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How Long Does it Take to Close a VA Loan?

It’s an extremely common question across Veterans United Network:

“How long will it take to buy a home with a VA loan?”

And it’s a tough one to answer. Buying a home is a multi-step process, and hiccups can occur at any stage of that process. But with good preparation and the right approach, VA buyers can better predict when those precious keys will finally be in hand.

Let’s review five key factors that could affect the timeline of a VA loan purchase. Knowing the details of the VA loan process is important for you and your customers.

how long does it take to close a va loan

How long will it take to buy a home with a VA loan? It all depends.

Factor #1: Are you preapproved?

PREAPPROVAL: It’s one of the best ways to shorten the waiting game.

A “preapproved buyer” has met a lender’s basic requirements, and is likely to obtain a loan, provided that certain conditions are met. Preapproval shows that a buyer is probably going to obtain financing, which eliminates a hefty amount of uncertainty and delays.

When should a buyer get preapproved? As soon as possible. Most lenders recommend getting preapproved months before starting the house hunt. That leeway gives potential buyers plenty of time to clear up eligibility problems before falling in love with a home.

Get Started with your VA Loan Request

Factor #2: Buyer/seller timelines

When do you want to move in? When does the seller want to move out?

Just because a home is on the market doesn’t mean the sellers are ready to move immediately. Perhaps the sellers want to stay until the end of the school year. Maybe they have to wait until their new home is complete.

And perhaps the buyer is in the same boat. Buyers and sellers have to agree on a closing date, and that date could either speed up or delay the entire process.

Factor #3: How long will the VA appraisal take?

A home purchased with a VA loan is subject to the VA appraisal. And only a VA-approved appraiser can perform a VA appraisal.

VA lenders are responsible for ordering VA appraisals, which are completed in 10 days on average. But as VA appraisers are in short supply in rural areas, buyers should expect the VA appraisal to take longer in sparsely-populated locales.

Repairs and va loan closing time

Simple repairs shouldn’t delay the VA loan process by more than a few days.

Factor #4: Will any repairs be ordered?

The results of the VA appraisal can also either hasten or hinder the closing process.

If the VA appraiser makes a home “subject to” repairs, those repairs must be completed before the loan can close. Extensive repairs could push the closing date back by weeks or months.

The appraisal value can also affect the final timeline. VA loans can’t be issued for more than a home’s appraisal value. If the appraisal value falls below the purchase price, buyers have some thinking (and some delays) ahead. Buyers can either:

  • Ask the seller for a price reduction
  • Ask for a Reconsideration of Value
  • Make up the difference in cash
  • Walk away from the purchase

Factor #5: How long will underwriting take?

Post-appraisal, any VA loan file is subject to final underwriting. If an underwriter needs additional documentation or notices an eligibility problem, the closing date could change.

A word of advice for buyers: You’re extremely close to the finish line, so try not to panic. Be as helpful as possible during this phase, and you’ll likely be in good shape for a quick close.

Conclusion: Be prepared and give yourself wiggle room!

Being Prepared and Closing a VA Loan

With luck and good preparation, you’ll be relaxing on your own front porch before you know it.

At the end of the day, it’s very difficult to predict how long the purchase process will take. The VA loan process could take two weeks. It could take two months. It could take two years.

The lesson? Control what you can…:

…and let go of what you can’t. Be flexible, give yourself wiggle room, and get ready for an exciting journey!

For more information on things to avoid while in the contract phase, check out this contract guide.

Photos courtesy of Nina Matthews PhotographyJessicaReeder and kretyen


Posted by Jessi Hall
| jhall@veteransunited.com


42 Comments

  1. Tirzah Zadra McCrory
    Posted April 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Good info! And I am finding this consistent with what I am finding with my VA deals right now! Love working with our military. I am enjoying using my CMRS (Certified Military Relocation Specialist).

  2. Robert Herrera
    Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    The one thing I am running into is that no one wants to accept a VA loan.The VA loan is the last on the list that sellers will take.Making it hard for veterans to buy a house unless we have cash.

