VA Home Loan Occupancy Requirements
VA home loans are for primary residences, but there are exceptions to this rule! We have actually used the little known VA Home Loan Occupancy Requirements several times over the years. There are times where the Veteran is not able to physically occupy the residence within the normal 60 days of closing. So most would think that a VA loan is not possible. Not necessarily! There are cases where the Veteran or service member do not have to physically stay in the home a majority of the time. Although, it is important to remember this cannot be used to buy an investment or vacation home. The home must truly be a primary residence.
Will VA Treat as a Primary Residence?
Believe it or not, many of these scenarios will work as a VA primary residence purchase.
- Active duty unmarried active duty buyer occupying within 12 months
- Active duty spouse to occupy home
- Caretaker or Veteran’s attorney in fact occupying home
- Single Veteran commuting 2 hours each way to work
- Single Veteran with a long commute living in another home during the week
- Married Veteran buying home for spouse and family while working & living elsewhere
- Single Veteran who is an out of town traveling sales person
- Married Veteran living in nursing home purchasing a home for spouse
Non Active Duty Veterans Residency
Veterans do not have to be in the military to live away from their family. The most common reason for this would be employment. Many jobs require either extensive travel or it may just take some time before a Veteran can solidify a new job in the area of the purchased home. So how can one get a VA loan in these cases? First, the Veteran must declare the home as the principal household for the family. Next, the other family member(s) needs to occupy the home. In addition, the Veteran must provide a written explanation and supporting documentation to show how and why this will be the primary residence. If there will be additional housing or traveling expenses, they must be factored into the approval as well. Finally, the Veteran must be ready to change his/her driver’s license address, payroll state withholding, and/or car registration.
Non Active Duty Veterans – Families to Occupy Examples
We had a recent closing where the Veteran and his family wanted to move from Missouri back to the Fayetteville, NC area. Of course, they asked to use a VA Home Loan because it was the best loan for their scenario. Where the scenario gets complicated is that the Veteran would continue working in Missouri. Meanwhile the family would move into the home and the Veteran would come home 1-2 times a month. The Veteran stated that he will stay with his current job until he finds a comparable job or transfers within the DOD. We were able to prove why the family would live in the home plus provided all required documentation to meet VA’s requirements. We are so happy for their family!
Another recent closing involved an engineer employed with GE in Wilmington. But he purchased a home near Charlotte. This case actually involved a VA jumbo loan, which is a great way to finance luxury homes by the way! Foremost, the new home in Charlotte is declared the primary residence by the Veteran. Second, the spouse is required to work within a certain radius of the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Therefore, this makes sense for the reason to buy in the area. The Veteran provided the explanation of the job, documented his living and traveling arrangements, proof of change of residency, and the overall scenario met the guidelines. So they were able to use a VA jumbo loan to buy their dream home!
Deployed Active Duty Service Members
It is a common occurrence for active duty military to live away from family for extended periods. A service member may be deployed overseas or on a float for a period of time. This is considered temporary duty status and the Veteran would easily be able to state the intent to occupy. In these cases, the veteran automatically meets the VA home loan occupancy requirements.