Understand how MPRs can affect your eligibility for a VA loan.
To qualify for a VA home loan, there are several requirements you must meet first. You will need to meet all the usual eligibility and income criteria, but the home you want to purchase must also meet VA minimum property requirements (MPRs).
In other words, if the property does not meet the requirements lined out by the VA, you might have a difficult time closing the loan.
VA loan minimum property requirements are in place to ensure that Veterans and military service members have a safe, sanitary, and structurally secure home. While proving such requirements can feel like just another stepping stone in the process, ensuring your home is fit for living in is an important step for the lender, as well as for you and your family.
Let’s break down some of the VA MPRs.
The home you wish to purchase must have enough room for you and other residents to comfortably live, sleep, cook and eat in. If you are purchasing a home with a unique structure, such as a log cabin, the property must comply with local building codes.
You must be able to safely access the home by a private or public road at all times of the year, regardless of the weather. If you have to share access with a neighbor (such as in a "paired" house), this could cause some legal issues and delays.
The property must be readily marketable real estate, which means it can be easily sold later on. Any issues that make the home harder to sell could be a problem.
The home must have proper drainage facilities so that waste and surface water flows easily off the land. Your home must also be safe from potential risks such as mudslides or avalanches. However, obtaining a VA loan with a home in a flood zone is still achievable.
There could be an issue if a neighbor decides to encroach on the land. Encroaching refers to a neighbor “intruding” on the land. This can happen if a neighbor wants to build a wall or extension on your side of the property boundary.
Encroachments can also refer to the seller intruding on the neighboring property’s land. Either way, this is something a VA appraiser will look for.
The property must be safe from any geological risks or soil instability, such as sinkholes or subsidence. The last thing you want as a homebuyer is to purchase a property with geological instability and end up needing to repair the home’s foundation.
The VA appraisal process is here to ensure the home you are purchasing is a sound financial investment.
The home you buy must be primarily for residential use. You can’t buy land zoned for commercial use, then build a house on that acreage.
Any home you want to buy must have a safe supply of electricity, gas and water, and must have connected sewer lines.
Any potential hazards that could harm your family's safety could make it more difficult to get a VA loan.
A VA home loan appraiser will look for defects such as construction issues, leaks, decay and dampness. These issues will typically need to be rectified before the VA loan is approved.
The VA loan appraiser may require a permanent heating source to approve a VA loan. However, even if it’s not required, and the equipment is already in the home, it must be tested and function correctly.
The roof of the property must be free from leaks or damage. If not, these repairs must be carried out before the loan is approved.
Any attics or crawl spaces must be properly vented and easily accessible.
Homes that don’t meet the VA’s MPRs may cause delays and roadblocks to obtaining the loan and buying your house. Repairs flagged during the appraisal process typically need to be made before the loan can close.
Buyers can ask the seller to pay for repairs or even foot the bill themselves.
Some common issues that cause homes to fail to meet the MPRs include:
While a VA loan appraisal is a required part of determining VA minimum property requirements, it’s not a replacement for a thorough home inspection.
A VA appraisal determines the market value and property requirements. A home inspection is not required for a VA loan but it helps buyers make a more informed decision about purchasing a home.
A VA home inspection will help you assess the home’s condition and whether any expensive repairs must be made, such as a pest infestation. It’s well worth getting your own independent inspection, even if you’ve already had a VA loan appraisal.
While MPRs can seem like a hassle to deal with, they're put in place to protect Veterans from purchasing unsuitable or unsafe properties.
MPRs can help you avoid properties that need expensive repairs before you can move in and they encourage sellers to make repairs before passing the home on to you. However, while a VA appraisal is a thorough check, it's still well worth getting a home inspection to double-check everything is in order before you purchase your property.