    • Posted May 1, 2013 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Hi Robert – The VA loan program has been through some extensive changes in recent years, which make the program simpler and easier than ever. But some sellers and agents aren’t aware of those changes, and are unnecessarily frightened of the VA loan process. We’re doing our best to combat that problem with good public education! My best advice – find a buyer’s agent who’s worked with VA buyers before, and encourage him/her to educate the seller’s agent about the ease and flexibility of VA loans! Best of luck to you, Robert!

      • Stephanie
        Posted May 31, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

        Jessi,
        That’s a nice political answer to Roberts comment but in reality. When a seller signs a listing agreement to sell their house they’re generally ready to sell it that day. You would be hard pressed to find a seller who is willing to wait from 2 months let alone 2 yrs for a loan to be approved and not 100% guarantee that it will be approved. I think VA loans are great but the process needs to be speed up to match the time frame of conventional loans. The every entity that is in place to help the veterans as the same one that is causing them frustrations and to miss out on a purchase if a home that they love.

        • Posted June 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

          Hi Stephanie – Sure, we’d all like to sell ASAP. But in many markets, that’s not a realistic expectation. In many markets, it’s common to wait 30-60 days for closing, and it’s typically not a problem for most VA loans to close within that time-frame. Working with a good lender, a good agent and an appropriate property are all keys to ensuring quick closing timelines, which our veterans certain do deserve.

        • Joe Harosky
          Posted September 8, 2013 at 12:28 am | Permalink

          I agree with the previous comments that VA loans are the last on the sellers lists of offers. I have been experiencing this during my bidding process from both realtors and sellers in Hawaii. Sellers and realtors don’t want the extra hassles (perceived or real) with VA loans. In addition, I believe that I just lost out to another buyer due to having a VA loan on the offer. My offer was above listing price with money down and the seller selected another offer. I’m aware that this could be a result of many factors, however, it is a reality that sellers and realtors prefer to avoid VA loans.

          • Posted September 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

            It is a fact in many markets, Joe. You’re certainly right. We’re doing our best to combat the negative connotations associated with VA loans via this blog. We hate to see service members losing out on properties due to VA loan misconceptions! Thanks for sharing, and for your service.

  3. Gerry Clark
    Posted May 23, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Gerry,
    I thought you might find this interesting.
    June

  4. Eduardo Rubiera
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    We gladly work with active military and veterans. Just one way to say “thank you” for all they do.

    Florida Real Properties, LLC

  5. carl marshall
    Posted June 5, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    wow excellent infromation

  6. carl marshall
    Posted June 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    im glad somebody looking out for us thanks

  7. C. L. S.
    Posted August 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I thank everyone who has served in our military.

    My only concern is the process of getting a house we are going on almost 7 months on trying to get this new house and it has been something.

    My husband is a 100% disbaled vet. It should be easier for them since they did fight for our country. and for the freedom we walk on.

    the people that are involved are amazing people they have helped us out so much its been unbelievable. they should be commended.

    but as for the the rules that have changed the VA process they are ridiculious.

    sincerly,

    C.L.S.

    • Posted August 23, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

      Hi CLS – Thanks to your husband for serving! We’re sorry to hear you’re having a hard time purchasing a home. If there’s a question we can answer or information we can provide, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

    • Carrie Fisher
      Posted February 6, 2014 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      Maybe go with another realtor. I’m buying my second home using VA both times have been easy I got pre approved first. When I sold my first house I sold to a man using VA as well everything went fine. I’m not sure why people are getting hung up with a va loan

  8. Julie
    Posted October 8, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Marsha Rem of RE/MAX 702-279-5103 and Winsor Cooper III VA Mortgage Loan Specialist 702-953-5833 for your kind assistance in helping us obtain our dream home. I agree that the sellers are not not interested in VA loans in fact in Vegas it is most likely the last option on the sellers list. Both my husband and I are retired disabled Vets and thought this process was quite seamless. If you have a knowledgeable realtor and a great VA loan officer then the process is painless. We put the bid in, got the VA appraiser everything done within approx 10 days. Waiting on the underwriter and then we will close this deal. Could not be more pleased with the service I have received. My advice to the all Vets looking for a home, take good care of your credit, have all your paperwork in order and find a realtor that has integrity and your best interest at heart. Trust me they are out there. I highly recommend both if you are in the Vegas area. Look up Marsha Rem…she will move heaven and earth to get your deal done and has a heart of gold. Winsor Cooper III, is also the number VA Mortgage Specialist and he knows his stuff. Use your resources and ask around, don’t settle we served and it should be appreciated when you are purchasing a home. Look for the best and don’t settle for less. God Bless you all and thank you all for serving with pride.

