Renting Out a VA Loan Home

January 1, 2010 By
Posted in Veteran Benefits

va loan
A little over two years ago, we bought a home when we got stationed in Huntsville. Through the VAMC, we purchased the house with our VA Loan benefit. When we moved to Huntsville, we anticipated staying there for 3-5 years. Unfortunately, we only lasted about two years before being driven out. With my MOS, there aren’t a lot of slots for my job and rank. The only option is to move since there isn’t anywhere else to go on most posts.

Anyway, since we left earlier than anticipated, we decided to sell the house. Thanks to this wonderful economy, we didn’t get the house sold before we left. We can probably last through January or February before we run out of money and need to look at other options to pay the mortgage on our empty house.

Naturally, the question arose about renting out the house until it sold. However, there are a lot of rules that apply to VA loans that don’t apply to conventional loans. Now that I’ve worked through the questions and answers about what we can and cannot do, I wanted to share some of these lessons learned.

Can I sell a VA loan home at a profit? The answer is yes and no. You cannot use a VA loan to simply buy a house and “flip it.” VA loans must be used towards the purchase of a primary residence. As long as you’ve lived in that home at least two years, there isn’t generally a problem with selling it, especially if you’re selling it due to PCS orders. In order to sell the home, you either need to pay off what is owed or the buyer must qualify to assume the VA loan. Check out the VA Mortgage Center website for information on how to qualify for a VA loan.

Can I rent a VA loan home? The answer is yes and no again. You cannot use a VA loan to purchase a rental home. As I mentioned before, VA loans may only be used to purchase a primary residence and not a second or third house to be used as an investment property. But, once you’ve lived in the home, if you don’t want to sell it there are no restrictions on renting it out.

The VA gets a little sticky, though, when you live in the home a very short time and then try to rent it out. For example, when we left our house in Georgia after a short two years, I got a very nasty letter in the mail from the VA when I changed my home insurance to renters insurance. They wanted to know why I was renting it out after just two years. Once I explained that I was on military PCS orders and didn’t want to sell the house, they changed their tone. It would have been much different had I simply purchased another home and then rented out my VA loan house, I think, after just two years. It looks fishy and the government thinks they’re being taken advantage of. (side note: isn’t it interesting that the government can take advantage of us day in and day out but get their gander up when you try to take advantage of them? Just a thought.)

I will say that with some mortgage companies, you may have to submit a letter requesting permission to rent out a VA loan house. Obviously, they also require that insurance is maintained on the house. I advise you to get with your mortgage company before making any rental decisions so it doesn’t bite you in the butt later.

75 Responses to Renting Out a VA Loan Home

  1. My husband and I have owned our home with a va loan for 14 years due to the economy we were forced to move last year and rented it out every time we speak to our mortgage co they always ask if we are currently occupy the home and we say yes because we were scared and didn’t know if we could rent how do we go about being on the up and up with our mortgage co I am tired of always being afraid of them as we have in the past been seriously late on our payments before we rented out that our mortgage co threatened us every day with foreclosure any info appreciated.

    • Hi Tanya, that sounds like a challenging situation. Though it’s perfectly acceptable to rent out a home with a VA Loan (especially after 13 years as a primary residence!), it’s probably wise to be honest with your mortgage company. If for no other reason, it’s important to carry the proper insurance coverage since you have liability as home owners of a rented property. If you’re concerned about the mortgage company’s reaction, it might be a good idea to speak with someone at your VA Regional Loan Center first. Get his or her name and contact information so that if the mortgage company does question your ability to rent out the home with a VA loan, you can put them directly in touch with the VA. (You can find your Regional Loan Center here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/rlcweb.asp). Like anything, you’ll have to make the decisions yourself, but that’s what I would do in that situation. Best of luck!

