The VA home loan helps veterans buy a primary home. If you use VA financing for a home, you are expected to live in it. Just how long do you have to move into the home? What are the rules?
Keep reading to find out.
How Long do you Have to Move Into a VA Loan Home?
At your VA loan closing, you’ll sign a document that states you intend to occupy the home as your primary residence. It also says you must occupy the home within 60 days of the closing. The VA considers two months enough time to get settled and moved into the home.
Are There Any Exceptions to the VA Home Occupancy Rule?
What if you can’t get into the home within that time? You may be able to get an exception. In order to do so, though, you must meet one of the following requirements.
- Active service ending soon – If your active duty ends within the next 12 months, and you can prove it, the VA may approve a later move-in date. Of course, if you’ll be retiring, you’ll need to provide the lender with proof of your income after retirement so they can tell if you can afford the loan.
- Active duty – If you are on active duty, your spouse may satisfy the occupancy requirement for you. Ideally, the VA wants someone to occupy the property within 60 days, but if that’s not feasible due to your current station, you can petition for an extension.
- Intermittent Occupancy – If you travel for work, you may not be able to occupy the property within the 60 days full-time. As long as you can prove that you don’t have another primary residence and that you do stay at the home periodically, becoming a part of the community, it satisfies the VA’s requirement.
- Repairs – If you used your VA benefit to get a VA rehab loan, you may be able to hold off on occupancy until completion of the repairs. The VA will require you to certify your intent to occupy the home after the repairs are complete, though.
Regardless of your reason to delay occupancy, you typically only have 12 months total. Any reasons that extend your occupancy past 12 months typically get turned down.
The VA Streamline Loan Home Occupancy Exceptions
The above requirements pertain to a standard VA purchase loan. If you already have a VA loan, you may be able to take advantage of the VA streamline refinance program. If you refinance out of your original VA loan, you ‘undo’ the occupancy requirement. When you refinance with the streamline program, you must certify that you previously occupied the property. You don’t have to certify that you’ll occupy it moving forward.
If you refinance, you can even move out of the home. Many people refinance with the streamline program, rent out the home and buy another. As long as you occupy the property that you buy with VA financing, you are following the VA rules.
It’s best to occupy a VA home loan property as quickly as possible. The documents you sign say that you’ll do so within two months. If you know that’s not feasible, get in touch with the VA right away to make sure you don’t violate the rules.