VA guidelines

VA Loan Occupancy Requirements: A Reader Question

June 17, 2014

VA Loan Occupancy Requirements: A Reader Question

A reader asks, “Can I purchase a home about 5 hours away, if my father will be living there? I am 5 hours away and eventually would like to live there after my current orders.”

VA loan rules are very clear on the issue of occupancy. The borrower is required to certify that he or she will take possession of the property and occupy it as the primary residence, “within a reasonable time” which is defined by the VA as “usually 60 days”.

An exception can be made based on individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis but the borrower must work with the lender and the VA in such cases and occupancy can only be delayed for a certain amount of time–12 months is the maximum the VA will allow the borrower to delay occupancy.

When it comes to other family members residing in the home purchased with a VA mortgage on the borrower’s behalf, only a spouse or in the right circumstances a dependent child may occupy the home on behalf of the borrower.

No other family members can meet the borrower’s occupancy requirements, so unfortunately in the case of this reader question, the answer is no, the borrower cannot purchase a home without occupying it. A parent cannot meet the occupancy requirement for the borrower.

You can learn more about the VA loan occupancy requirements in Chapter Three of the VA Lender’s Handbook, which is a downloadable .pdf file made available from the VA official site.

Do you have questions about VA home loans? Ask us in the comments section.

  1. chuck cunningham

    Can a borrower purchase a new home using his current VA benefit and rent out his existing home (which VA benefit was not used to purchase) ? Can you exclude the previous mortgage payment with rental agreement , deposit check & 1st months rent?

  • Joe Wallace

    This may be possible depending on circumstances, but the lender's standards would apply--the existing mortgage would not be excluded necessarily, but could be offset. Lender standards would apply. The borrower must occupy the home purchased with the VA mortgage.

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