  2. As a veteran and no longer active duty, my husband and I bought our condo at the height of the bubble in 2006 (we are underwater here in Nevada). My husband has been promoted to VP of IT/SSO and must relocate. We would like to rent out our condo for the amount of the mortgage payments plus HOA monthly fees. I can’t get a straight answer from our regional VA office in Phoenix, AZ. We don’t want to just walk away and risk ruining our chances of using my VA to purchase our future home. Our lender is giving us the runaround as well. Any thoughts or recommendations? As of right now, he is commuting over 100 miles on a daily basis since his promotion in January 2011.

    • Solemei, it should be just fine to rent out your condo, even with a VA loan on it. The only time it’s an issue is if you rent it out immediately after purchasing without using the property as your primary residence. As long as you bought the property as a primary residence and used it that way, it’s OK to rent it out later, particularly in the case of relocating for a job. If you’re having trouble getting a straight answer from your Regional Loan Center, you might try speaking to another region to see if you can find someone more helpful to put your mind at ease. Good luck!

  3. Pingback: Home Buying and Home Selling Tips » Blog Archive » Renting Out a VA Loan Home

  4. Thomas McKinzie

    I was just curious how you would declare your VA home as your primary residence? What’s to keep someone from just using the VA loan to buy a home and then just having someone from their family live in it and have them pay all of the payments/mortgage?

    Also, back to the primary residence question….what happens if you don’t actually change (however it’s done) your primary residence to the new VA home?

  5. Good info. I am in the civil service and will need to rent out my va house if I do tour in Afganistan. I certainly don’t
    need to be bitten in the butt for it!

  6. So, I just got PCS orders to the UK and have lived in my house for only 1.5 years. I don’t really want to deal with trying to rent out my house, but I don’t know what my options actually are. Do you or anyone have any tips or know who to ask/where to go?

  7. To Thomas,
    the VA would find out that you are not living there, because you would have to change your insurance from normal property insurance to rental property insurance. If anything happens, like a fire destroying the house your property insurance would not pay for it if this is not your primary residence, because by having family pay for the mortgage it is considered a rental. This contract violation will cancel out your insurance.

  8. I don’t want to get in trouble with the Va and am wondering if I can buy a house with a VA loan, if the house will have my adult daughter on the title? I want it as my permanent residence and rent out my current home or have that one as a second residence and not rent it out to anyone. Climate is a little different in each area, and I am hoping prices will increase for my current home.

    Any answer will be appreciated.

  9. SimilarSituation

    Thank you very much for the info.

    I am in a very similar situation now and I am concerned about renting a VA property that I just purchased.

    This was very helpful to know because there is so much misinformation even from Realtors and property managment companies.

    I’ve been working with a property managment company who told me it would be ok to rent my recently purchased VA home. I imagine that the person assisting me is not very experienced and would eventually get to the clause where I have to change the insurance from homeowner’s insurance to rental insurance.

    That knowledge can be power is a very important truism.

    • Knowledge is so important- especially when working with a government loan. Do keep in mind that the VA looks at situations on a case-by-case basis, so if you’ve got a good reason to rent out the home, you may befine. If you have questions about it, I’d recommend talking to your VA RLC (Regional Loan Center). You can find a list of them at http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/rlcweb.asp. Good luck!

  10. I just recently bought a house after living in it for only three months, when I bought the house the company I was working for made regards the company was safe and had enough capital to run for several years down the road. Than just two weeks of being a home owner, the company announced it was closing down the U.S. facility. Now I have no job to keep me here but have been hired by a company 2200 miles away. Can I sell the house and make amends with the VA due to circumstances beyond my control. I am not selling for profit, just breaking even and would like to utilize my VA at my next job location.

    • James, you shouldn’t have a problem using a VA Loan again, though you may have to give the VA extra information about your reason for selling so soon in order to have your entitlement restored. Like I said above, be sure to talk to your VA Regional Loan Center (http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/rlcweb.asp) before taking action so you can make sure you take the right steps and don’t have any trouble later.

