What are the VA Minimum Property Requirements?
A VA loan is guaranteed by the government , which makes it easier to get a VA home loan! That’s because that government guarantee allows VA approved lenders like HomePromise to lend money to borrowers who have lower credit scores and higher debt-to-income ratios. But for that government guarantee to happen, the property in question needs to meet certain requirements. According to the VA Lender’s Handbook , Minimum Property Requirements (MPRs) help ensure that the property is safe, structurally sound, and sanitary.
So, why does this matter? Because if you’re looking for a home or applying for a VA loan, the property you’re buying or the property you own needs to meet the MPRs. Below, we explain the VA’s main requirements and tell you what to do if your property isn’t a traditional home. Click more to read more about each of the VA property requirements.
VA Property Requirements
During a home inspection, mechanical systems and much more must meet the VA appraisal report and certain government agencies guidelines for legal real estate purposes. The following will give you a general understanding:
1. Working electric, heating, and cooling systems
Your property must have electricity for lighting and for other equipment. There should not be any visible frayed or exposed electrical wires. The heating system must be permanently installed, and a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit must be maintained in areas with plumbing. Air conditioning is not required, but if it’s installed, it has to be functional.
2. Adequate roofing that will last the foreseeable future
The roof on your property must prevent the entrance of moisture and be reasonably useful for the future, which means it needs to be durable and able to be maintained. If your roof does not meet those requirements and has three or more layers of shingles already on the roof, then the VA requires that all shingles be removed before the new shingles are installed.
3. Sufficient in size for basic living necessities
The VA defines “basic living necessities” as living, sleeping, cooking and dining, and sanitary facilities. The appraiser will also consider whether your home is non-traditional; for example, if you have a log home, earth sheltered home (or berm home) or dome home, the appraiser must affirm that the home is marketable. In other words, if your home is unique, the appraiser must believe that the home is attractive to home buyers if it were offered for sale. Many lenders will not consider VA loans on unique properties like log homes, berm homes or dome homes. But, HomePromise has experience providing VA mortgage for these kinds of homes.
4. Clean, continuous water supply with sanitary facilities
Your property needs to have a continuous supply of safe and potable water, hot water, sanitary facilities, and a safe method of sewage disposal. Safe drinking water is especially important, and there must be a filtration system if the public water supply contains lead.
5. Free of lead-based paint
If your property was built in 1978 or later, peeling paint on the exterior of the home require repair. If your property was built before 1978, the VA assumes that there is lead-based paint in the home, and any peeling paint needs to be repaired. According to the VA, repair could either involve removal of any peeling or scaling paint followed by repainting with new paint which won’t contain lead, or all of the paint can be removed, followed by repainting with new paint.
6. Free of wood-destroying insects, fungus, and dry rot
The property needs to be free of wood-destroying insects, fungus, and dry rot, and if there’s
evidence that there is any kind of infestation, the damage needs to be repaired. In certain areas of the United States, a wood destroying insect inspection report is required. Page 5 of this guidebook shows which regions have high hazard risks from termite infestations, and properties in Regions I and II require an inspection report.
7. Safe and sanitary sewage disposal
According to the VA, safe and sanitary sewage disposal means that an individual disposal system must dispose of domestic wastes in a way that will not create a nuisance or endanger the public health. A community sewage system (one that is owned, operated and maintained by a private company or property owner’s association) must be noted by the appraiser, and should be large enough and properly operated to be approved.
8. Accessible from an all-weather public or private street
Your property must be accessible by walking or by vehicle from a public or private street. Private
streets must be protected by a permanent easement (which means you have legal permission to
access your home) and it must be maintained by a homeowners association or a joint maintenance agreement. It is very important that the private road be protected by a maintenance agreement of some kind. Whether public of private, the street must be all-weather, which means it must be paved with crushed stone, asphalt, concrete, or something similar.
9. Attics and crawl spaces must be accessible and properly vented
Attics and crawl spaces should be free of water stains and should have sufficient ventilation systems in place. Crawl spaces in particular should have adequate access and be clear of debris, and it is important that water does not collect in the crawl space.
Unique VA Property Conditions
The requirements above are very important, but what if the property you own or are interested in buying does not conform to a traditional or manufactured home design? Homes that fit into this category include A Frame homes, Dome homes, Log Cabins and many more nontraditional structures. In the case of a Dome home, the structure is constructed out of a thick layer of concrete or triangular panels and is shaped like a dome. Often, many windows and skylights are present in the design. This kind of home often does not have a traditional shingled roof. For all homes, appraisers rely on comparable sales nearby to determine the value of the home during the VA appraisal process. But a Dome home may be the only home like it for hundreds of miles around. Without comparable sales, an appraiser will be forced to pick comparable sales that are not similar to the home. This creates a very challenging situation for the buyer and seller. Very few lenders can find a way around this issue, but HomePromise is different. We are experts in the area of nontraditional homes, and we specialize in approving loans for these types of properties. Call now at 800-720-0250 to find out if we can help you!
VA Farm Loan Properties
A farm property is defined as a property that is used for farming and is the Veteran’s primary residence. Many VA lenders won’t provide mortgage for properties that are used for farming. Farm properties sometimes also face the challenge of not having comparable sales nearby. This can mean that it is very difficult to get a loan on this kind of property. If this sounds like you, then you need a lender who is an expert in farm loans and may be able to close a loan on your property even if other lenders cannot. HomePromise closes loans on farm properties that other lenders will not, so contact us now to see if we can help!