    Respectfully,

    Julie Retired USAF

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Julie,
      Thank you so much for sharing about your experience. We are so happy that you had a wonderful experience with Winsor and your agent Marsha! Congratulations on your new home!
      Samantha

  9. Mike
    Posted October 21, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I am a seller waiting for two months for VA loan to be approved. Had I known all the Mess with the underwriting process I would not have signed the contract. I will never sell to a buyer who is going through a va loan again unless things Change to speed up the process. I want to do the right thing and help veterans but the process makes it unappetizing .

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted October 21, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Mike,
      The turn times can be somewhat dependent on the specific property as well as the lender the buyer is working with. If the buyer uses a VA specialized mortgage company like Veterans United Home Loans, the wait times can be drastically decreased due to streamlining the process. I wouldn’t reject all VA buyers just yet. If you ever sell again and receive an offer for a VA loan, just ask if they are working with a company that specializes in VA loans, as compared to a local bank who generally doesn’t have the same level of experience with this financing option.
      Thanks for your input!
      Samantha

  10. Judi
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    I am considering an offer right now on our home and the buyer has a VA loan. What kinds of “repairs” might the VA appraiser ask for? The house is in good repair, newly renovated but, for instance, several windows don’t have screens. Are we going to be delayed for petty things like that?
    Is there a place that I can see the guidelines or check list that the appraisers use to assess repairs before I accept this offer?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted November 5, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Hi Judi,
      The appraiser is going to look at the minimum property requirements which is chapter 12 here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/warms/pam26_7.asp
      They are looking for items that would make the home unsafe, structurally unsound or unmarketable.
      Let me know if you’ve got other questions! I’d be happy to help.
      -Samantha

  11. joseph
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    We r sellers and we were notified 2 days before closing that there would be a delay. It has been over45 days and we r still waiting. We signed a 30 day extension but will not sign another extension. The awesome vet loses and the sellers.Our Vets deserve better.No more VA loans for us

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Hi Joseph,
      I wouldn’t shut out all VA loans yet. The buyer may have been working with a lender who lacked experience with that specific loan product. Let me know if you have any questions on VA loans, I’d be happy to answer them!
      -Samantha
      Samantha@vu.com

  12. Shannon
    Posted November 23, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know if the government made a change in the eligibility requirements for a va loan after the recent shutdown? I ask b/c I am a seller who accepted an offer from someone who was “preapproved” for a va loan prior the government shutdown. In fact, the appraisal had been done and the underwriting process was 3 weeks into the process. After the shutdown, we were told that the buyer no longer qualified because some eligibility requirement had been changed and the buyer had to serve to more months before they could reapply for the loan. I can’t find any evidence of that sort of a change. Anyone have any ideas?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted November 25, 2013 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Hi Shannon,
      I don’t believe the eligibility requirements changed. It’s possible that they had not yet obtained his certificate of eligibility, and once received determined that he was not yet eligible, but to my knowledge that wouldn’t be as a result of the shutdown.
      -Samantha

      • Shannon
        Posted November 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Can someone be preapproved for a VA loan without showing a certificate of eligibility?