  11. im not sure if ill be ok to rent out the home. my husband and i are living just outside of boston right now. we bought our home 6 months ago using a va loan. we are miserable here. absolutely miserable. we have family here, my mother, but i am 4 months pregnant and she is not someone i would want to raise my child around. we have amazing family in florida and for the both of us, that is a dream location.

    my husband applied for a job in jacksonville florida and was told he is one of the few finalists for it. he has a job here currently but would love to switch to the company in jacksonville (wounded warriors project). if he was offered the florida job, we would like to take it.

    there is no way we can sell the house without it taking months, the market is slow here. renting is an option. but im afraid well get in trouble with the va. we just want to be somewhere that will make us happy. we regret buying the home in the first place :( we knew we didnt like it here, but didnt think we could move away. now we know we can. and we desperately want to. any advice? thanks!

    • Jamie,

      Were you able to rent your home? Did your husband get the job in Jacksonville? I live in Jacksonville and my boyfriend is in Atlanta. He has a VA loan on his home and has been there for over 3 years. We are moving forward with the relationship and he will be moving to Jacksonville but can not sell the his house right now so he needs to rent it. I’m interested to know if you had any luck with renting your home and if you had any problems with the VA loan.

      Also, if your husband did get the job in Jacksonville do you mind telling me about what he does? I volunteer with a group for deployed soldiers and have been interested in getting involved with wounded soldier groups as well.

      Thanks for any info you can provide and I hope things are working out for you.

      Tracy :)

  12. By the time I PCS out of my house I would have lived there for about 15 months. I wanted to know what my options are. I’m going to keep the house as a primary residents but I was thinking about renting it out until I finish up my next duty station.

    What is the best route for this situation. I still have about 7 months left before I need to make my final decision. Any adive at all would help. Thanks!!

  13. I have lived in my house for almost 5 years now and am in the process of selling it. It’s been on the market for a while now and nothing is looking promising. I have moved to another house that is closer to work and a friend is losing their house and was interested in renting my house. He is a Vet and has VA eligibilty too. I was wondering if we have lived in the house long enough to be able to rent it out to them without getting in trouble?

  14. I am looking for a va assumable mortgage for a home that was purchase before 1988. I am a veteran and I have never use my va home benefits Where do I look for a va assumable mortgage.

    • Richard Mowery

      My house is for sale with a assumable Va mortgage. The house was built in 2007. MY wife and I bought it in 2008. We are looking for someone to take over the mortgage. My wife was transferred to another state and we need to sell. We live in the Georgia not far from Moody Airforce Base.

  15. What if you got the 1st time home owners 8000.00? We have been in our house 2 years to the day and what we were told is that getting the 8000.00 we have to stay in the home 3 years. Can we rent the home out for the last year or do we have to stay the whole 3 years?

    • Normally for military PCS moves the first time home owners tax credit does not have to be repayed.

      From the IRS.gov Website:

      Special Benefits for Members of the Military
      Additionally, there are special benefits for members of the military and certain other federal employees:

      Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have additional time to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit.

      Thus, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2011. If a binding contract is entered into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011, to close on the purchase. Members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if married, the individual’s spouse) who serves on qualified official extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days during the period beginning after Dec. 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010.

      In many cases, the credit repayment (recapture) requirement is waived for members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community.

      This relief applies where a home is sold or stops being the taxpayer’s principal residence after Dec. 31, 2008, in connection with government orders received by the individual (or the individual’s spouse) for qualified official extended duty service. The credit is still allowable even if this happens during the year of purchase. Qualified official extended duty is any period of extended duty while serving at a place of duty at least 50 miles away from the taxpayer’s principal residence (whether inside or outside the U.S.) or while residing under government orders in government quarters. Extended duty is defined as any period of duty pursuant to a call or order to such duty for a period in excess of 90 days or for an indefinite period.

  16. Janiece, from my understanding you will have to pay back the tax credit if you choose to rent out your home within three years of the purchase. This is a direct quote from the IRS: “For home[s] purchased in 2009, the credit does not have to be paid back unless the home ceases to be the taxpayer’s main residence within a three-year period following the purchase.” Check http://1.usa.gov/ExCdq for more info. Good luck!

