VA Renovation Loans are for military members and veterans who are looking to buy a house that may need a facelift and finance the entire project at once. This loan is the VA version of a FHA 203k loan and there is no need for separate home loan products or personal loans. With the VA Renovation Loan, the purchase price of the home and any repair/ improvement costs can be bundled into a single loan.
With VA Renovation Loans you can customize the home you want with repairs and improvements while taking advantage of the many VA Loan benefits like a $0 down payment and no PMI.
The VA Renovation Loan is a great way to get one single loan that includes the purchase price and repair / improvement costs while still taking advantage of the many VA Loan benefits like a $0 down payment and no PMI. Property requirements are set by the VA and are similar to that of a normal VA Loan purchase.
Since the VA Renovation Loan is designed to help you rehab a house, a VA-approved appraiser will review the itemized quotes you receive from contractors or any repairs they intend to make and will use this to determine the expected value of the completed home. This process of finalizing a VA Renovation Loan is almost identical to the process with a traditional VA Loan with the main difference being the appraised value and evaluation is given on the expected value of the home once it’s completed.
Funding fees with the VA Renovation Loan
Similar to other VA Loans, the VA Renovation Loan is subject to a funding fee which is added to your total loan amount. These fees are paid directly to the VA and are the same as traditional VA Loans. Funding fees with the VA Renovation Loan are set at 2.3% for first time users and 3.6% for each subsequent use. Exceptions may be made depending on the circumstances including for veterans with 10% or greater disability or active duty members who have been awarded with the purple heart.
Eligibility and requirements for getting approved
The VA Renovation Loan is an incredible benefit available exclusively to military families and veterans. Many military families don’t take advantage of this loan simply because they don’t know they’re eligible. The Department of Veterans Affairs has laid out very specific VA Home Loan eligibility requirements. In addition to active duty members and veterans, there are a few distinct groups that are also eligible.
Members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guards
- If you served between September 15, 1940-present day
- If you’re active duty and have served
- At least 90 consecutive days during war time
- At least 180 consecutive days during peacetime
- Veterans who served 24 months consecutively and were honorably discharged
- Veterans who were discharged prior to 24 months due to service-related injuries may also be eligible
Members of the Reserves and National Guard
- If you have completed 6 years of honorable service
- Who were mobilized for active duty service for at least 90 consecutive days under Title 10 or Title 32 orders
- If you’ve been discharged due to a service-related injury
- If you met requirements during those years
Surviving Military Spouses
- If you’re an unremarried spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability
- If you’re a spouse of a military member who is a POW (prisoner of war) or MIA (missing in action)
In order to get started on applying for a VA Loan, you’ll need to obtain two critical things first: your Certificate of Eligibility (COE), and a pre-approval.
Your COE proves that you’re eligible to use the VA Loan benefits and is the document your bank or lender will need during the homebuying process.
Pre-approvals are preliminary evaluations of potential borrowers by a lender and determine the buying power of a buyer.
Once you have your COE and pre-approval in hand, you can then continue on your home buying journey and start the fun part, shopping for a home.
What happens next?
Once you’ve obtained your COE through the VA or through your VA-approved lender and have been pre-approved, it’s time to jump into the home buying process.
- Go home shopping: this is the fun part! Check out homes that work within your budget and have the amenities you’re looking for.
- Submit an offer: once you find the house you’re ready to commit to, it’s time to make an offer and prepare for negotiations!
- Submit updated documents to your lender: this will happen right before you submit an offer that has been accepted. Your lender will supply you with a list of documents to submit and that will get your loan into processing!
- Lock in your interest: once your lender has received your updated documents and the contract, you’ll be given an opportunity to lock in your interest rate. Typically you can lock it in for 15, 30, 45, or 60 days. Be sure to lock your rate for as long as the negotiated escrow period, or longer! Inspections can take a while so don’t be afraid to go with something outside of 30 days.
- Get a home appraisal and home inspection: now that your offer has been accepted, you’ll move forward with the loan process and will begin the inspection and appraisal process.
- Receive approval: after all your documents have been reviewed you’ll receive underwriting approval and can go to closing.
- Close on your home: after you’ve had an offer accepted, gone through the full approval process and all inspections and are ready to go, your lender will clear you for closing!
- Sign your final loan documents and get the keys to your home: Congratulations, you are a homeowner!
Documents that will be reviewed
As mentioned above, your lender will need to obtain very specific documents and verifications to submit to the underwriters in order to complete the loan process and get approval. These documents include:
- Credit report to ensure the borrower has a good credit score and no red flags on past credit like bankruptcy or other financial issues.
- Employment verification to show how much income borrowers have now, and any anticipated additional income as laid out in employment agreements. Documents to help with this include:
- W-2’s from the last two years.
- Pay stubs from the last 30-60 days prior to applying.
- Tax Returns from the last two years
- Asset information including statements from all bank accounts such as checking, savings, and retirement accounts.
- Any additional income asset or liability information like dividends, overtime, pension, child support, etc.
- Renovation plans and permits (as applicable) your lender will review these documents with the underwriting team to ensure that the repairs to the home match the increase value to the home
- Certificate of Eligibility (also known as COE and document specifically needed for VA Loans only) in order to identify a few critical factors specific to veterans and service members. First, the amount of available entitlement for the veteran or military member is determined, then the status of exempt/non-exempt from the funding fee is confirmed and finally the amount of VA monthly service-connected disability compensation is checked.
If all of these documents are checked and approved, underwriters can issue a “clear to close'' which means borrowers are ready to go to the final stage of the process, closing.
What is the VA Renovation Loan best used for?
This loan program is best used for eligible military members or veterans who want to spruce up a home, or update a home that is probably move in ready. This loan is the VA’s response to the FHA203k loan.
What kind of renovations can I do on a home?
The guidelines for the VA Renovation Loan program describe this product as “repairs that aren’t structural in nature.” This means that if you’re looking to give the home a facelift but not completely redo the structure of the home, you should be good to go.
How much can I get for the renovation?
The total cost of any repairs generally needs to be less than $150,000.
What are the costs for the VA Renovation Loan?
The costs associated with this loan are comparable to that of a general VA Loan with closing costs ranging anywhere from 2% to 4%. It’s important to note that there could be additional costs associated to plans and permitting that you will want to discuss beforehand with your preferred contractor.