Basic Requirements For Homes Purchased With a VA Loan
There are many questions VA loan applicants ask about the eligibility of certain homes, based on the type of property and the condition it may be in. When it comes to VA insured mortgages, there are local, federal, and VA requirements which must be met in order for the home to qualify for a VA home loan.
The rules include general requirements and more specific ones based on known issues such as termites, flood zones and high-voltage power lines or easements. The general requirements are simple enough to understand and provide some flexibility to the lender and the VA assigned appraiser when making a determination about whether a home qualifies for a VA loan based on the VA’s minimum property requirements.
Generally speaking, the Department of Veterans Affairs requires a home to conform to basic standards–it must be livable and provide the basic spaces for sleeping areas, cooking, and sanitary facilities. When it comes to multi-unit properties or multi-purpose buildings, the VA rules specify that “each living unit” must contain dedicated sleeping, cooking, and sanitary areas.
The VA also addresses issues related to the mechanical systems found in the home. A heating and air conditioning system, for example, must be judged as “safe to operate”. An air conditioning unit installed in an area where water leaks in would not be considered safe, nor would it meet the VA requirement to be “protected from destructive elements”.
VA rules also require all installed mechanical systems to have adequate capacity–that means that a central air conditioning unit must be large and powerful enough to adequately cool or heat the entire property as such a unit would typically be expected to operate for a home of a certain size.
A VA appraiser who notes inadequacies in the basic requirements as stated above may recommend changes, improvements or alterations if they are feasible. In a situation where the property cannot be reasonably modified to accommodate these basic requirements, the property runs the risk of being rejected for a VA insured mortgage. But there are exceptions allowed in some cases where a home does not meet VA MPRs. We’ll cover that in our next blog post.