  17. Does anyone know what the va deems reasonable amount of time to have lived in the residence? My husband and I are both veterans and no longer on active duty. He will be transferred due to work about 350 miles away, and we will need to rent out our house. We would love to sell, but will be challenging to break even with the market where we live. By the time we will be looking to move we will have lived in our house 3 years.
    Thank you!

    • Laura, the typical rule of thumb for occupancy seems to be two years, so I doubt you’ll have any trouble. It might be a good idea to check directly with your VA Regional Loan Center as well, just to be sure: http://bit.ly/flecKg.

  18. I am a veteran and in the process of purchasing my primary residence through the VA Loan. My loan is on hold since I travel a lot and the loan concern was that I might not be able to be in my primary home 365 days out of the year. Does anyone know what is the deemed number of days you must reside in your primary home by VA standards.

  19. @PMercado, the VA doesn’t use a number of days in the home to determine residency. Unfortunately it’ll be more complicated than that. They will want to see that the location of the home “makes sense” with your job (or for other reasons if you’re retired), and you will need to be able to make a strong case that the home will be your primary and permanent residence. If you have a spouse that will occupy the home while you’re away, he or she can fulfill that requirement for you. Seasonal homes are never OK- not even if you live in one the majority of the year, but other periodic absences may be approved. If you’re required to travel for work, be prepared that your travel expenses will be deducted from any qualifying income for the loan. Hope that helps and best of luck to you!

  20. Me and my husband have lived in our home for 3.5 years. We just recently refinanced it with a VA streamline loan…no cash out just an intrest rate reduction. My husbands job is in jeapordy of being lost due to downsizing with the police department he works for. If he loses his job it will take him months to get a new one, if he can get one at all, so we have choosen to relocate for another job rather than stay here and risk him losing this one. He has been in the process of another job for 4 months, and is pretty certain to get it but it is 1800 miles away. We cannot sell our home because we are about 40k upside down (the economy being as it is) and we wanted to rent it out. I was told we could do this if we had lived in the home more than 3 years, but do we start that three years over at the point we refinanced it? We are not going to be renting it for a profit…we had to refinace it so that we could get even close to the mortgage payment when renting…we are going to lose about 250.00 a month. Is the VA going to get nasty with us about this? I havent been able to get a straight answer. Also, what are the chances we will be able to buy another house when we move. We don’t want a crappy rental forever and I don’t see the market getting any better anytime soon.

  21. What if you plan to both live in the house and rent out a portion, as in a two family house where each floor is a separate apartment? I live in Astoria, NY and many of the older homes which were built in the 1930s are usually set up in a 2 bed over 2 bed configuration, each floor having its own bedrooms, kitchen, living room, bathroom and entrance.

  22. Was wondering if I have just bought a house with my VA home loan 2 months ago and yet to have made a morgage payment and on top of that getting divorced, (the whole reason for the house was for us) will the VA have a problem?

  23. I bought my home June 2011 and now (Oct 2011) I’m pending orders to PCS June 2012. Could I rent the house or will I forced to sell?

    • Michael, with the orders to PCS and the fact that you’ve occupied the home as your primary residence, you should be just fine to rent it out. Just make sure to speak with your local Regional VA Loan Center (http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/rlcweb.asp), as well as your mortgage lender to make sure everyone is on the same page and you have a smooth transition to renting!

  24. My wife and I purchased a home in 2006. We would like to move but we know we will not receive what we purchased the house for. We know we will take a lost on selling the house which mean we will still owe on our VA loan. Will VA work with us on this or do we have to just rent. I guess we are trying to figure out if we cannot sell for the price we purchased can it be added to the new VA loan? Thanks.

    • Ray, it’s definitely a tough time to sell right now. Though you have the option of a short sale or other methods, the VA will not allow you to add any debt from your current loan to a new one. If you do opt for a method that causes your lender to take a loss (like a short sale or foreclosure), it will affect your future VA eligiblity. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use a VA Loan again, but your eligibility will be reduced, so it’s something to keep in mind. Additionally, the VA Loan (like most other programs) requires you to wait 24 months after a short sale or foreclosure before obtaining a new loan, so you would likely be stuck renting in the meantime. I’m sorry not to give you a better answer, but hope that information helps you make your decisions. Best of luck!

