Qualifying individuals affiliated with the military can choose to purchase a home with a VA loan. VA loans are an attractive option because of their low-interest rates. They also do not require a downpayment. However, it’s important for borrowers to know that when it comes to VA loans, certain requirements may be stricter than those of a conventional mortgage. This includes occupancy requirements.
If you are thinking about buying a home with a VA loan, you may be wondering about occupancy timelines. How soon do you have to move in? Do you have to live in the house for a certain period of time? Here’s everything you need to know.
VA Loan Occupancy Requirements
Since VA loans are intended for primary residences, borrowers must meet certain requirements for living in the home. These are referred to as “Occupancy Requirements.”
The VA states that the borrower must:
- 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.
What Is Considered a “Reasonable” Time?
Generally, the VA considers a “reasonable” time to be within 60 days of the closing of the loan. In some cases, the VA may make exceptions to this rule. These exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis. However, the VA is clear on their stance that this timeline should not exceed 12 months. Occupancy at a date that is later than 12 months cannot be considered “reasonable.”
How Long Do I Have to Live in the House I’m Buying?
If you use a VA loan to purchase your house, it’s up to your lender to ensure that you meet VA loan requirements. There is no set requirement for how long you have to live in the house. However, most lenders will prefer that you live in the home for at least 12 months. This may be stated somewhere in your contract.
If you’re concerned about your ability to meet occupancy requirements, we recommend discussing the matter with your lender. This way, you know exactly what is required of you and what possible alternative options may be available.
Learn More About VA Loan Requirements
When it comes to VA loans, requirements can be confusing, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. If at any point during the process, you find that questions come up or you’re confused about what’s required of you, please do not hesitate to reach out. We would be more than happy to chat with you and provide answers to your questions. Call today to get in touch!