va loan closing costs

VA Loan Closing Costs

va loan closing costsFor veterans looking to purchase a home the loan program offered by the VA can be an excellent option to secure a mortgage. The VA loan program offers qualified veterans the ability to secure a home loan at a low interest rate, and for little to no down payment. This makes the program extremely attractive to many veterans. There’s a lot that goes into a VA loan, but one of the lesser understood aspects is the VA loan closing costs.

Closing costs is sort of a catch all term that describes the variety of expenses due at the final phase of a home purchase. This includes things like an origination fee, attorney fees, and monies due to real estate ages. All mortgages will have fees like this, but the difference with VA loan closing costs is that certain costs cannot be paid for by the buyer. It’s important to understand which costs fall into this category as they will then likely need to be paid for by the lender, seller, or the agent.

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Closing costs will typically range anywhere from 1-5%. This varies depending on the location and home. Talk to your lender or agent to get an idea of where they might be for your purchase. It’s important to understand the variety of closing costs as even a few percent of the loan can end up being thousands of dollars.

Allowable Closing Costs

Closing costs are costs associated with the actual cost of creating and processing a loan. These costs are typically into a couple of different types

va loan closing costs - allowable closing costsPrepaid Finance Charges: PFCs are costs directly associated with the loan, and can increase your APR. These include:

1.Escrow payments for interest, property taxes, or homeowners insurance.
2.Points used to buy down interest rates.
3.The VA funding fee.
4.Any sort of applicable homeowners association fees.

Paid Outside Closing Costs: POCs on the other hand are items that aren’t factored into the overall cost of the loan. They won’t affect the overall APR, but still need to be paid at closing. These costs include:

1. Credit Reports
2. Pest inspection fees (some are non-allowable depending on location).
3. Mandatory VA appraisal and additional home inspections (read about VA Appraisal Fees)

Loan Costs: Lastly, there are a series of costs that are associated with the loan itself. The biggest is typically the origination fee, which is a fee that the lender charges for processing the loan. This can be up to 1% of the total loan.

For VA backed loans, you’re also required to pay what is known as the funding fee. This is a fee paid directly to the VA to offset the cost of running the program. It’s typically a couple of percent, but can be rolled into the loan itself.

Non-Allowable Closing Costs

Outside of the above, there are a number of VA loan closing costs that cannot be paid by the buyer. These are specific costs the VA has said the buyer cannot pay, and therefore must be picked up by one of the other parties.

va loan closing costs - non allowable closing costsAttorney Fees: Attorney fees for either the seller or lender cannot be paid for by the buyer.

Escrow Fee: The VA does not allow the buyer to pay an escrow fee. An escrow company takes care of accepting and distributing the monies for the transaction, as well as ensuring all parties have signed the appropriate documents. This fee can get quite expensive, and not having to pay it is a great benefit for VA loan users

Document Preparation Fee: Any sort of fee charged by the escrow company for preparing the documents cannot be paid by the buyer.

Courier or Postage Fees: In some cases, specific documents might need to have special shipping conditions met such as being overnighted. Any sort of fees related to this cannot be paid by the buyer and need to be covered by the lender.

Notary Fee: Any sort of fee required, typically by the escrow company, to send a notary to the borrower when signing the mortgage documents is also non-allowable.

Application Fee: Some lenders sometime charge a fee upfront before a potential borrower is able to apply for a loan. This is not allowed on VA loans. No VA approved lender should be charging any sort of up-front or application fee for VA backed loans.

For each of these, allowable and non-allowable, the list is non-inclusive. There may be additional fees that fall into either category depending on where you live or the specific lender you’re dealing with.

For example, some high-risk areas require a termite inspection as part of the appraisal process. In the majority of states, this inspections cost is not allowed to be paid by the buyer.

Situations like this make it a good idea to work with a lender and agent that have experience with VA loans in the area where the home is being purchased. They’ll be able to provide more details on the fees, and any sort of special situations you might find yourself in.

Seller Concession Limits

seller concession limitsIn the case where the seller pays for the closing costs of a loan it is called a seller concession. Concessions for the seller are negotiable, and they can choose to pay some not at all depending on the specifics of the deal and how motivated of a seller they are.

On VA backed loans, seller concessions are limited to 4% of the total price of the loan. This means that a seller can only cover that much in closing costs for the buyer, after that the VA deems this to be excessive concessions.

This limit is imposed to prevent a large concessions from hiding an above market selling price. This helps the VA and the lender reduce their risk in the transaction.

Closing Cost Assistance for Veterans

closing cost assistance for veteransFor those veterans looking to come up with the necessary monies to pay for allowable closing costs, there are a couple of options available.

The first, and most obvious, is to simply to talk to the lender and seller and see what sort of deal might be worked out. Many sellers understand there’s a certain amount of give require to push a deal through, and may be able to pick up some of the closing costs. If under the concession limit, there’s nothing wrong with going back to seller and asking for them to pay some or even all of the closing costs.

VA Loan Grants

In addition to getting help from the seller, there are also a number of grants offered through the VA and private organizations aimed at helping veterans acquire housing. For example, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers the dream makers grant which provide assistance for down payments and closing costs to veterans.

Specially Adapted Housing Grant

For veterans that require special accommodations due to disabilities, the specially adapted housing grant can provide up to half of the purchase price or a new home or renovating an existing property. The grant does have some strict requirements, and does have a cap on monies, but is a great option that can be used to help cover closing costs for those that qualify.

State & Local Grants

state and local grantsThere are also a wide range of state and local grants available to a wide range of home buyers that can also help cover parts of the loan. Searching for grants in your area is a great way to help cover closing costs.

For example, in Texas first time veteran home buyers may be eligible for the Mortgage credit certificate program. This gives a tax credit of up to $2,000 on interest paid on the mortgage. You can also speak to your lender or agent, as they can likely point you in the right direction to determining if you’re eligible for any local grants.

VA Loan Closing Costs

The VA loan is an excellent option for veterans, and limiting the closing costs that buyers are required to pay makes them even more attractive. Having knowledge of which closing costs are non-allowable can help make the entire process smoother. It’s also smart to work with an agent who understands the VA process, as they can help you understand the various closing costs and how they will affect the overall price of the loan.

VA Loan Closing Costs – FAQ

What Does Cash To Close Mean?

Cash to close refers to the amount of money needed to be brought to closing. This includes all of the closing costs, as well as any down payment for the loan.

Can the VA Loan Closing Costs be Rolled into the Loan?

Other than the funding fee, all closing costs must be paid at closing and cannot be rolled into the cost of the loan.

How Much Are CLosing Costs on a VA Loan?

As closing costs are typically a percentage of the total loan it’s impossible to give a specific dollar amount. That said, VA loan closing costs will usually run around 1-5% of the total loan amount, with borrowers instructed to plan for 3-5% to prevent surprises.

va loan north carolina

VA Loan in North Carolina – Loan Limits & Benefit Info

What is a VA Loan in North Carolina?

va loan north carolinaMany home buyers in the Tar Heel State are opting to finance their home purchase with a VA loan in North Carolina. This government-sponsored program allows for some substantial savings, not to mention the generous VA loan limits in North Carolina.

Prospective home buyers should understand each of the loan programs available to them, as well as the features and benefits of each one. When they do, it’s likely that VA loans will be a clear choice for the most advantageous financing.

You will first need to understand exactly what the VA loan program is. These “military mortgages” are offered through private lenders but are partially guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The financial security of the government backing makes lenders more willing to issue loans with favorable and generous terms.

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North Carolina VA Home Loan Benefits

va loan NCWhat kind of benefits are inherent to receiving a VA loan in North Carolina? If you’ve been wondering how much you could save on the purchase of a new home, you’ll want to check out these benefits.