  25. I am active duty military looking to close on a property using a VA loan to finance it. Unfortunately, the property has renters whose lease does not expire until later in the year (beyond the 60 day mark). If the seller does not decide to negotiate a settlement with the renters, then I have to wait until July of 2012 to close. The issue I’m having is that I have only 18 left at my current command, and I will be forced to PCS for at least 6 months for training afterwards. That will give me less than 12 months as a resident in the property. Would the VA allow me to rent out the home until the current renters’ lease expires and move in afterward?

  26. Thomas, you certify that you are purchasing the property as your primary residence both in your purchase contract as well as in the mortgage documents that you sign.

  27. Can you use the VA loan twice at the same time? For instance, I bought a house with the VA loan and I want to rent it out after living in it for 5yrs, but then I’d like to use the VA loan again to buy a new house. Is this possible?

  28. Hi Jason, you can definitely use the VA Loan on more than one property simultaneously, but it is complicated. Very specific guidelines apply as to when you can take advantage of this option, so it’s important that you work with a lender who knows what they’re doing! If you don’t already have a lender, give us a call at VA Mortgage Center.com (888-212-1958) and one of our specialists can help review your situation to see if it will work. Best of luck!

  29. We purchased our home in December 2010 with a VA Loan. It’s depreciated in value greatly within the last 13 months and selling it doesn’t make financial sense. We don’t want to short sale due to husband’s security clearance. We refinanced in November 2011 to a 30 yr fixed, from a 5 yr arm. There has been an increase in crime in our neighborhood and we don’t feel safe. We have put it on the market to rent and have renters (also military) willing to sign a 2 year lease. However, it’s been brought to our attention that since we refinanced the home in November, we have to have it be a primary residence for 1 year from that (even though we have occupied the house for 13 months already), or have the lender’s approval otherwise. Will we have a hard time getting approval to rent it out being that we don’t have orders or anything? We are miserable in this home and feel incredibly stuck.

    • Jessica, I’m sorry to hear that you’re in such a tight situation, though glad to hear you’ve at least gotten a fixed rate for now! Guidelines vary between lenders and lending programs, but it’s typically true that if you choose to rent out a house shortly after refinancing, it must be for a reason that you could not have known/did not know at the time of the refinance. Otherwise the home should have been refinanced as an investment property. Have the crimes/incidents that you’re concerned about happened after the refinance? If you have a documentable reason that has occurred since refinancing, you’ll have a better argument for wishing to rent it out. But either way, you are likely at the mercy of your lender and the guidelines of your loan program. It’s important that you contact the lender right away to see exactly what your options are. You might also want to speak with your Regional VA Loan Center: http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/rlcweb.asp to see if they can offer any advice.

  30. We bought a home using my husbands VA loan and we only lived there for 1.5 years. We rented the house out and moved since he could not find a job there, and we had a horrible situation with people who lived around us that made us have to move back home. Can we get in trouble for not living there?

  31. I have a home in Grosse Pointe Farms Michigan that I would like to sell or lease to a veteran. Do you know of any agencies or organizations that will help veterans to buy or lease?

    • Hi Helen,
      My wife and I, are both veterans and college graduates. We are in the process of selling our home through a short sale and are interested in a land contract or rent to own. Although, we both have VA loan certificates I believe we will have to wait 2 years to buy a home. I can be reached by email.
      Thank you,
      Robert

  32. OK, here’s my take on the situation (I’m in the same boat): be honest, do not report the house as your primary residence if you are renting it out… change the insurance type with your insurance company and report the income on your taxes. VA cannot do anything but make an inquiry. I was 8 years active duty, did 3 lovely tours to that God-awful sandbox, and worked as a federal investigator for more than 2 years following my military service. There is absolutely NOTHING that says I cannot rent out my house if I transfer duty stations/get orders or am accepted to school elsewhere in the country/world. Take some liberty, people… don’t be so paranoid… they do not OWN you. We have earned this!

