VA Loan

What Are VA Loan Occupancy Requirements?

If you’re applying for a VA home loan, you may wonder what occupancy requirements entail. Does it mean only I can live there? How long do I have to live there? How do these rules affect me if I want to move out of state or rent my house? Our quick guide to VA loan occupancy requirements will answer these questions.

VA Home Loan Occupancy Rules

The first thing to know about VA home loans is that the property you purchase must be a primary residence. Vacation homes or rental properties don’t qualify for a VA home loan, as they are secondary homes. The VA also states that homebuyers must move into their purchased home within sixty days of closing. 

Did you buy a fixer-upper? If your move-in date is delayed due to home improvement projects, it is deemed “delayed," and you must state that you will move in as soon as the work or repairs are complete.

If you are on duty or otherwise away from your primary residence, your spouse can meet the occupancy rule on your behalf. This may also apply to dependents living in the home in some circumstances. 

Common Questions About The VA Loan Occupancy Requirements

How Long Must I Live At The Property? 

Although there is no set required time for occupancy, a borrower must intend to live in residence for at least 12 months. 

Can I Buy A New Home And Rent Out My Old One With A VA Loan?

If you have lived at your existing home for at least 12 months or moved to a new duty station, you may rent your property to a tenant.

Who Checks Occupancy?

If there are no suspicious circumstances, it is up to the lender to determine occupancy. There are no VA police going door to door verifying the occupancy rule was met, although rare a lender can order an occupancy check if they want to.  

Do VA Loan Occupancy Requirements Apply For Refinancing Loans?

Sometimes. A VA cash-out refinance requires a new appraisal, a credit check, and for the borrower to certify occupancy.

The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan, also known as a VA Streamline Refinance, requires less effort. This type of loan only requires the borrower to certify that the home was their primary residence during the first mortgage. 

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Bottom Line

VA loans are made to veterans and eligible service members who intend to use the home they're buying as their primary residence. The lender has to verify that you intend on using the home as your primary residence before making the loan. The lender will typically ask you for a letter verifying your intention to occupy the property.

After one year of occupying the home you can plan to rent your property and hold it now as an investment property. You cannot use VA financing for investment properties or second homes. However, after living in the property for the required amount of time, you can use the home as you see fit and rent it out or sell. 

Did you know that VA Loans are mortgage loans available exclusively to Veterans and military families? And did you know the benefits the VA Loans offer includes $0 down payments, no private mortgage insurance, relaxed credit requirements, and competitive interest rates?

Military Home Spot Lending is an approved VA lender specializing in VA Home Loans. Learn more about our VA loans here.