Even if you qualify for a VA home loan, that doesn’t mean that house you’ve been eyeing qualifies. It first must meet several VA minimum property requirements (MPRs). These VA loan house requirements may seem like a hassle to check off, and it could be very frustrating to have to pass on what could be a great house if even one thing isn’t approved. However, these requirements are in place to ensure that each borrower has a house that will last and not pose any safety hazards. It makes sense that the VA would not want to back a home that has real problems. By understanding these VA Minimum Property Requirements it will help you identifying and trouble shoot in searching for your next home.
VA Minimum Property Requirements Overview
Here is a list of some VA Minimum Property Requirements:
- Roof: the roof must not have any leaks and it must have remaining useful life of at least 5 years. If the roof undergoes repairs, old shingles with 3 or more layers must be removed and replaced.
- Adequate living space: the space must be large enough to accommodate proper sleeping, cooking, dining, and living. Some facilities, such as laundry and storage, may be shared with other units in the case of a 2- to 4-unit building.
- Adequate heating: at minimum, a conventional system must be able to maintain 50 degrees or higher temperature within areas of plumbing.
- Available water supply: potable water and domestic hot water must be continuously available.
- Residential property: non-residential use of the house must not exceed 25 percent of floor area.
- Proper ventilation: ventilation in places such as attics and crawl spaces must have sufficient ventilation to avoid too much moisture or heat.
- Waste: waste must be able to flow safely into a public sewer or septic tank.
- Site access: the house must be accessible year-round, on its own independent property, and separated enough from surrounding buildings to allow room for exterior repairs.
- Yard access: you must be able to access and maintain the yard without crossing through another unit.
Health and Safety Hazards
- No asbestos, nuclear waste, or radon.
- No lead-based paint: any areas of the house with lead-based paint must be covered with drywall, scraped and repainted, or even totally removed before the house will gain VA approval.
- No termites: if the house has a termite problem, it must be treated and reevaluated before it can gain VA approval.
This is not a full list of VA loan property requirements, but these are the main issues that will be checked and that you should be aware of. Also understand that a home inspection is much different from an appraisal. An appraisal is meant to 1) determine the value of the property against how much it is being sold for and 2) evaluate major risks, hazards, and house standards to ensure the house meets VA loan minimum property requirements. A home inspection, on the other hand, goes much deeper with the inspection and it will not evaluate the property value. It is almost always a good idea to pay for a home inspection alongside the required appraisal.
Appraisals: VA Loan House Requirements
Appraisals are required for purchase loans and for some refinance options, and like I said above, they check for property value and condition. They are generally completed in about 10 days, though this may change depending on a few factors. The buyer is required to pay the appraisal, which usually comes out to about $425. When the appraisal process is complete, the lender will be given the appraisal report, which will also list every repair needed for VA approval.
Home appraisals could come with a few challenges, but you always have options. For example, if the appraisal values your home lower than what the seller is selling it for, you can try negotiating with the seller to lower the price. Depending on the needs of the seller and how much interest they’ve gotten in their home, they may be more than willing to drop the price. Another challenge would be if the house needed repairs before it would meet VA loan house requirements. Your options in this scenario would be to either make the repairs yourself, ask the seller to make them, or simply abandon the purchase and find a different home that meets your needs.
Quality Homes, Not Just Houses
When it comes to buying a house that you will call “home” for many years to come, you don’t want to settle for anything less than top quality. VA minimum property requirements ensure that the quality is there and that you will be safe in your home. At Low VA Rates, we will help you every step of the way to affordably purchase the home you want and need.