  33. We have a rent to own ..see our listing…
    http://charlotte.craigslist.org/reo/2811608112.html

  34. We rented a house out for nearly a year waiting for the seller’s short sale approval to come through. Naturally it is right before closing, I received PCS orders and had to move. I do not want to be away from my family and we will be moving back into the house within 24 months. Does the fact that I lived in the house for nearly a year before purchasing count towards the occupancy requirement? The occupancy rules are so confusing. We lived in the house and intend to do so again, but just not right after closing. If I can’t use my VA loan, does anyone have a recommendation for a good type of loan to do?

  35. We came to our home on orders. We purchased as we knew we would at least stay 4-5 years. When it was time for my husband to re-enlist, they sent him to another state next to us. He commutes on weeknds. (13 HRS) round trip. He leaves after work on Friday 6.5 hours to come home. Then on Sunday afternoon he returns back to his base. Another 6.5 hrs. He has been doing this for 8 years now. It is taking a big toll. It has always been a hardship on us not seeing one another. Now it is a hardship with gas prices and all. I am so worried all the time, that my husband will fall a sleep at the wheel. He is on his 3rd back to back sea tour. We had planned to try and sell and move where he is based. Due to the housing market, we lost $50,000 offof our appraised value. We re-financed last year to take advantage of the lower rates. We now owe more than the market value. There are fore closures in the town area which is 10 miles away from us. We are rural and own a home with acreage. My husband could retire next year. He has his degree in Home Land security. He is up for a promotion soon. We will make a decision then, if he will remain active duty or get out. Either way, we are looking at moving. We would need to sell our home and property for what we owe on the loan. We just cannot get anyone in this area to do that.I am not sure if we could do a short sale? We have always paid on time. What would you advise us to do? I am so stressed, and I know my dear hubby is too. He will not show it. We want to be together and these hardships look like the end road for us.

  36. I also need to add that my husband still needs to work again, even if he leaves active duty. He will look for a civilian job in homeland security. Our state does not hire in this field. That is why I mentioned that either way( if he remains active or obtains a job in the civilian world, we will need to sell! Forget about renting our home. We are not in the best area for this, and I have heard night mare stories about how homes get destroyed this way. Who has money for property mgmt? We don’t! We don’t even have closing cost. We have worked hard on our home. We have shed many sweat, blood and tears here. I am crying right now. I am usually a very strong person. You have to be, when your a military wife. My husband is over seas fighting for his country and he has to worry about all this! How many of then are doing the same! We are, and so many of us are hurting due to the mistakes in the housing market. We did evrything right. Paid on time. Isn’t there anything the banks can do for active duty, who have orders in another area, or who are in a situation like us? This just cannot be happening to so many of us! I read today that(I won’t name the bank) this one loan officer had 850 applications on her desk of problems.

  37. I bought a two story home in 2008 with a VA loan, before deploying Sep 2009. I got injured and now it is difficult to climb up and down my stairs. I want to buy a one story house to make my daily life easier. Will the VA give me a problem if I wanted to rent my house out till I can find a buyer on my current home?

  38. I had bought my home through the VA in California back in 1998. After retiring bought a home in Florida, but spouse still lives in California. Decided to change the mailing address for california home mortgage company, but that was a mistake. A few later I received an email from Wells Fargo stating I was at default of the home because I was renting it. At no point in time did Wells Fargo ever contact me to ask what the situation was and all they did was assume. I tried contacting them and I was literally passed over to numerous call center help that gave different suggestion to rectify the matter. That was really annoying.
    Would it be a problem to rent out he California home without having to pay any type of a reprucussion from stupid ass Wells Fargo?

  39. My husband was pre-approved to use the VA loan, we both live in Italy because he is stationed over there but we are back in the states and we are looking for a house to buy with the VA loan. he’s getting deployed in a few months, and we want to buy the house in the states. will that be a problem if i only live in the house for the time he’s deployed and then i go back to Italy with him untill he gets new orders? meanwhile we want to rent the house. will that be possible? TIA

  40. My husband is due to retire in six months. We want to move to Florida. Will it be possible to qualify fro a VA loan to buy a house knowing that we are going to retire. Neither one of us have jobs lined up as of now. But will both work when we get there.