No Down Payment

Most lenders will not require any down payment when you qualify for a VA loan in North Carolina. This represents the most valuable aspect of the loan program. Conventional mortgage products will often require a twenty percent down payment which can take prospective buyers years to save.

In comparison, VA loans allow you to purchase a home with very little upfront cost.

No Private Mortgage Insurance Premiums

With a low down payment, most lenders require homeowners to pay private mortgage insurance. These premiums typically run anywhere from 0.3 to 1.5 percent of the loan value annually. Depending on the size of your mortgage, this could mean a significant monthly cost in addition to your mortgage, taxes, and insurance payments.

If you receive a VA loan in North Carolina, you won’t be faced with private mortgage insurance, making your home more affordable each month.

No Penalty for Early Payoff

Are you eager to be debt-free and to own your home without the hassle of a monthly mortgage payment? Many individuals desire to make extra payments on a monthly or annual basis to help them save money on the interest fees.

Some lenders will charge a penalty or additional fees to make up for lost revenue when you make extra payments. However, there are no penalties for paying off VA loans early.

Loan Assistance Programs

Nobody wants to see their home move into foreclosure. When you have a military mortgage, you gain access to loan assistance programs through the VA that can help you to stay in your home. If you believe that you may be at risk of losing your home due to financial hardship, reach out to one of their loan experts who can connect you with these programs.

VA Loan Eligibility in North Carolina

As with most mortgage products, there are specific eligibility criteria in order to receive a VA loan in North Carolina. You must have a Certificate of Eligibility, a document that verifies your service in the armed forces. The detailed service requirements will vary depending on your branch and whether you served during peacetime or wartime.

Under certain circumstances, a surviving spouse may also qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility. For the detailed breakdown of eligibility criteria, you can view the service requirements here.

From here, you will need to find a property that is eligible for financing through this military mortgage program. Many homeowners are set on a traditional single-family home, but that isn’t the only option. You can do a number of creative things with a VA loan in North Carolina in order to create your ultimate dream home.

For example, you may consider building your own new construction home or remodeling a recently purchased property. You can see a full list of possibilities for a VA loan below:

  • Single-family home
  • Condominium in a VA-approved project
  • Manufactured home and/or lot
  • Building a new home
  • Renovating a newly purchased home
  • Installing energy efficient features or improvements
  • Refinancing a direct loan to receive a lower interest rate
  • Refinancing an existing mortgage loan or other indebtedness secured by a lien of record on a home owned and occupied by a veteran as a primary residence

VA Loan Limits by County in North Carolina

va loans limits north carolinaLenders will set VA loan limits in North Carolina by county. These loan limits dictate the maximum amount that a borrower can finance without making a down payment.

For most of the state, the VA loan limits in North Carolina are $453,100. Due to the varied costs of living across counties, there are several exceptions to this maximum limit. You can see some of the counties and their specific VA loan limits for North Carolina below:

  • Camden: $625,500
  • Currituck: $458,850
  • Gates: $458,850
  • Hyde: $483,000
  • Pasquotank: $625,500
  • Perquimans: $625,500


Homeowners may be eligible for jumbo loans to allow them to purchase the home of their dreams, but they will need to come up with a down payment. Your ability to purchase a more expensive home will be dependent upon your financial status, including your credit score and income level.

North Carolina VA Regional Loan Centers

The regional loan center located in Atlanta is available to offer assistance to veterans who want additional information regarding this loan program. Trained representatives are available to answer questions regarding eligibility, the application process, and the first steps you need to take to qualify for a VA loan in North Carolina.

This is also the best place to contact if you believe your home could move into foreclosure. Their loan experts can help connect you with available resources that may be able to prevent this drastic action.

North Carolina Home Prices

Affordability is a major concern for prospective buyers who want to create a firm financial future for themselves. Studying the median home prices in North Carolina can give you a better idea of what size or type of home fits neatly into your monthly budget.

Across the state, home prices are currently seeing an upward trend. The median price of all homes listed for sale in the state is currently at $250,900 with a square foot price of $123.

Some pockets of the state will see differing list prices, including major cities like Charlotte and Raleigh. In Charlotte, a prospective buyer can expect to find a median list price of $285,700 and a square foot price of $136. Raleigh is significantly more expensive with a median list price of $336,140 and a square foot price of $143.

VA Regional Benefit Offices for North Carolina

The regional benefit office for your local area can help to answer any questions you may have regarding eligibility for a VA loan in North Carolina. However, they are also able to connect you with other programs and services that may be specific to your area.

Winston-Salem Regional Benefit Office
251 N. Main Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27155

Click to Get Pre-Qualified for Your VA Loan in North Carolina Now

VA Loans in North Carolina FAQs

I have bad credit. Can I get a VA loan in North Carolina?

There are no minimum credit requirements for VA loans, so applicants with poor credit can still receive a VA loan in North Carolina. The government is willing to guarantee the loan as long as a lender will approve the financing. You will need to find a lender that is willing to work with individuals who have bad credit.

Can a surviving spouse receive a VA loan in North Carolina?

In some situations, a surviving spouse is eligible to receive a VA loan in North Carolina. They must be unmarried unless they are over the age of 57 and remarried after December 6, 2003. Additionally, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be the spouse of a veteran who died while in service or from a service-connected disability
  • Must be the spouse of a service member who is missing in action or a prisoner of war
  • Must be the spouse of a totally disabled veteran whose disability may not have been the cause of death
  • What is the VA loan rate in North Carolina?

    The VA loan rates in North Carolina will vary based on your personal financial history, economic factors, and your specific lender. The government does not set a specific VA loan rate in North Carolina, so you will need to check with any potential lenders regarding what rates they are able to offer you.

    VA Basic Allowance For Housing

    VA Basic Allowance for Housing

    VA Basic Allowance For HousingFor military members that are given the privilege of living off base, the military provides financial support to help secure housing. This assistance is known as the VA basic allowance for housing, abbreviated as BAH.

    The BAH is given to military members that are not being housed in government quarters so that they can provide housing for themselves and their families.

    The VA basic allowance for housing is a stipend that is provided based on a variety of factors that is based on the cost of living, dependants, and service member position.

    We Specialize in VA Home Loans, Get Pre Qualified Today – Click Here.

    One interesting aspect of the BAH is that it does not specify renting as a requirement. While it can be used for renting there’s nothing forcing it to be used on such.

    That means that a service member can actually use their BAH as income when applying for a mortgage. They can then use their BAH stipend to pay their mortgage!

    Depending on the location of the home and various other factors discussed below, it’s possible to have a mortgage entirely covered by BAH.

    While home ownership is not for every service member, for those interested in purchasing a home while on duty the BAH provides an incredible opportunity.

    How Does BAH Work?

    Eligibility

    va allowance for housingBAH is available to service members assigned to permanent duty within the United States who are not living in government furnished housing. This includes active service members who are assigned to a base, but live off base in civilian housing.

    While not all service members will be given the opportunity to live off base, those that do will qualify for BAH benefits.

    For those stationed internationally, they receive similar benefits through the overseas housing allowance, or OHA, which is set up to provide similar benefits.

    The OHA rate is calculated a bit differently, and is done twice a year or every six months.

    The rate itself is based on what members are actually paying, and not on averages like the BAH.

    How To Use It

    For home buying, the BAH monthly stipend can be seen as purchasing power towards a home and go to paying the mortgage.

    Going to a lender, you can use all or some of your BAH earnings as income to increase your buying power and the loan amount you can aquire.

    A lender will want to verify the BAH amount, and will do so through your leave and earnings statement. The lender will also want to ensure that you will likely continue to receive the benefits.

    Lenders will be hesitant to work with someone who may lost their BAH benefits soon.