        • Samantha Reeves
          Posted November 28, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          Hi Shannon,
          You can be pre-approved for a VA loan without having your certificate of eligibility but a condition of pre-approval would be that your COE is obtained and shows you are eligible. If you’re having trouble obtaining your COE you can call 888-212-1958 and a VA mortgage specialist can help you with both obtaining your COE and also determining pre-approval.
          -Samantha

  13. lynn
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    its been along time coming for me and my husband who is retired and working overseas after 25 years in the army he really worked hard for this and is still working hard but it was easy with the va loan we had a good realtor who cared about getting this done who got us a good va lender who asked for the file and now we are at the va appraiser part and the lender said we will be closing december 13th a was just a blessing from God but you have to find the right people who is going to take care of everything for and make sure that you have what you need and what also made it easy is the we went with a new builder wich cut the time in half having a good realtor makes the different in charlotte nc a major city it was like a peice of cake

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted November 27, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Lynn,
      Congratulations! That is wonderful news!
      -Samantha

  14. Alli
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I see so many people here saying that the VA loan process is not a problem and shouldn’t be any different than a conventional loan etc, but I have a buyer for my home that is doing a VA loan and it has been a nightmare.

    We are now at the point that we may very well lose the house we planned on purchasing because the VA loan for the purchase of our current home is taking too long. Closing has been pushed back, they haven’t scheduled the appraisal even though it was ordered over 3 weeks ago. We are not in a rural area, so it shouldn’t have taken that long. They said they didn’t know why it was taking so ling and that they were caught up. They would get back to us immediately – that was over a week ago. They repeatedly have refused to give needed information to our broker.

    We want to get the appraisal done because we understand that VA appraisals tend to come in low, and re-appraisal or negotiation may need to happen, which could delay the process even more.

    Our broker is advising there are red flags all over this because of these VA delays and so our new home purchase is in jeopardy.

    If we end up having to re-list our home and start all over, I can certainly understand not accepting offers for VA loans. I want to help our military families as much as possible, but I also don’t want to lose my dream home as much as they don’t want to lose theirs.

  15. Danni
    Posted November 29, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why a seller would be leery of selling to someone with a VA loan unless they had absolutely no idea how it works and are only going by hearsay. The VA does not provide the loan, the Veteran obtains a loan through a private lender and the VA provides guarantee to the seller that the loan will be paid. It is too bad that Veterans would have to suffer not being able to purchase their dream home because a seller is naïve.

  16. Candace
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    We received a pre-approval for a VA mortgage. We have done everything and provided everthing within a day of being asked for it. The appraisal was done in 5 days no conditions. I am the co borrower and had a bankrupcy discharded 2 years prior to us applying for the mortgage. Everything we have read said if prior to 2 years we are fine. The mortgage broker new about this also. Now we are told the mortgage company is running us through a different govenment program?? We were told by the broker we are fine and will still close on the 16th of this month. What could possibly be the real honest problem?

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted December 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Candace,
      That’s a really good question. I would ask the broker to explain to you in detail why this is occurring. If you are being switched from a VA loan to a different type of loan, there may be different loan terms such as a down payment or a requirement to pay private mortgage insurance. Make sure you ask as many questions as it takes to truly understand the situation.
      Let me know if you have further questions.
      Samantha

  17. Candace
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Samantha, Thank you for you response. Finally received an answer. I had a bankrupcy that was discharged in Oct 2011, we are now being told after all this time that the broker cant find a company that will take the loan. She has only checked 2 companies how of the many she claims there are. Its frustrating to think that we were upfront provided all documentation weeks ago and now I cannot be on the loan?? Let me add that we had even got married as we were told we needed to for me to be on the loan. (its a good thing we were to be married anyway but this just sped things up, and not how we wanted to be married). We do not understand that if VA guarentee’s the loan how can the mortgage companies overturn what VA says. And he VA says if its discharged prior to 2 years what the real issue is. I had no government liens, no homes involved in the BK. Thanks

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted December 3, 2013 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Hi Candace,
      You might want to give a loan officer at our company a call: 888-212-1958 and just run your scenario by them. It’s possible that we may have different guidelines than the banks the broker tried. It could at least give you peace of mind in knowing either that the broker is correct and you can’t move forward with VA with you on the loan OR that we may have different guidelines and could include you. Either way, I’d think it’s worth a shot.
      Best of luck!
      Samantha

