The more everyone works together, the faster the process can go. It helps if you are in contact with your loan officer or underwriter often to make sure all details are provided as needed.