Understanding the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements

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When it comes to buying a home, you have your list of requirements: number of bedrooms, full basement, stainless steel appliances and probably scores of others.

The VA also has a list of requirements for a home. But its list is centered on protecting the buyer against unexpected, and usually expensive, surprises.

The agency utilizes a series of Minimum Property Requirements, or MPRs, that a home must meet in order to qualify for a VA loan. These requirements help ensure that veterans and military families have a safe place to call home.

If you’re on the fence about starting your VA home loan application, now’s a great time to get in touch with Veterans United and apply for a VA home loan.

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Property Requirements

The MPRs are assessed during the VA appraisal process.

MPRs cover basic issues that can affect the value of the property or its safety. These are mostly big-ticket items that present immediate or near-immediate problems for veterans and their families.

When it comes to a VA loan, appraisers are looking for potentially major issues that revolve around the three S’s: safety, sanitation and structural integrity. There are 10 basic Minimum Property Requirements that VA appraisers consider, including things like mechanical systems (heating & cooling), a reliable potable water supply, domestic hot water and a safe method of sewage disposal.

Some heating systems, like solar or wood, are required to meet certain standards and have more traditional backup systems as well. These are items that not only protect the marketability of the property, but also the safety and comfort of the buyer.

In some climates, a heating system may not be needed, but that determination is left completely in the hands of the VA. Neither the seller nor the lender can make that call.

Other items such as roofs, termites and ventilation fall under the MPRs, but these standards are not designed to replace an independent home inspection that may find problems hidden from view.

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The VA wants homes that are move-in ready. Problems with the property generally have to be corrected before a loan closes, although veterans can secure exemptions for some MPRs. In truth, these exemptions are more like extensions, as the problems will ultimately have to be corrected.

Borrowers whose prospective property fails to meet the Minimum Property Requirements will be hard-pressed to secure VA financing.

It’s also important to remember that the MPRs do not replace the need for an independent home inspection. The home inspection is what’s going to dredge up the real problems, if there are any, hidden behind the walls and in the floorboards.

This is also where a VA-savvy real estate agent can make a big difference. Realtors who know the requirements can help veterans avoid wasting time and money.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at chris@vu.com.

Photo courtesy Teemu008