    Keep in mind, you don’t have to use up the entirety of you BAH. Any leftover can be applied to other things such as utilities or homeowners insurance. That’s assuming there is money leftover though.

    There’s no guarantee that BAH will cover your entire mortgage payment, and for more expensive homes payments will likely require additional out of pocket monies.

    It’s also very important to plan for changes in your service status and location.

    Many active duty service members relocate several times during their career. Not only will this change the amount received based on location and position, but there’s also the question of what to do with the purchased home.

    It some areas it may be easy to sell or rent the home, in some areas it might not be. Keep a backup plan in mind.

    Also, keep in mind that all of the other requirements for securing a mortgage are still in play.

    That means things like your credit score and debt to income ratio should still be in the acceptable range for the mortgage you’re looking to secure.

    How Much is the VA Basic Allowance For Housing

    bah ratesThere are a lot of different factors that go into determining the amount for BAH, so it’s hard to give a straight answer.

    The rate itself is calculated each year by the Department of Defense. They go through and look at aspects such as current rental costs, utility costs, and other factors like renters insurance costs.

    This rate is then further influenced by the individuals rank and pay grade, those higher in both are going to get a larger stipend for BAH.

    What this does is create variable rates that are heavily dependant on location. Service members in more expensive parts of the country generally receive a larger amount to stay competitive in the market.

    On the reverse, in cheaper markets they will receive less. It’s important to note that the given rate is based on the service member’s duty location, not the on the actual location of the residence.

    Lastly, having dependents also influences the amount for BAH. There is a separate with dependents rate that service members with spouses or children will receive. This helps to offset the additional cost for housing when living with others.

    Note that this is a flat increase based on having dependents, the number does not influence the rate. For example, a member with a spouse and no children and one with a spouse and children would receive the same amount.

    Does BAH Change?

    As BAH is recalculated each year it is subject to change based on the trends in the housing and rental market. That said, the DOD has created a rate lock which prevents your rate from going down.

    This is important in the eyes of the lender so that they can be assured a change in your rate in the next year won’t affect your ability to repay the loan.

    It’s also important to note that the rate lock assumes your rank, location, and dependant status does not change. If you’re re-located for example, you’re rate is subject to change based on your new location.

    VA basic allowance for housing

    The housing allowance through the BAH program is an extremely powerful benefit for active service members. The ability to use it as income when securing a loan can help many off-base living service members afford a home.

    Considering that BAH is additional on top of the standard salary, it’s easy to see how it can be extremely beneficial.

    FAQ

    Who Qualifies For Basic Housing Allowance in the Military?

    The BAH benefit is available for permanent duty military personnel in the United States who live in non-government funded housing. This is generally stationed military members who live in off base housing.

    Additionally, there is a similar, but different, program for service members stationed overseas called the Overseas Housing Allowance.

    What does basic housing allowance cover?

    BAH is meant to cover the majority of costs of housing including rent and utilities. That said, BAH money can be used for any sort of expense, and those that are able to use less than the amount they are given are able to save the rest.

    Is Basic Housing Allowance Taxable?

    No, BAH allowances are tax exempt stipends for service members.

    What Happens if the BAH Rate Goes Down?

    Due to the rate lock, if the BAH rate goes down you’ll maintain your old rate. However, your rate can go down in situations where you’re relocated to a lower cost of living area.

    How Is the BAH Rate Calculated?

    The BAH rate is calculated each year, and takes into account the cost of living in a particular area. It then is further influenced by the service member’s rank, pay grade, and whether they have any dependants.

    How Do Dependents Affect The Amount for BAH?

    Having dependants raises the amount of the BAH a member receives, but this is a flat rate for having dependents. The number of dependants does not matter.

    Additional Resources

    • VA Loan Benefits – Maximize Your Benefit in 2018
    • VA Approved Condos

    We Specialize in VA Home Loans, Get Pre Qualified Today – Click Here.

    va appraisal fees

    VA Appraisal Fees

    va appraisal feesHow much can veterans expect to pay for the VA appraisal fees? This inspection is a necessary part of the home buying process for individuals who want to take advantage of the features found in a VA mortgage. Ideally, this ensures that the property meets the minimum standards of safety and sanitation. You should know what this process is going to cost you, especially because it isn’t something you can get out of paying.

    Indeed, the VA appraisal fee schedule isn’t usually set in stone. The fees can vary based on where your home is located and the type of home you’re attempting to purchase. However, most veterans will pay between $300 and $500 for their VA appraisal fees.

    The good news is that you might be able to ask the seller to repay these costs as a part of your negotiations.

    Get Help Pre Qualifying for a VA Home Loan – Click Here!

    This upfront fee applies to your initial appraisal and home inspection. If something is identified as needing repair, the appraiser may make a note of it and schedule another inspection at a later date once the issue has been resolved. You might find that the VA appraisal fee schedule adds up quite quickly when you have significant repairs that need taken care of.

    What are Non-Allowable VA Appraisal Fees?

    Veterans only should pay for certain items when they purchase a new home, including:

    what are non allowable va appraisal fees

    • Discount points to lower their interest rate
    • Reasonable fees for itemized items and charges allowed by the VA
    • Lender’s one percent fee

    Under this loan program, there are some costs that a veteran should not have to cover during the purchase of their new home. These are commonly referred to as “non-allowable fees”. Some of the most important items to note on this list include:

    • Processing fees
    • Document preparation fees
    • Interest rate lock-ins
    • Lender appraisals
    • Postage
    • Notary fees
    • Tax services

    All of these items must be covered under the lender’s one percent fee or the veteran is not responsible for them. This prevents the buyer from paying for excessive charges that truly have no benefit to their process. Lenders must keep an important check on how much they charge; it is going to come in under that one percent mark.

    Who Pays the VA Appraisal Fees?

    In terms of the VA appraisals, some of these non-allowable fees relate to who orders a particular appraisal and the reason for the order. Only the borrower or the lender can request the initial appraisal unless someone else is going to cover the cost. Under normal circumstances, the buyer pays for the appraisal fees.

    who pays the va appraisal fees_

    Show them this website, so they know who they are working with. We will not allow them to trick you!

    The seller and lender may sometimes argue that an additional appraisal is necessary for the sale of the home. They are well within their rights to request an appraisal. BUT they cannot demand that the veteran foot the bill for that additional expense.

    The same principle applies to a reconsideration of value. If the buyer agrees to order and pay for a new appraisal to see if the house will appraise at a higher rate, it is acceptable to order an additional VA appraisal. However, the lender and the seller cannot demand that the veteran pays for an entirely new appraisal.

    The intent behind this policy is to prevent veterans from paying for unnecessary services that only benefit the lender or the seller. Their end goal is to sell the home or to make money from your financing. So, they have something to gain from the home receiving a higher appraisal. Any disagreement they have with the actual appraised value might not be entirely honest. This prevents the veteran from having to pay for their attempts to sell the home at a higher rate.

    This last non-allowable fee should go without saying, but borrowers shouldn’t pay for services they didn’t get. Sometimes, you may have an appraiser or an inspector attempt to add fees to the sale of the home (Horrible!). Veterans must be charged fairly for the work that is done on the property. So, you should actually receive something in exchange for your money.

    What is the VA Appraisal Fee Schedule?

    what is the va appraisal fee scheduleThe VA appraisal fee schedule varies based on your location. It might even vary based on the type of property you are attempting to purchase. For the specific details regarding what the VA appraisal fees in your state are, you can view this map from the Department of Veterans Affairs. By clicking on your state, you can see the fee schedule for your area and your property type.

    In short, this fee schedule is the timeline you can expect from your VA appraiser. Most areas estimate that the timeline is approximately ten days or less. The exception to this is in more remote areas such as Alaska. There might be more travel time involved or fewer inspectors available to survey the property.

