Getting A Home Through A VA Loan: Do You Need To Occupy It?

For military veterans, the VA loan package is extraordinarily attractive. Not only does a VA loan require 0% down, but it has very few hard financial requirements. Bad credit history alone will not disqualify a military service member from getting this type of loan; the entirety of the loan package will be looked at. 

Nevertheless, because a VA loan is intended for an owner occupant, military service members may be hesitant to purchase a home. Here's what you need to know.

You May Be Able to Delay Occupancy

With many owner occupant loans, you need to occupy the property within a set amount of time. Though the VA loan intends that the purchaser move in within 60 days, there are exceptions to this. It is understood by the VA that your orders could change and that you may not be able to occupy the property in time. 

You can talk to the VA and your loan underwriter about your current issues; they will tell you whether or not the owner occupancy requirements can be waived. However, you will still need to occupy the home within the next 12 months.

You Can Rent Out Your Property

Are you worried that you could be relocating soon? With a VA loan, you can rent out your property if you're relocated through the military. There are no penalties for being relocated, and having additional rental income can help you when you're trying to adapt to a new environment. 

Of course, that also means that you would need to become a landlord. Becoming a landlord can be difficult for anyone, but is especially difficult for those who are frequently on the move.

You Can Use a VA Loan Multiple Times

What happens when you do need to move? Every military service member has a certain amount of "entitlement," which is used to purchase a home without a down payment. However, if you sell a home, you can use that entitlement again, as the entitlement is paid back once you sell your home. If you haven't sold your home, but are still renting it out, you may still have a certain amount of entitlement left. 

Ultimately, it's important to remember that a VA loan is intended for military service members, with the knowledge that military service members are very likely to have to relocate. It's a very flexible loan package; before you go any further, you should talk to your local military benefits service.