Have you heard that VA property requirements make it hard to get a VA loan? Luckily, that is a myth. While it’s true that the VA does have certain requirements, they are for the good of you, the veteran. The VA wants to ensure that you buy a property that is safe, sound, and sanitary. While this does protect the VA and the lender, it also prevents you from buying a property that might be a money pit.
Keep reading to learn the VA property requirements and how they pertain to you.
It Must be a Residential Property
The VA loan was designed to help veterans purchase a home for themselves and their family. In other words, the home must be for residential rather than business use. If the home isn’t designed solely for residential living, it won’t pass the VA Minimum Property Requirements.
Adequate Living Space is Necessary
In order for the VA to allow the purchase of a home for you and your family, you must purchase a home that is large enough for your family. For example, if you have a family of 6 and you try to buy a 2-bedroom home, you won’t pass the living space test. The VA wants to make sure the purchase is one that will suit the needs of your family rather than make you sacrifice.
Working Water and Sanitation
The home you wish to purchase must have clean drinking water available at all times. It must also have a fully functioning water heater and water sewage system. As long as you have working water and it’s from a public system, you’ll likely pass this part of the test. If the home has well water or a private septic tank, the inspector may need to make sure everything is safe and sanitary.
Unless you live in the South where summer lasts year-round, the VA requires that the home has a working furnace. The heat must be able to reach throughout the entire home and bring the home up to at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Properly Working Mechanical Systems
Just like the VA requires working water and heat, they also require working mechanical systems. This includes the cooling system in addition to the heating, water, and electricity. A large part of the VA appraisal focuses on this aspect. The appraiser must make sure that the systems have at least a little life left in them. The VA doesn’t specify how much time must be left – they state they must work for the foreseeable future.
A Roof in Good Condition
The appraiser must also check the roof thoroughly. There must not be any leaks, holes, or worn areas of the roof. Again, this area should also last for the foreseeable future. Lenders pay a lot of attention to this area because roofing can be very expensive, which can put the veteran in financial distress and put the loan at risk of default.
Basement and Crawl Spaces in Good Condition
The appraiser will also check all basement and crawl spaces. The main objective is to look for any damp areas or water damage. There should also be adequate ventilation in these areas to prevent mold growth and other issues.
A Sound Foundation
Just like any other loan, the VA wants to know that the foundation is in good condition. In other words, it should be without any cracks, fissures, or other structural issues. Foundation issues can be detrimental to a home, so careful attention is paid to this area.
The VA wants to know that there aren’t any pests infesting the home. Oftentimes they require a pest inspection (paid by the seller) to determine if there are any issues. The inspector will look for damage as well as signs of an impending infestation.
Accessibility to the Home
The home must have access from the street year-round. This should be by way of a permanent driveway or easement that provides direct access from the street to the home. If there is a shared driveway, the VA may require legal proof of your use of the driveway.
The VA’s requirements may seem extreme, but they are in place to protect you from buying a bad home. The requirements aren’t that different from any other mortgage program. The VA just wants to make sure borrowers understand what is expected in order for them to make a good investment.