    VA Appraisal Fees

    The VA appraisal fees are a necessity when purchasing a home using this advantageous program. You should know what to expect from the VA appraisal fee schedule. There are things they should not charge you for. Educating yourself on the process right now is the best way to ensure that you only pay the recommended amount when the time comes.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Who pays VA appraisal fees?

    The buyer pays the VA appraisal fees but the seller may be able to repay these fees during negotiations. Learn more about VA buyer and seller requirements by clicking here.

    How can I get a VA appraisal fee waiver?

    All properties will need a VA appraisal, and there are no VA appraisal fee waivers.

    Can I get a VA appraisal fee refund?

    No, you cannot get a refund once the appraisal is officially completed. However, you may ask the seller to repay the costs at closing depending on your negotiations.

    Are there any VA appraisal fee limits?

    Yes, there are limits to the VA appraisal fees. Be sure to check what the limits are in your local area with the VA website here.

    va roof requirements

    VA Roof Requirements

    va roof requirementsWhen you purchase a home using a VA mortgage, every eligible property has to pass the VA appraisal and inspection process. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a list of minimum property requirements in place to help protect veterans from purchasing a financially draining new home. All of the standards relate directly to the safety and sanitation of the property rather than to cosmetic standards. The VA roof requirements are a subsection of this appraisal, allowing you to take a closer look at what happens to be on top of your new home.

    There are some unique roof requirements that apply to VA loans, even though this may not always be the case with conventional mortgages. The VA roof requirements are much more stringent in order to protect the veterans who are considering purchasing these properties. A private lender with a conventional mortgage might be able to overlook some of the more minor issues that would derail a VA loan.

    Get Help Pre Qualifying for a VA Low Credit Home Loan – Click Here!

    To prevent a potential holdup with your financing, it might be necessary to take a closer look at whether your property will meet the VA roof requirements or not.

    What is on the VA Loan Roof Inspection Checklist?

    va loan roof inspection checklistYour appraiser has a long list of items they are required to look for during the walkthrough of your property. The roof is simply another item on their list. What exactly is included in their VA loan roof inspection?

    The exact specifications for the roof are found in the VA Pamphlet 26-7, specifically in the Lender’s Handbook in Chapter 12 under the Minimum Property Requirements. Appraisers are really evaluating the roof for two very specific criteria. Does it prevent the entrance of moisture? Does it provide reasonable future utility, durability, and economy of maintenance?

    There are no other specific criteria that show specifically which roofs will pass a VA home inspection. Some of this the appraiser will have to consider to determine what constitutes an issue with your unique property.

    Prevent Entrance of Moisture

    prevent entrance of moistureAll homeowners would agree that the roof’s primary function is to keep the elements at bay. You wouldn’t want to purchase a home that already has extensive water stains on the ceiling from an active leak. The ceiling might be bowed from the weight of all the water or it could just be small brown patches that indicate some moisture was recently there. Either way, the appraiser takes this entrance of moisture very seriously.

    The roof on a particular home should be able to prevent moisture from entering your living spaces without much effort. If the room is already demonstrating that it can’t handle a rainstorm, the problem will worsen over the coming months or years. This can devolve into an expensive issue not too far down the road. This brings us to our very next point.

    Provide Reasonable Future Utility, Durability, and Economy of Maintenance

    prevent reasonable future utility durability and economy of maintenanceAn appraiser wants to see that the roof on your new prospective property is likely to withstand at least two years’ worth of daily wear and tear. That means that most of the shingles should be in place with no leaks on the inside. Any other signs that the roof could be in disrepair are also red flags to an appraiser, including sagging.

    This standard is to protect you as the home buyer from purchasing a home that already needs an expensive repair upfront. This can help to protect your financial interests long-term. So, you can avoid shelling out for a roof that costs thousands of dollars immediately.

    You may be able to have the roof replaced and still move forward with the financing for this property. Keep in mind that if the property has more than three layers of shingles, they must all be removed and replaced before the replacement.

    These are the standards for the VA loan roof inspection. However, remember that the home needs to comply with local building standards first and foremost. Any extra standards imposed by the VA should be secondary to these codes.

    How Can I Get the VA Roof Certification?

    If the appraiser notes anything odd about your roof, you may be asked to get an additional VA roof certification. These are not always necessary. BUT you might want to consider getting one if you believe that your financing might otherwise be derailed by the roof. They can recommend more detailed repairs and a future course of action for the property.

    how can i get the va roof certificationA roof certification is a detailed inspection of the current state of the roof by a licensed specialist. This is different than your home inspector and appraiser. They do not typically have the experience and know-how to issue a thorough VA roof inspection. These experts look at the condition of the roof, including any movement, the soundness of the flashing, and even the gutters and downspouts.

    When there are no repairs needed, they are generally asked to estimate the remaining lifespan of the roof. For a VA loan, the lender wants to see that it should last a minimum of two years.

    Who Issues the Roof Certification?

    A professional roofer will issue your roof certification. They might be able to issue this guarantee immediately, as long as there were no repairs necessary to the property. On the other hand, the company should be able to issue a roofing certification after they perform any of the repairs.

    This certification should be good for two to five years, depending on your area and the lifespan of the roof.

    VA Roof Requirements

    Passing a VA loan roof inspection doesn’t have to be difficult or worrisome. Those VA roof requirements are to make sure that you purchase a home that is safe for the years ahead. Consider the inspection and the guidelines set out in the VA pamphlet 26-7 as an excellent lens through which to view potential properties. After all, would you really want to purchase a home that didn’t meet the VA roof requirements?

    Take a look at some other Common VA Appraisal Problems by reading our article here.

    va approved condos

    VA Approved Condos

    va approved condosMany prospective home buyers are more interested in purchasing a condo with their VA loan than a detached home, but they aren’t sure if it’s possible.

    The good news is that you can purchase a VA approved condo with a VA mortgage, but you will face additional challenges. As long as you are prepared in advance for the challenges you could potentially encounter, purchasing a condo with your VA loan could be a smart move financially.

    VA loans are one of the best programs available because they feature no down payment, no private mortgage insurance, and low interest rates.

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    It’s rare to find this combination of terms in other loan programs, so eligible service members and veterans should highly consider taking advantage of it.

    Over the course of your loan, this type of mortgage could save you thousands of dollars.

    What are VA Approved Condos?

    what are va approved condosOne of the biggest questions facing potential buyers is what VA approved condos actually are. While there are all types of properties that are VA approved, the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t actually approve each individual condo unit, but they do take an overarching look at the complex where the unit is located. Their goal is to help veterans and service members to purchase a home that will meet all of their needs long-term, including when you may need to resell it in the future.

    As a result, they are interested in seeing how the complex actually functions. They want to make sure that there are no restrictions on the resale of the property, the details of the HOA, and even how the budget is spent on their community. VA approved condos are located within a complex that should be beneficial to veterans in the long run.

    The individual unit will still need the appraisal to receive final financing through this program.

    Benefits of Purchasing a Condo

    Some homebuyers aren’t really sure what they can gain from purchasing a VA approved condo instead of a traditional single-family home. Going through the approval process for a condo or a townhouse can be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Do the benefits of purchasing this type of property outweigh the disadvantages and frustration of getting the property approved?

    benefits of purchasing a condo va loanCondominiums and townhouses can be a great way to receive additional perks to your living situation at no additional cost. Many of these communities provide the same benefits as an apartment complex, including pools or gyms.

    High-end neighborhoods and complexes might even have a clubhouse where they host exclusive events on a regular basis. Some residents prefer the fact that the community takes care of their yard work and maintenance for them as well.