  41. Hi, we bought a home with a VA loan in September 2010 thinking we would be in El Paso for a while. However, my husband became disabled (service related) and is getting retired by the end of this year. While we’ve been here the value of our home dropped. I saw that Citimortgage has a Disabled Veterans Relief Program but a V.A. loan does not qualify. I can’t really find information about becoming disable after getting a VA loan, only the benefits to buy for disabled veterans. Are there any other assistance programs for this situation? Is renting it out or considering a short-sell the only options? I know we don’t want to stay here in El Paso, with my husbands disability we would like to be close to family. Any information will help, thanks!

  42. Hello!
    I’ve recently separated from the military and I am currently abroad doing contract work. I’m single and I am anticipating going to graduate school once my contract is up. I’ve been thinking of purchasing a place in Austin, TX where I plan to attend grad school, but I doubt I will be there past my time for school – 3 years. I’d like to buy this great deal I found right now, but it seems to me I cannot buy it and rent it out until I return to Austin.
    Is there any sort of loophole? or anything that is out there to help in a situation where I can’t be present but plan on living there in the near future?
    Finally would it be a big issue for me to rent it out after 3 years? I’d love to be able to pay my mortagage for the time I live there with my BAH from the GI bill, then rent out the space, assuming I leave Austin due to a job. It seems like the VA loan is somewhat of a deal with the devil since it seems to have restrictions you wouldn’t face with a private loan. Thank you for the advice!

  43. We purchased our home in 2004 using a VA loan. We recently refinanced with a VA streamline loan to bring our payment down. Can we now rent our house out if we want to purchase a larger home. We have been in our home for 8 years before refinancing. Thanks :)

  44. Are lenders required to change a home loan to a conventional loan from a VA loan if it is no longer your primary residence and you request them too? I had to move due to my job moving, but with the current market I cannot sell the house. However, I need my VA certificate for my home at the new location and it is tied up at the old location. I tried to refinance, but it is now considered an “investment” property since I do not live there and the regs say the banks can only lend 75% on a refinance. Anyone know of a solution?

  45. My husband is active duty, we are stationed in GA. The market in GA is amazing, and we were able to purchase a wonderful brand new home for under $150,000. We have lived here for a year already, and our orders aren’t due to be up until 2014. We want to rent out or house here in GA, so if we ever come back here, we can move back in. But, we also want to try to buy a home wherever we go next, if we can afford it. We used the VA loan, the first time around. Is it even possible to use the VA loan again, if we are just renting out our first house?

  46. I am on active duty, bought my house in 2006 under a conventional loan..not VA. After 6 years I will have to PCS. That said I was looking to refi. before I PCS and rent the home out under my the new lower mortgage. The question I have is: can I refi using a VA loan and then rent my home out 5/6 months later after I have PCS’d. I intend on living in gov’t quarter at my new duty station.

  47. Thanks a lot for this! Exacty what im lookin for! I was told you only had to live in it as your primary for 60 days then you could rent (My lender told me this). She was looking at guidelines while we were on the phone. Any thoughts on a duplex? Im thinking of purchasing one, living in one side and renting the other. Then in 2 months rent the side that im living. Any insite on it?

    • Zack, what did you find out about the duplex? My husband and I are thinking about doing the same thing and would appreciate any information!

  48. I have a question I bought a very small house with my own money NOT VA LOAN. But now I want a bigger house so I am thinking about using the VA LoAn to purchase a bigger home to be my primary resident, would they say anything if they know that I have another house(which I would like to rent once I get the VA home)? I have heard that you can’t use the VA loan to purchase a second house but since the money for my first home was all mine, it shouldn’t’ count, should it?

