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How Long Does it Take to Close a VA Loan?

The average closing timeline for VA buyers is marginally different from conventional loans. Here we take a look at the average time to close and what factors play into that timeline.

Buying a home is a multi-step process, and everyone's homebuying journey is different. It’s an extremely common question for many first-time homebuyers: "How long will it take to buy a home with a VA loan?” There's a lingering myth that VA loans take forever to close but that's simply not the case.

How Long Does it Take to Close a VA Loan?

Most VA loans close in 40 to 50 days, which is standard for the mortgage industry regardless of the type of financing.

In fact, dig into the numbers a bit and you don't find much difference between VA and conventional loans.

This guide will review five key factors affecting a VA loan purchase timeline.

The VA Loan Purchase Timeline

Before embarking on your VA homebuying journey, it is helpful to understand the general VA loan timeline.

VA Loan Preapproval

Getting preapproved for a VA loan is one of the best ways to shorten the homebuying 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. VA loan preapproval shows that a buyer will likely obtain financing, eliminating potential uncertainty and delays.

It’s best to get preapproved for a loan as soon as you consider buying a home. Most lenders recommend getting preapproved months before starting the actual house hunt. This provides plenty of time to clear up any eligibility or income issues before falling in love with a home.

Buyer and Seller Timelines

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.

Buyers and sellers have to agree on a closing date, and that date could either speed up or delay the entire process.

The VA Appraisal

A home purchased with a VA home loan must get a VA appraisal. Only a VA-approved appraiser can perform this assessment.

VA lenders are responsible for ordering VA appraisals, which are generally completed within 10 days.

Repairs and Reconsideration of Value

The VA appraisal results can also 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

Underwriting

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

Conclusion: Be prepared and give yourself wiggle room!

At the end of the day, it’s very difficult to predict how long the purchase process will take.

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!

Check out this contract guide for more information on things to avoid while in the contract phase.

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