VA requirements

VA Loans: Where Can I Purchase A Home Using A VA Loan?

March 9, 2015

VA Loans: Where Can I Purchase A Home Using A VA Loan?

va loanThere are many issues that affect a veteran’s decision to purchase a home. When applying for a VA loan, a borrower may be in the middle of a military career with many years to go before retirement, recently separated or retired from the military and planning to settle down in a particular place, or even stationed overseas but contemplating a home purchase.

There are rules and regulations that govern how a veteran or current military member can apply for a VA home loan. These include occupancy requirements that generally state the borrower must take ownership and move into the home within 60 days of closing the deal; such rules are created with a degree of flexibility for borrowers who are about to retire or separate from the military or otherwise relocate within a specific time frame.

Other rules cover what the veteran can do if they must move out of the home due to reassignment or career changes. A VA borrower must either use the home as the primary residence, refinance or sell the property when it can no longer be used as the main address within VA guidelines. There are separate rules for those who have a spouse occupying the home in the borrower’s absence or while on military deployment.

But all of those regulations don’t address one of the key questions some loan applicants have about buying a home with a VA insured loan. Where can the home be located? Does a VA loan applicant have to purchase a home only within the contiguous 48 states? Do Alaska and Hawaii count? Can a borrower get a VA loan to purchase property in an overseas location should a veteran choose to retire or separate in a foreign country?

VA loan rules address this issue quite clearly. According to the VA Lender’s Guide, “Real property securing a VA-guaranteed loan must be located in the United States, its territories, or possessions…”

Those possessions include Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands, according to VA guidelines. No other countries or territories are eligible. Borrowers who were stationed in Germany or Japan, for example, would not be able to use a VA loan to buy a home in those places if they choose to retire/separate there.

Bruce Reichstein

About Bruce Reichstein

Bruce Reichstein is an Expert on (VA) Military/Veteran Home Loan Guidelines for over 26 years. He is an experienced VA Loan Mortgage Banker who is passionate about assisting US Military Veterans utilize their Veteran Eligibility to purchase a home.

4 Comments
  1. Phyllis Ventura

    I never used my veteran home loan and want to move out of the country to Central America, namely Panama, is there anyway I can use the certificate there. . ? It will be a primary home if I can do it, and still keep the one in AZ. I entered Army in CA. Never used those benefits at all. . ANY HELP???

    • Joe Wallace

      VA only permits VA home loans to be used in the United States or its territories/protectorates including Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands.

  2. Kristopher workman

    What if Germany is my home of record? I joined the American army in Germany?

    • Joe Wallace

      If you are asking about a VA home loan for a property outside the US or its territories/protectorates, the short answer is no--the VA does not approve of loans outside U.S. territory. Your home of record would not matter--the location of the property being guaranteed by the VA loan would be the determining factor.

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