    Instead of renting an apartment, you could be putting your monthly housing expenses into a wiser investment. The money you spend can build equity in your home that could pay off in the future.

    Be sure to consider whether you can afford to maintain one of these condominiums before you purchase it, but it could be a financially savvy move for you.

    The best way to take advantage of all these perks is to find a unit within a pre-approved VA project. This reduces the headache of securing all of the documentation necessary for the VA to review and issue a final approval on a condo.

    If you aren’t in a hurry to move into your new home, you might even find that it’s worth it to move through the VA approval process.

    What are the VA Loan Condo Requirements?

    Finding a condo that meets all of the VA requirements is the first hurdle you will encounter with your purchase. You should know upfront exactly what the VA requires from a condo and the neighborhood where it is located before you become too attached to a specific unit. Take a look at these guidelines to help you meet all of the requirements.

    Complex must be approved.

    The VA does not allow veterans to purchase condos that aren’t on their list of approved complexes. Their approval means that they have already reviewed the covenants, bylaws, and other factors that could potentially limit your home’s resale value in the future. Their restrictions on complex approval are ultimately designed to benefit homeowners in the long run, even if they seem inconvenient right now.

    Check the VA approved condo database to determine if the complex you are interested in is already accepted. If you don’t see it in this database, you should check to see if it is approved by HUD or the USDA. It’s possible that the VA will accept a complex that already has the approval of these two agencies as long as it was granted before December of 2009.

    va loan condo requirements

    Ask the lender to seek approval from the VA

    Sometimes, you might find that you fall in love with a condo that isn’t on the list of approved properties. You can always ask the lender to seek approval from the VA, but it could be a time-consuming process. The lender will need to spend time gathering up all of the documents they need for the consideration and approval process. Many of these documents are organizational from the complex itself including:

    • Covenants and restrictions
    • HOA bylaws and budgets
    • Land plat or survey
    • Minutes from two homeowner’s association meetings
    • Current financial statements

    They will also need to include a letter from an attorney that demonstrates that the complex meets all of the VA’s stringent requirements.

    One of the primary factors the VA will be looking for is restrictions that can limit the resale of the property. For example, they will have a difficult time approving a community that has rules to prevent a foreclosure or resale without HOA approval. These can make selling the home burdensome for veterans later on down the road, so it helps for them to clarify the expectations of the complex in advance.

    Another major consideration is condos that are located in retirement communities for individuals over the age of 55. It isn’t a given that these types of complexes will receive a denial, but it does require a little more research from the VA and your lender. In this situation, they will be searching for proof that the complex complies with fair housing and lending laws. In short, it comes down to the fact that they do not want to limit the resale of the property in the future.

    Timelines

    Proving that your desired complex meets all of the VA loan condo requirements can be a time-consuming process. If you are in a hurry to purchase a new home and move in, attempting to purchase a not-yet-approved condo might not be the wisest move. It can be difficult to predict how long it will take for the complex to receive the coveted approval, even if you work with a lender who is experienced with this process.

    Sometimes, you might find that the complex and your lender can work together to complete the process smoothly. When a complex is resistant to providing the necessary documentation, the entire approval process can be held up indefinitely. It might still be a slow-moving ordeal even if they are timely with handing over the documents needed to make their complex one of the VA approved condos.

    You should be aware that it can take several months for a home to officially meet all of the VA loan condo requirements and receive approval. It takes time for the VA to review all of the documents that are submitted and ensure that you are getting a good deal on a home that can be resold in the future.

    Note that your lender cannot order the appraisal until after the approval process is complete. This means that you might be waiting for months to hear that your property is one of the VA approved condos, but it could still fail the VA inspection and derail your financing. The inspection is a crucial part of securing the financing with a VA loan, so it can still take even more time after the final approval is actually issued.

    Conclusion

    Purchasing a condo is possible with the VA mortgage program, but you will need to ensure that it meets all of the VA loan condo requirements. Obtaining this approval can be a long process that seems challenging and arduous at times. However, it could be an excellent way to purchase the property of your dreams if you have time to spare. Be sure to talk with your real estate professional and your lender to help identify properties that might already fall into the VA approved condos category.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you finance a condo with a VA loan?

    Yes, you can finance condos in a VA-approved project with a VA loan.

    Can you use a VA loan to buy a townhouse?

    Yes, you can use a VA loan to buy a townhouse in an approved project or complex.

    How can I find VA approved condos?

    You can search for VA approved condos in their database online here. You might also consider searching for USDA and HUD-approved condos because this could lead to a VA approval as well, provided that the condos were approved before December 2009.

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    va loan requirements for sellers

    Understanding VA Loan Requirements for Sellers

    va loan requirements for sellersWhen looking to sell your home there are a lot of different loans options a buyer might bring to the table. Once such type is the VA loan. These types of loans are backed by the VA and are used by veterans to help them secure housing. While a great program for the buyer, they can initially be a bit off-putting for sellers. There are a couple of VA loan requirements for sellers to keep in mind to make the process a smooth one.

    VA loans come with list of requirements for the buyers, but also has a series of requirements the seller needs to satisfy. These include things like an inspection and appraisal, and can prevent a loan being approved for the buyer. It’s important for the seller to understand the process in order to avoid any issues with the requirements.

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    Va Loan Requirements For Sellers

    One of the most important aspects of a VA loan for the seller to keep in mind is the inspection appraisal process. This inspects both the safety and integrity of your home, and places a fair market value on it. If either of these comes back negative, then it could mean difficulty in the buyer securing the loan.

     

    Inspection

    va loan requirements for sellers inspection

    The home inspection itself is performed by a licensed inspector. It’s important to keep in mind that this is not a thorough home inspection by a typical inspector, but one that looks at any large structural or safety issues.

    Many VA home buyers will have both the mandated VA inspection, as well as a standard, more in-depth home inspection, so don’t be surprised to see both.

    As noted, this inspection is meant to only look for issues that will be a significant cost to the homebuyer, or safety concerns. For example, a significant issue might be lack of working heat, or pest infestation. It could also be something as simple as having broken windows or handrails.

    The three keys an inspector is looking for is safe, sound, and sanitary. Any of these issues that are found will have to be fixed.

    If a home inspection fails, then they will have to be fixed before the loan is approved. It is the seller’s responsibility to get these issues fixed, and they must be done before the loan is approved. Notably, the repairs must be done at the homeowners expense.

     

    Appraisal

    va loan requirements for sellers appraisal

    During the inspection process, the inspector will also give the home an appraisal value. The inspector will assess the property, and give it a “fair market value” appraisal.

    Issues can arise here when the appraisal fails or the appraisal comes in lower than the asking price. In cases such as this, the buyer can go back to the seller to negotiate a lower sale price, or walk away from the purchase. This is a bit of a drawback for the seller, as it puts a hard cap on what a VA loan buyer can pay for your home.

     

     

    VA Loan Seller Disadvantages

    While great for buyers, there are many sellers who dislike working with VA loans. There are a couple of key items for a seller to watch out for, all of which can slow down or even completely derail a sale.

    Time

    One of the often cited issues with a VA loan requirements for sellers is the time it takes for the loan to be officially secured by the buyer. The buyer has several steps that need to completed in order to prove their eligibility, get the property approved, and finally secure the loan. This can add a significant amount of time onto the process of purchasing a home. For those looking for a quick close this can be a serious concern.

    va loan requirements for sellers disadvantages

    Fortunately, in recent years this has become less of an issue as many lenders have become approved to handle a lot of the paperwork. Working with a skilled agent who has experience with these types of loans is key here, and can really help keep the process on track.

    Nonetheless, this is a large concern for sellers who want a smooth and quick selling process or can’t afford to be holding a property for a few extra weeks.

