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Last Updated on 10/29/2022 by Mark Verhoeven

Occupancy requirements for VA loan: What you need to know.

Occupancy requirements for VA loan
Occupancy requirements for VA loan with Mortgage Rates Today

For veterans and active-duty personnel to qualify for a VA loan, they must certify that the property will be their primary residence. The VA considers 60 days to be a “reasonable time” for homebuyers to move into their new homes after the loan closes. Two months may not be enough time for some buyers – especially those on active duty or preparing to separate from the military. In situations like these, the VA allows homeowners to go beyond the 60-day mark, although occupancy beyond one year is generally not allowed.

VA occupancy certification form

The VA Form 26-1802a, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)/Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Addendum to Uniform Residential Loan Application, is the lender’s and veteran’s application as required by 38 U.S.C.

The first form is submitted at the time of application, the second at closing.

How long do you have to occupy a VA loan home?

Homebuyers generally have 60 days after closing to move into a home they purchased with a VA loan. There are certain situations where the VA allows homebuyers to extend their time beyond the 60-day mark, potentially up to a year.

VA loan applicants must certify that they intend to live in the home as their primary residence. As a general rule, VA loans allow homebuyers to occupy the home within 60 days after the loan closes, which is considered a “reasonable time.” Two months may not be enough time for some buyers – especially those currently on active duty or preparing for separation. In situations like these, the VA allows homeowners to extend their occupancy beyond that 60-day mark, although occupancy beyond a year is generally unacceptable.

How long do you have to occupy a VA loan home before renting?

The VA loan occupancy requirement is a hard and fast requirement you are required to agree to by accepting the loan. You do not have to live in the house for the rest of your life, though. Basically, all you have to do is prove that it was your primary residence for a specified period of time.

A VA home loan agreement usually stipulates that you must reside in the house for at least 12 months. You should be able to rent out the house at the end of that 12-month period, even if the tenant is not affiliated with the military.

It is impossible to rent out a property immediately after purchasing it if you do not purchase a multifamily or duplex property. One of the units must be your primary residence, and the rest can be rented out to tenants as you see fit. 

Does the VA check occupancy?

Yes, that’s the short answer. The VA website reminds borrowers that “a lender may accept an occupancy certification at face value if the lender is in possession of specific information that indicates the veteran will not occupy the property as a home or that he does not intend to occupy within a reasonable time after closing.”

Lenders must determine whether the occupancy rule is being met on a reasonable basis if they are in doubt about whether occupancy will occur.

Do you have to occupy a VA loan home?

A VA loan’s occupancy requirements help keep the program’s focus on primary residences, as they do with other government-backed mortgages.

When applying for a VA loan, service members must certify that they intend to occupy the property as their primary residence. When a VA borrower completes the loan process, the house can usually be moved into after 60 days. VA refinance loans have different requirements.

It can be difficult to buy a home in two months for some buyers. Certain situations allow buyers to go beyond that 60-day mark, but occupancy delayed for more than a year is generally unacceptable.

Each occupancy scenario is different, and lenders have varying policies and requirements. Occasionally, a military dependent can fulfill the occupancy requirement. Alternatively, if you are buying a property with active renters, you may be able to delay occupancy.

Let your mortgage lender know as soon as possible if you think you will have trouble occupying the home within 60 days after closing. Depending on your unique circumstance, you may be able to find an exception or workaround.


For more information on VA loan Eligibility in Georgia  contact our team of mortgage experts at Mortgage Rates Today call today at 877-879-7775

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