VA guidelines

VA Loan Occupancy Requirements: A Reader Question

March 3, 2014

VA Loan Occupancy Requirements: A Reader Question

096-logoA reader asks, “Currently I am an active service member. I would like to use a VA home loan to purchase a house in a state I intend to retire in once I am complete with my obligation. I currently do not live in this state but I have lived there before I joined the military. Because I am forced move duty stations regularly, does the occupancy rule still apply to me?”

The answers to this reader question are found in VA Pamphlet 26-7. Chapter Three, “The VA Loan and Guaranty”. VA loan occupancy requirements are clear, the home being purchased with a VA mortgage loan must be occupied by the borrower for his or her own personal use. Section Five of Chapter Three states, “The veteran must certify that he or she intends to personally occupy the property as his or her home.”

The rules are further clarified, saying, “The law requires a veteran obtaining a VA-guaranteed loan to certify that he or she intends to personally occupy the property as his or her home. As of the date of certification, the veteran must either

  • Personally live in the property as his or her home, or
  • Intend, upon completion of the loan and acquisition of the dwelling, to personally move into the property and use it as his or her home within a reasonable time. The above requirement applies to all types of VA-guaranteed loans except IRRRLs. For IRRRLs, the veteran need only certify that he or she previously occupied the property as his or her home.

The borrower must move in normally within 60 days of the loan closing.

The VA does make provisions for borrowers children and/or spouses to help meet the VA occupancy requirement in certain cases. From Chapter Three:

“Occupancy (or intent to occupy) by the spouse or dependent child satisfies the occupancy requirement for a veteran who is on active duty and cannot personally occupy the dwelling within a reasonable time. In the case of a dependent child, the veteran’s attorney-in-fact or legal guardian of the dependent child must make the certification and sign VA Form 26-1820, Report and Certification of Loan Disbursement.

Occupancy by the spouse may also satisfy the requirement if the veteran cannot personally occupy the dwelling within a reasonable time due to distant employment other than military service.”

So the answer to this question depends greatly on circumstances, but in general all VA borrowers are required to meet VA loan occupancy requirements.

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

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