    Inspection and Appraisals

    Another concern for sellers is the dreaded inspection and appraisal process. A home inspection that turns up an issue can lead to expensive repairs or a withdrawn offer.

    Seeing as it can be a bit into the process that the inspection happens, it can lead to a lot of lost time on each side.

    It’s also a concern that appraisals can only be done by specific inspectors,and waiting for one to be available can sometimes be a modest wait.

    The same goes for the appraisals, which if low can prevent the seller from getting their asking price. As appraisals are based off of similar sold home in the area, this can be a problem especially for low volume areas that have little or outdated data to go off of.

    While a buyer can make up the difference, many are likely to try to negotiate the price down. Depending on the property, this could taking less than expected or turning down their offer.

    Fees

    Another important aspect of the VA loan is the limit on what fees and how much a buyer can pay for. A lot of fees cannot be passed onto the buyer, and therefore are likely to passed onto the seller instead.

    This is especially true with certain types of fees from the lender or agent who are looking to make up their costs no matter what.

    Understanding these fees and how much it impacts the sale is essential to deciding whether a VA loan offer is worth taking.

    The first important thing to keep in mind is the list on non-allowable fees. These are the items that the buyer is not allowed to pay.

    This includes things like the closing fee, attorney fees (for the seller), and an underwriting fee. Any types of these costs can not be passed onto the buyer, and will likely end on the sellers lap.

    There are more than just these three, and some might not apply in all situations, so ask the agent and lender what additional fees to expect.

    Depending on where you live and the rules in your state you might also be on the hook for other fees as well.

    For example, certain at risk areas are required to get a termite inspection; which, in most states, must be paid for by the borrower. Make sure to check with your local rules to determine if this type of fee, or others, might be applicable to your property.

    Learn more about VA Appraisal Fees here.

     

    Va Loan Seller Benefits

    va loan seller benefits

    Despite some negatives, there are certainly a few pluses to working with buyers using VA loans. The largest is the increased pool of potential buyers. Not working with VA loan buyers can limit the number of people that could become your potential home buyer. By having the widest range of potential buyers your greatly increase your odds of finding one and doing so quickly.

    You also get the added benefit of helping someone who has served the country find a home. These men and women have certainly earned the benefits provided to them, and the seller gets the satisfaction of knowing they help put them to good use.

     

    VA Loan Requirements for Sellers Conclusion

    While VA loans definitely have some negatives it’s still absolutely worth working with those looking to utilize them. Casting a wide net is essential to selling a home and getting the best price for it, and it won’t do any good excluding people as potential buyers. By selling a house to someone with a VA loan you increase your chances of finding a good buyer, and understanding the VA loan requirements for sellers is a crucial step to avoiding any inconveniences.

     

     

    FAQ

    Are VA loan Closing Costs Paid By The Seller?

    It depends on the type of cost. While buyers can pay for some costs, there are a slew of them that the buyer is not allowed to pay, and therefore must be paid by the seller, agent, or lender.

    Why Do Sellers Not Like VA Loans?

    Many sellers dislike dealing with VA loans due to the potentially longer loan process, as well as the additional fees that the buyer is not allowed to pay. There’s also been complaints about poor appraisals coming in under value and eating up valuable time.

    Can a Seller Not Accept a VA Loan?

    While it’s illegal to decline someone solely on the fact that they are using a VA loan or are a veteran, any other sort of standard reason is acceptable. For example, if their offer comes in under asking or you receive a better offer from another party. You’re under no obligation to accept an offer just because it is a VA Loan.

    va loan requirements for buyers

    VA Loan Requirements For Buyers

    va loan requirements for buyers

    When veterans are looking to purchase a home, it’s important for them to understand the VA loan requirements to maximize the use of these benefits.

    VA backed loans provide an amazing range of benefits to those that qualify. This includes thing such as no down payment, lower interest rates, and more than can help buyers secure financing or save money.

    Understanding VA loan requirements for buyers and the buying process is the first step to securing a VA backed mortgage loan.

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    VA Buying Process

     

    Obtaining a Certificate Of Eligibility

    The first step is to acquire a certificate of eligibility (COE). A COE is a document which proves to lenders that you qualify for a VA backed loan.

    va certificate of eligibilityThe actual requirements to acquire a COE vary based on the nature of your eligibility. Generally, it requires you to provide some proof of your current or past service. This might include a record of your service or a signed current statement of service by your commander.

    Once you’ve determined and gathered the required documentation you can apply for the COE. This can be done through the mail, online, or through a qualified lender. For more info, check out our full article on obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility.

     

    VA Loan Requirements for Buyers

     

    Financial Requirements for Buyers

    While typically being easier to obtain than a standard loan, there are still a couple of requirements borrowers must satisfy. They are broken into a couple of key items.
    VA Loan Requirements for buyers financial requirements and property requirements
    Credit Score: While this is up to the individual lenders, 620 is generally considered the minimum. This not always the case though, and those with no or poor credit should talk to a lender to see what options they have available.

    Debt To Income Ratio: Lenders also want to make sure you can afford the loan, and your income can satisfy the payments. The generally accepted debt to income ratio is 41%. This is not a hard limit though, and many lenders will work with borrowers or may even have more lenient requirements.

    Loan Limits: While there is no limit to how large a loan can be, there is a limit to how much the VA will guarantee. The current loan limit for most counties is $453,100, but this change depending on the cost of living. For example, in Hawaii, this limit is a bit larger. After this limit, you’ll typically need to provide a larger down payment to secure a loan.

     

    Property Requirements

    In addition to the financial requirements, there are some limits on what properties can be purchased. These requirements are set in place to prevent buyers from purchasing properties with large, necessary expenses. This includes things like having clean water, a functioning heating system, and meeting structural requirements. These are primarily big-ticket items that have an immediate effect on the safety or inhabitability of the property.

    Any property will need to be approved by a licensed inspector which will look at these issues and more. It’s important to note however, that this is not a replacement for a traditional home inspection, and it is highly recommended a prospective buyer still get one. These are typically much more in depth than the one required by the VA.

    Properties not meeting these requirements will likely be denied a VA loan. While there are sometimes exceptions made, these are are difficult to acquire and are usually extensions to fix the issue rather than a flat exemption. Working with a real estate agent that is familiar with the requirements is a great to way to speed up the process, and prevent surprises after the inspection.

    During the inspection process the property will also be appraised. This will determine the fair market value of the home. If a home is valued less than the proposed loan, then the buyer will need to either make the difference, or negotiate the price down lower.

     

    VA First Time Home Buyer Program

    The VA loan is especially popular among first time home buyers. Due to the numerous benefits, it’s a great choice for anyone who qualifies.

     

    va first time home buyer program benefits

    What are the Benefits for Veteran Home Buyers?

    One of the key benefits for VA first time home buyers is the ability to secure a no down payment loan. Due to the backing of the VA of up to 25% of the loan, lenders are often willing to provide the loans without a down payment. This also does away with the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is a huge benefit, as low down payment loans typically require PMI which can put additional strain on budget conscious home buyers.

    Credit is also a big concern for first time home buyers, and is luckily a requirement that is easier to satisfy on VA loans. Many first time buyers with poor to no credit are able to secure VA backed loans if they satisfy the other categories such as having a low debt to income ratio. The guaranty that the VA provides to the loans also helps to significantly reduce risk for the lenders.

    First time VA home buyers also enjoy a reduced VA funding fee on their loan. As discussed in the fees section below, the funding fee is attached to every VA loan and is used to keep the program running. Those who are using their VA benefits for the first time receive the lowest rate for this fee.

    What are the requirements?

    To qualify for additional first time buyer benefits the individual must not have used their VA benefits to a secure a mortgage. The VA benefits can be used multiple times, but only the first use will convey the extra benefits.

