The VA’s occupancy guidelines help ensure veterans and service members are purchasing primary residences. Like the other government-backed home loans, VA loans aren’t intended for buying vacation homes, second homes or purely investment properties.
Generally, VA buyers in most cases are expected to occupy their new home within 60 days of closing, although there are exceptions. We take a closer look at broader VA loan occupancy guidelines in another post.
Here, we’re going to focus on the concept of “intermittent occupancy,” which basically allows buyers to move forward with a VA loan even if they can’t maintain a physical presence at the home on a daily basis.
This often applies to veterans working overseas as civilian contractors, but every prospective buyer’s situation is different. Lenders evaluate occupancy scenarios on a case-by-case basis.
Let’s take a closer look at intermittent occupancy.
Time Away for Work
For the VA, occupancy implies the new home is within reasonable distance of the borrower’s place of employment. But there are situations where a veteran’s job requires them to be gone from home, sometimes for substantial periods of time.
In those cases, lenders will be looking to see if the veteran has a history of continuous residence in the community. They’ll also be looking for any signs the borrower has established, intends to establish or may be required to establish a primary residence somewhere else.
There’s no magic number or set number of days the buyer must live in the home. But lenders will want to ensure the veteran isn’t trying to purchase what’s essentially a seasonal home.
Veterans United Guidelines
At Veterans United, we will confirm the borrower’s housing situation and include those costs, along with travel costs to the new residence, when calculating debt-to-income ratio and other qualifying ratios.
We’ll also require the employer to confirm the borrower can live anywhere in the United States without a negative impact on their job.
In addition, we will require a letter of explanation from the prospective buyer that confirms:
- They don’t own any other homes
- They have a history in the community in which they’re purchasing
- How much time they will actually be residing in the home
Again, every prospective buyer’s situation is different. Talk with a loan officer about your specific occupancy scenario and what might be possible.