A Guide to VA Loan Occupancy Requirements
Exceptions to VA Loan Occupancy Requirements
You may find that it takes longer than 60 days for you to start occupying your new home after the loan is taken out. If your situation qualifies, the VA may allow an exception to its occupancy requirements.
However, the VA generally does not allow an accurate date of occupancy beyond 12 months. So if you, a spouse, or a dependent can’t move into your home within a year, you’ll probably have to wait to apply for a VA loan or use another type of mortgage.
Occupation of spouse
If you are actively deployed – or temporarily assigned to a military posting or non-military job away from your permanent location – you can still meet the VA loan occupancy requirements if your spouse is able to occupy the home within the 60 days.
Occupation of dependent children
You can also have your child or other dependent live in your primary residence backed by a VA loan if you are unable to occupy the home within 60 days.
However, to satisfy the occupancy requirement, the dependent’s legal guardian – or your attorney – will need to certify in writing that the dependent will reside in your home.
As a military service member, your home occupancy will likely be interrupted by active duty deployment or temporary assignments. Although you cannot reside in your home on a daily basis, intermittent occupancy is permitted as long as you:
- Can show you are using the property as your primary address
- Lived there continuously in the past
- Do not use the property as a second home or as a seasonal vacation home
- Have not moved – nor do they intend to move – to another primary residence elsewhere
Certain circumstances and eligible living situations may make it difficult or impossible to occupy your accommodation before the 60-day period.
If you can notify your lender of the event preventing you from moving into your home within a reasonable time and provide a specific date when you can assume occupancy, you may qualify for one of the following exceptions:
- Active duty: If you are on temporary duty, you may purchase a home in your permanent location as long as you intend to occupy the home as your primary residence at the end of your deployment or assignment.
- Home improvements or repairs: If major repairs prevent you from moving in sooner, you may be able to occupy the home – or re-occupy the home if you refinance – after the 60-day requirement.
Once repairs and improvements are complete, you will need to use the house as your primary residence – you cannot sell, rent or use the property as a second or vacation home. If you opt for a VA refinance, you will need to continue using the home as your primary residence.
You may be eligible for an occupancy delay for a home you plan to move into after you retire, provided you:
- Will be retiring within the next 12 months
- Give your lender a copy of your retirement application
- Provide proof to your lender that your retirement income can cover your monthly mortgage payments, living expenses, and other debts you may have
You can rent out your property financed with a VA loan if you have resided in the home for 12 months or received a new assignment before the year in a location too far from your primary residence to move.
Renter does not need to be a member of the service or employed by the military.