     

    VA Loan Fees for Military Home Buyers

    At the end of the purchase process there is always fees that need to paid, this includes things like the closing costs and inspections. For a prospective buyer, it’s important to keep these fees in mind.

    va loan fees for military home buyersWhile the closing cost is the the most well known additional expense, there are a couple more the buyer to be aware of. The first of which is the origination fee. This is a fee charged by the lender to cover the origination and processing cost of the loan. This can be up to 1% of the total loan value, but may be less.

    In addition to that, the buyer is required to pay for both any appraisal fees as well any fee for accessing the buyers credit report. These are generally not too expensive, but a fee nonetheless.

    Lastly, borrowers will have to pay the VA funding fee. This fee is put in place to help fund the loan program, and keep it running for future generations. The fee is percentage based on the size of the loan, and is usually in the range of 1.5-3.5%. The fee amount changes slightly depending on your service, and is also lowered for first time buyers.

     

    Are there exemptions?

    On the buyer side, there are fees that the VA prohibits from being paid. This include things like attorney fees, notary public fees, buyer broker expenses, and a few others. These fees must be paid by the seller or lender.

     

    FAQ

    Are there first time buyer requirements for VA Loans?

    First time home buyers must satisfy all the standard requirements that com with the VA loan as well as having never used their VA benefits for a mortgage before. Outside of that, they do not have to satisfy any additional requirements.

    Am I required to pay attorney’s fees as a VA loan buyer?

    You can choose to pay for your own attorney, but cannot be charger for the lender’s or seller’s attorney fees.

    Is There a Minimum Credit Score For a VA Loan?

    Credit score requirements are set by the individual lenders so they can vary. In general, most will look for a score of at least 620, but being under this won’t automatically prevent you from getting a loan.

    Do I Qualify For a VA Loan With a General Discharge?

    Yes, the only discharge that can prevent a veteran from using home loan benefits is dishonorable.

    Are VA Loan Buyers Required to Get a Termite Inspection?

    In some “high-risk” areas a termite inspection is required. Outside of that, it is up to the lender. In either case, most states prevent the buyer from paying this fee.

    What Other Fees are Veterans Exempt From Paying?

    Some addition fees a buyer may not pay includes, agent commissions, broker fees, notary fees, attorney fees (for lender or seller), and recording fees.

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    VA Minimum Property Requirements: Protections for Military Home Buyers

    The VA Minimum Property Requirements (VA MPR) exist to establish whether a property has the basic necessities that make it safe.

    Your appraiser will examine whether the home can contribute to your overall health. This includes major issues like clean drinking water and a running septic system.

    VA Minimum Property Requirements Provide Protection for Veterans

    Note that the appraisal that takes a closer look at the VA MPR checklist is quite different than a home inspection.

    This cursory appraisal solely helps to spot large issues with the structure of the home or its major functions.

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    A clean appraisal doesn’t necessarily mean that a more thorough home inspection wouldn’t identify key issues with the property.

    Most lenders will advise that you have both the mandatory VA appraisal and a secondary inspection to ensure that the house is up-to-date. Necessary major repairs cost a lot of money, so it is better to learn about them in advance.

    How VA Loans and VA MPRs are Beneficial for Vets

    The VA loan program is highly beneficial for veterans and service members who want to find a great deal on their next home. You can purchase a home without a down payment or private mortgage insurance. Plus, you get a low-interest rate, as long as your property will meet the VA minimum property requirements.

    The entire program makes homeownership more affordable to the brave men and women who have already sacrificed a great deal for our country.

    Following through on their commitment to service, the Department of Veterans Affairs wants to ensure that veterans only purchase homes that are safe and sanitary.

    What are the VA Minimum Property Requirements?

    va minimum property requirementsSome home buyers continue to ask whether the appraisal is the same thing as a home inspection. The short answer is no.

    An appraisal (complete with a look at the VA minimum property requirements) is not the same thing as a home inspection.

    Understanding what the MPRs are can help you to identify the difference between the appraisal and an inspection.

    Why do I need to know what the VA MPRs are?

    Having a thorough grasp of the MPRs can help you to spot problems with potential homes during your initial walkthrough or showing.

    You may be able to determine immediately that a home has a major issue that will disqualify it for VA financing.

    For example, you might spot a problem with pests or it may not have any heating.

    You can avoid dragging out the home buying process by eliminating properties that you know won’t pass this short appraisal.

    What are the VA minimum property requirements?

    You might be surprised to find out how easy it is for a potential property to qualify for these VA minimum property requirements.

    va minimum property requirements infographicIt all starts with making sure that the home is only zoned as a residential property and that it has adequate space for you to live in. VA loans cannot be used for commercial or industrial properties.

    Beyond these simple requirements, a home must also meet all of the following criteria:

    Clean Drinking Water

    • Clean drinking water is a must-have for any home, particularly if you want to use a VA loan.
    • Well water will have to pass many tests to ensure that is free from harmful bacteria and is safe for human consumption.
    • This may result in greater turnaround time for your VA appraisal than public water which can typically skip this testing.

    Working Plumbing and Sewer Systems

    • The plumbing and sewage systems within the home must be in working order.
    • If there is a septic system on the property instead of city sewer systems, the appraiser will need to ensure that it is in working order and can be accessed by the local health authorities.

    Available Heat

    • All homes must have heat in order to qualify as a safe living environment, no matter where it happens to locate.
    • Identifying a running furnace that can heat the house in the winter is essential to meeting the VA minimum property requirements, even if you don’t intend to ever use it.

    No Infrastructure Problems

      • Your appraiser will make sure that there are no obvious signs of defective construction on the property.
      • They may look for major cracks in the foundation of a home or rotten wood in the crawl space.

    Any signs that a current or future repair will be needed to the foundation may disqualify the house from receiving financing with a VA home loan. They may also search for water damage and proper ventilation.

    Free Street Access

    • You should be able to enter and exit the home without trespassing on the private property of another person.
    • A permanent driveway or easement must be well-established.
    • A shared driveway may require a written contract between the two owners to outline details pertaining to the responsibility of each party.

    Pest Free Inspection

    • The VA appraiser will perform a thorough termite inspection to ensure that the home is currently free of pests.
    • They will also make sure that it has no previous damage from an infestation of termites in the wood where major repairs might be required.
    • A termite inspection is required for homes that are considered to be in an area prone to moderate or heavy risk of a termite infestation.

    Quality Roof Inspection

    • The roof should be in good shape with no leaks or causes for immediate concern.
    • Your roof is going to be integral to the stability and safety of your entire home, so you want to ensure that it isn’t currently in a state of disrepair.

    VA Minimum Property Requirements Can Save Veterans Money

    va mprThe VA loan appraisal process is designed to help identify any major issues related to the health and safety of a veteran who will be living in the home.

    If VA inspectors see any issues that could pose a threat to these two attributes, the home will be flagged until the seller resolves the issues (oftentimes at the expense of the buyer).

    Issues that may cause some concern for safety could include things like exposed wires, leaking pipes, or a mold infestation. Your appraiser may also check the home for lead paint if it was constructed prior to 1978.

    Some VA MPRs Can Be Subjective, But Appraisers Are Looking Out for Veterans

    Some of these VA minimum property requirements may be construed as subjective because the extent of the concern will vary based on the appraiser’s opinion.

    Many of the standards are left open for some interpretation of what constitutes an actual threat to the safety and sanitation of a home.

    The appraiser does have a lot of freedom to determine some of the less specific requirements listed in the MPRs from the VA Lender’s Handbook. For example, they can determine whether the railing is at an adequate height to be safely used by a veteran.

    An inspection will have a much more thorough report for you to look at what encompasses more than the bare minimum in terms of safety and health standards found in the VA MPRs.

