VA Home Loan Property Guidelines
VA home loans are most often used to purchase a single family home. However, families are increasingly deciding to purchase different types of properties such as condos, town homes and even homes with a lot of acreage. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development specify what types of properties are eligible for VA home loans. The current real estate market offers a large variety of home types but VA loan buyers will need to adhere to property guidelines in order to secure financing. Here is a comprehensive look at VA home loan property guidelines.
Basic Minimum VA Home Loan Requirements
First and foremost the VA and HUD departments specify that the property must be a single, readily marketable real estate entity. They also have strict guidelines regarding the use of the property for any non-residential purposes. Each property must have specific space requirements that include living, sleeping, cooking and dining accommodations, and sanitary facilities. They also mandate that all mechanical systems in the unit must be safe to operate, be protected from destructive elements, have future utility, and have adequate capacity and quality.
The VA has basic minimum requirements that assure a property is suitable to live in. Here’s a list of the different categories that the VA regulates:
- Water Supply and Sanitary Facilities
- Roof Covering
- Crawl Space
All of the specifications listed above will be noted on the VA Appraisal. If a part of the home does not meet the VA requirements the issue will need to be fixed before the home closes or the financing will be denied. The is a great resource to read exactly what the minimum property requirements are.
Different Property Types
Single Family Home
Currently a single family home is still the most commonly bought property with a VA home loan. Single family units have very clear underwriting guidelines and are the most popular option amongst homebuyers.
Town Homes and Condos
Town homes and condos are also very popular amongst homebuyers. Town homes and condos must meet VA approval for the entire complex before one particular unit can be purchased using a VA home loan. A list of the already approved town home and condo communities can be viewed at the VA Website. If the community you are looking at is not already approved you will need to apply for approval through the VA. This can make the closing process take longer, but you should have no issues if the community meets VA guidelines.
Manufactured and Mobile Homes
Manufactured homes, also known as mobile homes, are eligible for a VA home loan. Although many lenders do not approve loans on these properties due to their depreciating value. If you can find a lender that will approve a mobile home the property must meet these VA guidelines:
- Must be properly affixed to a permanent foundation.
- Single-wide homes must be at least 400 square feet.
- Double-wide homes must be at least 700 square feet.
- Homes must have permanent eating, cooking, sleeping, and sanitary facilities.
It is possible to buy a new construction home through the VA, but there are a few more guidelines associated with doing so. Builders, plans and building sites must be approved by the VA and there are different inspections required. The VA does not do actual construction loans, so the loan must be used on a property once it is built to purchase the property. It is easiest to use a VA home loan to purchase a new construction home from bigger companies such as Pulte Homes and DR Horton.
The VA does not allow financing for vacant land. Homebuyers will not be able to purchase a plot of land that doesn’t already have a habitable property.
There are several types of properties that are approved for VA mortgages, but that doesn’t mean that every lender will approve all of those property types. Each lender has their own set of internal guidelines that they follow. If you are looking to make a standard home purchase, the property you are interested in is most likely approved by the VA.