  18. Sam
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    We are working with our bank right now to do the loan. What our lender is doing for us is putting together a loan, without a house picked out. Once we get all the approvals then we will go back and tell them the house we choose, this is so that when we are ready, we have most all they work done and should close in the expected 45 day closing.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted January 23, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Hi Sam,
      That’s a great way to do things and one I encourage! Getting pre-approved prior to selecting a home is the best route to take because then you know with a fair degree of certainty that things will go smoothly once you select a property.
      - Samantha

  19. David
    Posted February 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I applied for a VA loan as a refinance on a home that I already own and which was appraised for over $100,000 7 years ago. I recently built a completely finished 24X30 garage workshop that cost over $25,000 when the VA appraised my property they said it was worth $55,000 . The interest rate was no better than a conventional loan and the fees were about the same as I could have got at the bank where my wife works so there was no real advantage to getting a VA loan for me. But now I’m already into the process and it’s like a runaway train once you get it started you are on the tracks and there’s pretty much no stopping the train. I don’t owe a lot and the refi will save me money each month but the hassles have been a pain in the butt and the appraiser was totally incompetent by comparing my 4 bedroom two bath property with two garages and 3 1/4 acres of property that is 3 miles outside of town in a highly desirable neighborhood to places like a two bedroom 1 bath house on a lot half that size 15 miles from town he showed immediately that he had no professional credentials at all. If I had done my homework and not assumed that a VA loan would be a better deal I would just have got a loan locally and already be finished with it.

  20. Eric
    Posted February 26, 2014 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I am in a refinance that started in March 2013. It has been stuck at the VA underwriters since May of 2013, so far as my lender is concerned. My VA disability took almost two years to finish, but I would not expect the VA to take a year to complete the final phase of a refinance.

    Should I call BS on my lender? They do hold my current loan.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted February 27, 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Eric,
      That is an extremely long time. I would request a very good and detailed explanation of why this is taking so long from your lender. I don’t know why it would take this long, but I’m also not aware of the entirety of the circumstances. If you don’t feel satisfied with your lender’s answer, it might be time to search out another lender.
      - Samantha

  21. melissa
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    My husband and I are trying to purchase a home using his VA coe. He’s disabled. We had to convince the seller and the realtor to accept our VA offer. We were assured loans were closing in 30 days. But we hit road block after road block. We were trying to purchase rurally. Got lucky a VA appraiser lived just down the road. But for some reason she never got the appraisal request until 34 days later. Title never received a request for title work. And then it took over 30 days for that to be completed. Seller is fed up with this whole process. Even gave us an ultimatum close by 15th or done..not going to sign anymore extensions. Going on 90 days still no assigned closing. We finally had to switch lenders. Got tired of the excuses. We ordered it they just didn’t do when ordered. So mywquestion is why was there no follow-up? With not refer lender and very unsatisfied customer.

    • Samantha Reeves
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Hi Melissa,
      I’ve looked into this for you. I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you, and I understand the frustration that can cause. While every lender is subject to the turntimes of third parties like title companies or appraisers, ultimately the ordering of and checking up on those items is the responsibility of the lender. These are big items in a home loan, but since I’m not part of the company you used previously, there’s little I can offer to answer “why” they wouldn’t have performed those tasks.

      At the end of the day, the home loan process is all about teamwork, and I understand you are now working with Veterans United Home Loans. Veterans United is dedicated to making the process as efficient and smooth as possible, and your loan officer is always going to be your best resource on the status of your file. You also have the option of contacting the Client Advocates at 800-212-5200 with any concerns or with something you might need if Andy is away from his desk at the time. We know you’ve put in a lot of hard work and time into this home transaction, and Andy has assured me that he is aware of the high stakes and is keeping a close eye on your loan.
      - Samantha

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Samantha Reeves

Samantha Reeves maintains the Veterans United Realty blog for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation's leading VA-approved lender. As a prior loan officer, Samantha brings her vast experience dealing with the VA home loan all the way from initial application, to loan funding. She knows how the system works and brings you information and tips on how to make your VA home loan transaction go as smoothly as possible.


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