    Conclusion

    Keep in mind that the VA minimum property requirements are to make financing easier for veterans who want to purchase a home.

    VA MPRs are designed to prevent a veteran from becoming tied down to a property that is going to be expensive to purchase and to maintain long-term.

    This appraisal is to help buyers make wise decisions and investments when it comes to real estate decisions. Giving them an objective third-party opinion of the basic requirements for a property is a great help that made safe housing possible for many vets already.

    VA loans can be extremely beneficial for veterans and service members who qualify. These minimum property requirements or MPRs are key examples of ways that the Department of Veterans Affairs is looking out for the women and men who serve our nation.

    In addition to waiving the down payment requirement and the need for private mortgage insurance, every home must be both safe and sanitary for the foreseeable future.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What does MPR stand for?

    MPR stands for the VA minimum property requirements which are the standards that all homes must meet in order to qualify for a VA home loan. They pertain to the safety and sanitation of the home.

    Do I still need to get a property inspection?

    While the appraisal does take a look at the overall safety and sanitation of the home, it is not a substitute for a home inspection. You should still hire a professional home inspector to take a more thorough look at the condition of the home prior to making a purchase.

    What are the VA loan handrail requirements?

    The VA Lender’s Handbook doesn’t give specific details regarding the height of the handrails in a home. They should be sturdy and secured, but the height is up to the appraiser’s discretion to ensure that it is reasonably high enough to be safe for daily use.

    Does the VA require a termite inspection?

    Termite inspections are required on homes that are located in areas with a moderate to heavy risk of termite infestation. Your appraiser will look for signs of both an active infestation and a previous infestation in the home and structural woodwork of the home.

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    how to challenge a va loan appraisal

    How to Challenge a VA Loan Appraisal

    how to challenge a va loan appraisal

    You just received a copy of the final report and the VA loan appraisal is too low. Appraisals can throw a wrench in your financing plans and wreak havoc with your lender.

    A low appraisal may mean that a lender will require you to come up with some sort of down payment to help protect their interests and investment in your new home.

    The appraisal may also reveal that there are some violations of the minimum property requirements that ensure the health and safety of veterans who purchase new homes.

    Finding one major issue with these minimum standards could mean that you are in for some expensive repairs if the lender will even move forward with the financing at all.

    Fortunately, you do have an option if your find your VA loan appraisal too low. You always have the option to ask for a Reconsideration of Value.

    Table of Contents

    1. Reconsideration of Value (ROV)
    2. Using the ROV to Appeal
    3. What to Do if the ROV Fails
    4. What to Do if the Home Fails Minimum Property Requirements
    5. Conclusion
    6. Frequently Asked Questions

    VA Loan Appraisal Too Low? Apply for a Reconsideration of Value (ROV)

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    va loan appraisal too low reconsideration of value

    The Reconsideration of Value gives prospective buyers and lenders another opportunity to correct a potential mistake on the part of the appraiser. They may feel that the report didn’t include comparable properties in the same price range.

    Perhaps they noticed that there was a mathematical error that calculated the square footage incorrectly. The appraiser may not have been made aware of a recent update to the property that significantly boosted the home’s value.

    A Reconsideration of Value is your opportunity to put the facts you uncover in front of the appraiser to see if they will make a different determination.

    In order to request an ROV, you will need to start by contacting your lender in writing. Explain why you believe that the proper should be reconsidered, including comparable properties or the additional facts in the information.

    Using the ROV to Appeal

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    using the rov to appeal va loan appraisal

    Contacting your lender and involving them in the conversation is the first step toward reconciling your issue. Lenders typically have at least one person on staff known as their Staff Appraisal Review (SAR).

    Their Staff Appraisal Reviewer will consider your letter and forward the information if they believe that your claims have substantial evidence to support them.

    Sometimes, they will forward the information back to the appraiser who initially completed the job. Depending on the response they receive, it may be sent directly to the VA.

    Doing as much homework as you can will weigh favorably for you. Send as much information as you can find that would support your desire for a higher appraisal. Compile a list of comparable properties that sell for roughly the same list price.

    Show three properties like this that weren’t included in the original report.

    Highlight and point out any errors that were written up in the original report. These steps make it clear exactly what you are hoping to accomplish with your ROV.

    What to Do if the ROV Fails

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    Some homeowners request an ROV, but the appraisal comes back at the same low rate. You have a few options for what you can do with the property at this point. Unfortunately, the sale isn’t likely to move forward unless you select one of these three options.

    Ask the buyer to lower the price.

    If the property is genuinely overpriced based on comparable real estate in the area, you could always consider asking the buyer to lower the price to the appraised amount. This would save you a considerable amount of money and may even get you a fairer deal on the home of your dreams. Some buyers would begrudgingly lower the price of the house simply to salvage the sale and move on with the rest of their lives.

    va loan appraisal use cash to make up the difference

    Use cash to make up the difference.

    The seller may still refuse to lower the property price, but you aren’t quite willing to part with your dream of living there yet. You can still purchase the property but your lender is probably going to ask that you come up with cash to make up the difference between the appraised value and the sale price.

    This helps the lender to protect their investment if you were to default on the loan.

    Consider the position that the lender would be in if they moved forward on your loan without any money down. When a homeowner defaults on a mortgage that is greater than the house is worth, it’s a given that the bank is going to lose money if the house moves into foreclosure.

    By covering the difference with cash up front, you are giving the lender some security.

    Walk away.

    Many prospective homebuyers love to use the VA home loan because of its advantageous no down payment option. If you didn’t plan to put down thousands of dollars toward a new home, paying the difference may not be a real option for your family.

    At this point, it’s probably best to simply walk away from the property until you can find something that is better suited to your needs and budget.

    What to Do if the Home Fails Minimum Property Requirements

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    There is another issue that the appraisal can bring to light that also presents a significant challenge for homebuyers. A home that fails to meet the minimum property requirements may need some additional attention before a lender is willing to move forward with the loan.

    va loan appraisal what to do if the home fails minimum property requirements

    Because these requirements tend to deal with major issues that make the house safe, sanitary, and structurally sound, you may be looking at a major problem.

    You will have three options regarding what to do about a home that doesn’t meet the requirements according to the appraiser.

    Ask the seller to make the repairs.

    The seller is technically in charge of the property until you sign on the dotted line at closing. It’s reasonable to first request that the seller make the necessary changes to the property on their own dime. After all, they may lose a sale altogether if the issues aren’t remedied.

    Pay for the repair yourself.

    This could be a potentially risky move, but it is also highly effective. A buyer does have the option to cover the cost of the repair himself.

    This can help you to ensure that the repairs get done and prevent you from losing your financing. However, not all homeowners are equipped to cover the cost of these repairs out of pocket right before closing on a home.

    Walk away.

    Much like our last example of a property that failed the Reconsideration of Value, you still have the option to walk away. This may not be a bad idea if you uncovered some major issues that compromise the structural integrity or safety of the home. After all, more repairs may be on the way after this set.

    You’ll have to make a wise decision regarding what you want to do on this property and how much you are really willing to invest in rehabilitating it to meet the minimum property requirements.

    Conclusion

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    Having a VA appraisal that’s too low can be a significant problem during your financing process. Fortunately, the VA has worked out a system that allows homeowners to appeal a decision with a Reconsideration of Value (ROV).

    Following these steps, you may be able to have the appraised value of the home increased. On the other hand, you may also have to make some important decisions about what comes next in your dream of homeownership.

    If you have a VA appraisal that is too low, be sure to contact your lender today to see if they can help you to file for a Reconsideration of Value.

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    Are VA appraisals typically too low?

    The VA appraisals will vary based on your objective third-party appraiser, the criteria set forth by your lender, and the condition of the prospective property.