  49. Nice man thanks for the post! Answered my question exactly

  50. I am returning from deployment in 3 months and my wife and I want to buy our first house in Colorado Springs, where I’m stationed. We will buy the house in the end of June 2013. I am on orders to PCS to Hawaii in April 2014. So, we decided that we want to rent whatever house we buy, so we can move back to it after I retire. This means that we will only live in it as a primary residence for 9 months before we PCS. Will I be able to rent it out without any problems? I can’t seem to find anything that states a minimum time of primary occupancy before being allowed to rent.

  51. Chaplain Hibbert

    I know another chaplain who has purchased a va loan home about 11 months ago and hass been renting it out by the rooms since he purchasseed it. I told him this is wrong he said so what they will get over it. who can i report him to!!!! numbers please.

  52. You can rent out a residence that you currently live in if you have been in that home for at least a year (subject to that property’s loan contract). Your securing a securing a VA loan for your new primary residence is a different and separate matter. Just make sure you qualify for that loan before renting out the previous residence.

  53. Look, unless the contractual language in your specific loan (from the mortgage company) states you can not re-let your own property, its your property!!! Your still on the hook for the loan that is still your responsibility.
    The VA has no contractual interest tell them to buzz off.

  54. Question: I deployed to Afghanistan and purchased a home in Seattle which my wife is occupying while im overseas, well I just got word that when the new orders come out in october mine will most likely be in San Diego so when I get back we will be moving there.. considering we will have only owned the house for about 5 months and now Im in a position where ill have to rent the house out. can i do this legally? I dont have any other options, but I wonder if my bank USAA will make a big deal. at the end of the day i see it as orders are oders and i was forced into this position. Any advice would be much appreciated. thank you!

  55. Good afternoon,

    I utilized VA financing and bought my house in 11/2011 in Northern California. I’ve just been asked/offered a new job in Southern California (promotion). I do not want to sell my home I want to keep it, it’s where I’ll retire eventually. The only options I have are to pay rent in Southern Cal and pay my mortgage in Northern Cal at the same time…Not doable, the promotion is good but not that good! Will I be allowed to rent my house out in Northern California? Also from reading some of the post on here, I’m gathering I’ll need to change the insurance on my home in No CAL to renters insurance. Will VA let me rent my home in No Cal out while I’m living and working in So Cal?

  56. Good Morning all,
    I wanted to follow up with the post I left on the 13th full of questions. I called the Phoenix VA Mortgaging Processing Center (the Regional office that handled my VA Mortgage Loan) , spoke with a sharp VA Loan Servicing agent, explained my situation. She looked up my loan, and said, “Ma’am there will be no problem at all with you renting your house. We at the VA realize that things can change in life. We certainly wouldn’t want you to pass up an opportunity to receive a promotion or job opportunity that can improve your life. All you will need to do is make sure to notify your Mortgage Holder and make sure to change the type of Home insurance you’re carrying on the house and get a good property manager!” I was super pleased with her assistance and the news there would not be a problem. Good news indeed. Call the Regional VA Office that handled you’re VA Home Loan, and chances are they will work with you to address issues that come up!

  57. I was just curious how you would declare your VA home as your primary residence? What’s to keep someone from just using the VA loan to buy a home and then just having someone from their family live in it and have them pay all of the payments/mortgage?

    Also, are there any consequences/penalties if deternined not to be primary residence?

    • Darvin, it’s a federal crime for the veteran to lie about the home being the primary residence. Specifically, the VA application form requires the borrower to certify:

      25. I, the Undersigned Borrower(s) Certify that:
      (2) Occupancy:
      (a) I now actually occupy the above-described property as my home or intend to move into and occupy said property as my home within a reasonable period of time.

      That’s followed by the notice that:

      Federal statutes provide severe penalties for any fraud, intentional misrepresentation, or criminal connivance or conspiracy purposed to influence the issuance of any guaranty or insurance by the VA Secretary.

  58. So I’ve been in my home for a year now, I hope that’s long enought that the VA wont throw a fit about renting it out. I had a job opertunity come up and will need to move in the next month or two, which in the economy isn’t long enough to sell my home and turn a profit or break even on the home. I emailed my regional VA loan region center, I’m hoping that they’ll tell me it’s okay for me to rent it out until I can find a buyer.

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